|Founder||David Rosenblatt, Ketura through Ed Hofland, Yosef Abramowitz (active until 2010)|
|Headquarters||Arava, Negev, |
Arava Power Company (APC) is a solar energy company founded in 2006 on Ketura in the Arava Valley. On June 5, 2011, APC inaugurated Israel's first medium-sized solar field, Ketura Sun. The field stretches over 80 dunams (8 hectares or 20 acres) of land and has an installed power of 4.95MW. As Arava Power installs solar fields only on land zoned solely for agricultural or industrial use.
In the Ketura Sun project, photovoltaic (PV) solar panel from Suntech company were used, in collaboration with Siemens Israel. Arava's mission is to supply Israel with 10% of its energy needs through clean, renewable solar energy.
Arava Power Company began as a partnership with Kibbutz Ketura. Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, was an inspiring figure for the vision of the company. In 1956, Ben Gurion said: "The largest and most impressive source of energy in our world and the source of life for every plant and animal, yet a source so little used by mankind today is the sun... Solar energy will continue to flow toward us almost indefinitely."
In November 2010, the Minister of National Infrastructure, Uzi Landau, signed a landmark Power Purchase Agreement with Ketura Sun Company, a joint venture between Kibbutz Ketura and Arava worth an estimated 250 Million NIS. The agreement is valid for twenty years and guarantees that the energy produced at Ketura Sun will be transferred to the Israel Electric Corporation's power lines. It is the first PPA in Israel with a solar energy company.
On May 22, 2012 Arava Power announced that it had reached financial close on an additional 58.5 MW for 8 projects to be built in the Arava and the Negev valued at 780 Million NIS or approximately $204 Million.
Partnership with Bedouins
The Arava Power Company has signed multiple agreements with Bedouin families in the Negev desert to build solar fields on approximately 92 acres of land, with a production capability of up to 20 megawatts. APC has been lobbying the Israeli government to create separate solar caps for Bedouins.
On February 7, 2012, Arava Power announced that it had received a license for the Tarabin Solar Field, the first solar field for the Bedouin community. Financing for the $30 Million Tarabin installation is to be provided by OPIC – the Overseas Private Investment Corporation of the United States Government.
Aside from enabling the Bedouin community to benefit from governmental incentives that promote renewable energy in the Arava and Negev, solar fields provide livelihood and employment. The Israel Electric Corporation is obligated by law to buy privately produced electricity at a predictable and fixed cost. It is believed that construction of solar sites will develop the region's infrastructure.
In January 2011, Musa Abu Karinat, an Israeli Bedouin who signed an agreement with Arava Power, told Haaretz “Our village has proper electricity infrastructure, so we don’t need the plant for electricity for the village. Our goal is to build a solar farm on private land owned by a particular family, and to sell the energy it will produce to the national energy grid.”
Arava Power Company donates a portion of its profit to social projects. Some of those who benefited include Africa, Bustan, The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity and Red Mountain Therapeutic Riding Center.
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