Solar First: Palestine Licenses West Bank Solar Power Plant

Palestine has licensed its first solar power plant in West Bank.

According to pv-tech and Saur Energy International, the 5.7MW solar PV project represents the first utility-scale solar electricity project to get a license in Palestine.

Palestine olive tree shutterstock_406312867The Palestine Energy Ministry has granted licensing and permits for its first large-scale solar power plant near the city of Hebron, according to the two companies involved in the development.

To develop the 5.7MW PV project, US-owned, Holland-based solar power firm Gigawatt Global formed a joint venture with Jordan and Palestine-based energy engineering and technology solutions company Rack Tech.

As reported by Saur Energy International, Fadi Bkirat, Rack Tech founder and CEO said,“This project really is very important at this time because of the shortage of electricity in the vicinity.

“Also it will be a good way for employment for the Palestinian engineers. It will be very good for the country.”

palestine solar-power-plant

Looking to the future, Bkirat added his company plans another three projects with combined total of 35MW. For a region underserved by clean solar electricity, such expansion will be greatly welcomed.

A spokesman for Gigawatt Global has said the project requires an investment of $10 million with the US Government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) supplying 70% of the financing. Gigawatt Global will facilitate arranging the financing and the technology for the plant.

He added that the Palestinian Energy Ministry commissioned a model power purchase agreement (PPA) from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which will be submitted on Thursday. The time taken to complete the project will depend on the quality of this PPA.

The spokesman added: “If it is strong and internationally bankable then we could build this out very quickly. If it needs work, it will depend on the pace of bringing it up to speed.” The 5.7 MW PV project also has economic and other implications for the Palestinian Authority.

For background, Gigawatt Global develops and manages utility-scale solar fields in emerging markets in Africa, taking equity interest in its projects. Its project development process includes:

  • securing suitable land at a favorable price;
  • ensuring safe and efficient connection of the project to the grid;
  • carrying out all required permitting, studies and tests;
  • negotiating and signing a long-term PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) with the utility or government;
  • securing debt and equity finance to build the project;
  • contracting an EPC (Engineering Procurement and Construction) company to build the project and the transmission;
  • contracting an operation and maintenance company to operate and maintain the project.
  • working together with local leaders on community empowerment and education initiatives.

We will add information concerning the success of the PPA.

Image via Shutterstock

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