Israeli firm to build largest solar park

An Israeli company will build what is being called the world’s largest solar energy facility. The park in southern California’s Mojave Desert will supply enough electricity to power 400,000 homes in central and northern California. The $2 billion project was announced July 25 following the signing of a 25-year contract between Israel’s Solel Solar Systems and California’s Pacific Gas and Electric public utility. It is expected to be finished in 2011 and stretch over 6,000 acres or nine square miles

California state agencies must still approve the Mojave Solar Park, but Pacific Gas & Electric and Solel spokespeople said they were confident of a go-ahead because of the state’s clean-energy projections. State regulations mandate that at least 20 percent of electricity provided by public utilities must be based on renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind, by 2010.

David Saul, the project leader for the Mojave Solar Park, called the venture “a landmark” in a phone interview with JTA. He said his company will design and manufacture the components at its plant in Bet Shemesh, west of Jerusalem, and will be responsible for the development of the park in cooperation with a number of American firms.

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