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      Solar Power Takes Off at Ben Gurion Airport

      Israel's bright summer sun will work harder for the Jewish State, thanks to two new projects implementing the harnessing of solar energy.
      By Malkah Fleisher
      First Publish: 8/24/2009, 10:40 AM

      Israel's bright summer sun will work harder for the Jewish State, thanks to two new projects implementing the harnessing of solar energy.

      The Israel Airports Authority has announced plans to install an initial 50-kilowatt solar energy system on a 500-square meter stretch of Ben Gurion International Airport's long-term parking lot. The energy will then be sold to the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to the tune of 400,000 shekels ($105,000) a year, which will then buy the electricity for use at the airport.

      Aside from being financially beneficial, the project endeavors to render Ben Gurion a leader in environmentalism.

      The airport is also working to reduce energy costs by 15 percent in 2009, thereby saving 7.5 million shekels ($2 million). At the same time, the Airports Authority is undertaking energy conservation measures to reduce its 60 million shekel ($15.7 million) energy costs by 15%, or NIS 7.5 million, in 2009.

      Sharbat Brothers Building and Investment is also going solar, installing a 150-kilowatt system on one of their industrial buildings in Afula, according to Globes online business magazine.

      If the venture, which will be installed by Shari Arison's Shikun u'Binui Solaria solar energy systems company, is successful, Sharbat Brothers will expand to projects in Tel Aviv and Eilat.

      In April, the world's first commercial thermal electric solar farm was established in Kibbutz Yavne, a national-religious kibbutz located between Tel Aviv and Be'er Sheva.  A vineyard also is planted there, between the solar panels.