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First Israeli License For Commercial Solar-Thermal Power Station

File image.
by Staff Writers
Yavne, Israel (SPX) Mar 06, 2009
AORA has announced that Israel's Minister of National Infrastructures, Binyamin Ben Eliezer, has signed AORA's license provide solar electricity to the national grid at its solar thermal power plant at Kibbutz Samar in Israel's southern Arava region.

This is the first such license to be granted by the Israeli government to a solar-thermal technology.

AORA's power plant began construction in January, and following the government's approval will now begin the final phase of the project, commissioning the plant and connecting it to the national power grid.

The company expects to begin power generation by the end of March. Once it begins generating power, AORA expects the unit will supply 100 kW of power to the grid, enough to sustain approximately 50 households.

"By granting AORA the country's first solar-thermal power generation license, the government of Israel fully recognizes the importance of our technology and the significant impact that it could make on Israel's power production," said Haim Fried, CEO of AORA.

"We look forward to following the successful launch of this initial power station with additional units based on our game-changing technology".

AORA's technology, stemming from collaboration with the Weizmann Institute and with Rotem Industries, could see tremendous success if adopted across Israel, supporting the local workforce, academia and further enhancing Israel's competitive advantage in the field. Still, the company is working to set up future installations in other countries as well.

"At the moment we are looking to expand our operations abroad, since the current tariff regime in Israel does not provide economic conditions for implementing solar-thermal projects, said Fried."

The company's first-of-its-kind hybrid solution enables the system to run on solar energy, as well as almost any alternative fuel source, including biogas, biodiesel and natural gas.

This results in a variety of operation modes - from solar-only mode, where electricity is supplied when there is ample sunlight, to hybrid mode, where an addition of fuel helps generate electricity when sunlight is insufficient, such as at night or when it is cloudy, and can guarantee an uninterrupted power supply 24 hours a day.

AORA's Samar power station is situated on half an acre of land in Israel's Arava region and consists of a field of 30 heliostats (tracking mirrors). Each heliostat will follow the sun and direct its rays towards the top of a 30 meter-high tower housing a special solar receiver along with a 100kw gas turbine.

The patented receiver will use the sun's energy to heat air to a temperature of 1,000 degrees Celsius and direct this energy into the turbine. The turbine will in turn convert this tremendous thermal energy into electric power that will be fed directly into the national grid.

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