Israel’s solar tower, Ashalim Tower, is a becon of the country’s high hopes in renewable energy that will be seen miles away from the middle of southern Israel’s desert of Negev.
Ashalim tower is estimated to cost 570 million dollars, it will rise to 240 metres twice the size of the current tower in California, which is at 137 metres. The tower will hold over 55,000 projecting mirrors it will be surrounded by a field of mirrors covering over 300 hectares which is like more the size of 400 football pitches according to AFP.
The tower is expected to provide 121 megawatts or two percent of Israel’s electricity needs enough to supply 120,000 homes with clean energy. Israel is hoping by 2020, 10 percent of its total electricity consumption will be generated by solar.
“The government agreed to move ahead with this technology — even though we do not hide the fact that it is more expensive than traditional electricity production — precisely to achieve lower costs over time,” Eran Gartner, who heads the Megalim consortium managing the project
Solar requires a major investment, though costs are gradually coming down. Other solar towers have been built in Morocco and South Africa.
“The boiler, whose temperature will rise to 600 degrees Celsius (1112 Fahrenheit), generates steam that is channelled towards the foot of the tower, where electricity is produced” Says AFP
Ashalim tower is set to be completed in late 2017, built with cost effective measure such as connecting the solar panels by WiFi instead of cable.
“Everything is connected by WiFi instead of by cables. The tower and its boiler are also designed to reduce costs. Everything is done to pursue profitability.” Said Eran Gartner