Alstom get financing for Israel’s first solar power plant

Megalim Solar Power has been awarded a loan to finance the construction and operation of the Ashalim Thermal Solar Power Station in Israel. It will be Israel’s first solar power plant.

Megalim is a special purpose company formed by Alstom (25.05%), BrightSource (25.05%), and NOY Infrastructure & Energy Investment Fund (49.9%).

The loan was awarded by the European Investment Bank and the Bank Hapoalim. 

The 121MW power station will cover an area of 3.15km² in the Negev desert and generate enough power to meet the electricity needs of more than 120,000 homes. 

Alstom’s share in the contract is worth $612m. It will be responsible for the engineering, procurement and construction of the solar power station and will also provide full operations and maintenance activities for a period of 25 years.

BrightSource will deliver heliostats and optical concentrating devices. 

The project will combine Alstom’s experience of turnkey power plants and power equipment, such as steam turbines and solar receiver steam generators, with BrightSource’s solar field technology.

The Ashalim plant will make use of BrightSource’s concentrating solar power tower technology similar to that which the firm installed at the 392MW Ivanpah project in southern California. More than 50,000 computer-controlled mirrors will track the sun in two axes and focus the suns energy on to a 240m high "power tower". Liquid in the tower then boils and drives a turbine.

Many pundits argued when Ivanpah was opened in February that the solar thermal type of power stations would lose out in favour of those based on photovoltaics, and would only be built where there were substantial subsidies. Almost all such plants have been built in Spain and the US, with the majority completed between 2010 and 2012.

Jérôme Pécresse, Alstom Renewable Power President, said: "The project is a further step in our partnership with BrightSource and our first success together in the solar thermal power market. It paves the way to provide cost-efficient and reliable carbon-free power to our customers."

The project is expected to be finished by early 2017.

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