JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Arava Power Company has closed on financing for eight solar power projects worth $204 million.
Arava, based in Kibbutz Ketura in southern Israel, will build five solar energy fields in the Negev. The company also will be building three solar projects in the kibbutz communities of Kerem Shalom, Mishmar HaNegev and Bror Hail.
“We are helping to fulfill David Ben-Gurion’s vision of turning the Negev into the center of solar energy production," said David Rosenblatt, co-founder and vice chairman of Arava.
“These installations to be built in the Negev Desert are yet another step towards energy independence for the State of Israel and a greener future for generations to come,” said Jon Cohen, CEO of Arava.
Israel’s Public Utility Authority in March granted Arava a license for the country’s largest solar energy field to go online at Kibbutz Ketura. Construction on the $150 million Ketura field is set to begin at the end of this year and is expected to be completed in mid-2014, according to Arava.
In February, Arava was granted the first-ever license for a solar project in the Bedouin community; it is being funded by the U.S. government.