Members of Migvan urban kibbutz agree to ‘plant’ solar panel field on roofs; eco-venture yields 11% profit

Billie Frenkel
Published: 09.28.12,

Members of Migvan urban kibbutz, located in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, have decided to invest in a unique crop – solar energy.

The commune’s houses are covered with solar panels, making them the location of Israel’s first urban solar field, which produces electricity for its residents.

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Migvan was formed in 1987 and is currently home to 50 people.

The urban kibbutz adopted environmentally friendly principles from its inception, and has a large recycling center and a compost recycling facility, as well.

About three years ago, the members agreed to install small solar systems on their roofs, to manufacture their own power.

“We had a clear agenda then, to save electricity, to contribute what little we could to the environment and yes, to form a long-term savings account for the kibbutz,” Migvan member Lior Lapid said.

Migvan was able to obtain a bank loan to finance the venture and soon installed 10 Sunpower systems.

In late April the systems went on the grid and started producing electricity.

Each rooftop system produced 4 kilowatts of power and together, they are expected to produce more than 70 kilowatts of electricity a year.

As it was soon discovered, the systems produced more electricity than Migvan needed, yielding an 11% return on their investment. The commune now hopes to pay off the bank loan it was given within 8-9 years.

“It’s like having a savings account with a 12% return,” Lapid said.

“The State should encourage these kinds of projects. There’s plenty of sun and more than enough roofs. There’s no need to take up open spaces for it.”,7340,L-4284653,00.html

Association for Distributive Justice petition against ILA, private entrepreneurs over land appropriations dismissed as lacking merit

Lior Guttman, Calcalist

The High Court of Justice has recently denied a motion stating that the State is “giving away” land to private solar project entrepreneurs without sharing the revenues with the public.

The motion, filed by the Association for Distributive Justice, an NGO dedicated to promoting the equitable allocation of public resources in Israel, was filed against the Israel Land Administration (ILA) and also named several private entrepreneurs.

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The NGO claimed that the ILA was appropriating land from clean energy projects without holding the mandatory tenders, while under-pricing the rights and without sharing any of the profits with the public, as required by law.

But the court ruled that the motion was without merit: “We find that the petitioner’s complaint pertains to ILA practices that date back to 2008-2009 and are irrelevant to the petition at hand.”

The court further said that the petitioner’s claim that the current regulations do not benefit with the public “Is not true. On the contrary – they mend the previous distributive justice hindrances found in the previous arrangements.”

Lawyers for the private companies named in the petition welcomed the ruling, saying that it was a cornerstone in regulating and developing private solar projects in Israel.

The court not only rejected the petition – it ordered the Association for Distributive Justice to carry the costs of the legal proceeding.,7340,L-4284656,00.html