Solar industry sources say red tape, unreasonable regulations, fee policies impeding local renewable energy projects; while Israeli solar technology is prevalent overseas

Billie Frenkel
Published: 08.14.12

The Israeli market is facing a possible electricity drought, but that has not stopped the Electricity Authority from announcing it will cut back on solar power fees paid to the managers of large solar fields by 35%.

Solar industry sources said that the reduction is too dramatic and that it will seriously impede companies’ ability to fund major solar projects.

Eitan Parnas, CEO of the Renewable Energy Association said that the regulator wants Israeli producers to adhere to the same fees customary worldwide – but is completely ignoring the fact that the local market is fledgling.

The REA was formed in 2009 in an effort to promote renewable energy projects, bur four years after the government decided to push solar energy ventures, Israel still only one, medium-size solar field, producing 5 megawatts. Small, rooftop facilities and smaller fields produce another 200 megawatts a year, making up only a fraction of Israel’s power needs.

Despite Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau’s statements that Israel will meet its solar power goals – 10% by 2020 – many in the industry feel even reaching the halfway mark of 5% by 2016, will be very difficult.

Industry sources told Ynet that the field in plagued by cumbersome bureaucracy, that stretch for years and cost a small fortune.

Israeli solar entrepreneurs say the biggest absurdity is that much of the Israeli technology in solar energy harvesting is used extensively the world over.

Parnas stressed that the fees reduction was simply too sharp: “While reducing fees may be a sign that the market is maturing and becoming economically sound, it should reflect real costs as well. This will spell the end for a lot of projects.”,7340,L-4267823,00.html