Daily Israel Report

Private Homes Will Manufacture Solar Power and Sell Surplus

Electricity Revolution: Israelis will soon be able to not only manufacture their own electricity, but to sell the surplus to the Electric Company.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 6/4/2008, 4:50 PM

Electricity Revolution: Beginning July 1, every Israeli will be able not only to manufacture his own electricity, but to sell what he doesn't need to the Electric Company.

The Israel Electric Company (IEC) is hoping to encourage consumers to install solar panels, and is willing to pay them NIS 2.01 per kilowatt of "clean" electricity.  This is approximately four times the amount that consumers pay the company for their electricity.

Installing the solar panels is expensive, however, and begins at 60,000 shekels. Adequate roof space is also required. Experts say that those who are willing to make the investment will be able to make back their money in ten years.

Dan Lavi of Yisrael HaYom reports that unlike Germany and Spain, Israel's government does not yet subsidize consumer solar panels.

Preparing for the Summer Heat Waves
Meanwhile, the IEC is preparing for record demand this summer. Together with the Infrastructures Ministry, the company held a country-wide drill last week to prepare for such eventualities and to practice the regulation of kilowatt shortages.  When demands exceeds available supply, the general practice is to cut back electricity in random neighborhoods until the situation stabilizes.

The exercise left officials confident that the IEC is prepared to deal with the summer demands. Attention is now being turned to educating consumers regarding the need to cut back, and informing them that they might find themselves blacked-out for short periods.

Supply Exceeds Demand - But Just Barely
Globes reports that the IEC is currently able to produce 11,400 megawatts, with available capacity at 10,877.  Demand is expected to reach 10,300 megawatts - 100 more than the record set during the cold wave this past January - leaving a reserve of only 5%.