Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Solar Country Notes
With an average annual insolation of approximately 2 000 kWh/m2 and few natural energy resources, Israel has pioneered the use of solar energy. However, whilst the 1980 law requiring the installation of solar water heaters has had a dramatic effect, PV activity remains largely in the realm of academic research.
The 1980 Solar Law is an amalgam of different legislative measures, all designed to lay down national standards and regulations. The Planning and Building Law requires the installation of solar water heaters for all new buildings (including residential buildings, hotels and institutions, but not industrial buildings, workshops, hospitals or high-rise buildings in excess of 27 m), dictating the size of the installation required for a particular type of building; the Land Law governs solar installations in existing multi-apartment buildings and the Supervision of Commodities and Services Law provides governmental supervision of the quality of installations and their guarantees.
Almost all Israel's residential buildings have solar thermal systems, the vast majority of which are utilised for water heating. It has been reported that the use of solar collectors saves the country in the region of 600 000 toe/yr.
Although the Israel Electric Corporation is required to purchase electricity from private producers, there are no incentives for PV systems. The extensive national grid precludes the same penetration by PV as has been enjoyed by solar water systems. There is no PV module manufacturing capability within the country and currently most activity is concentrated on maintaining the technical excellence that has been achieved through academic research. However, during 2002 PV-operated cameras for vehicle number-plate recognition were installed for use on Israel's first toll road. Additionally, there are instances of PV being used for lighting, irrigation, pumping and refrigeration and in parking-ticket machines. A demonstration PV project was initiated in 2005 in the Bedouin village of Drijat, in the Negev desert. In its first phase, the project provided stand-alone PV systems to 20 households, 6 street lamps, a school and a mosque.
At end-2005 there was 1 044 kWp of installed PV power, of which 809 kWp was off-grid domestic, 210 kWp off-grid non-domestic, 11 kWp grid-connected distributed and 14 kWp grid-connected centralised.
In November 2002 the Government passed a resolution stating that by 2007 at least 2% of total electric energy must be generated from renewable energy, rising to 5% by 2016.