An Israeli solar farm keeps a 3000-year-old biblical law

Ketura solar farm

Being 60% desert Israel has a lot of solar energy to share. There is no doubt that having few natural “fossil fuel” energy resources encouraged Israel to develop solar technologies and has led to Israel’s current position as one of the world’s solar technology superpowers. Did you know that:

1. Israel exports its solar tech know-how to countries in Africa. Jerusalem-based Energiya Global has recently won a $1 billion contract to oversee solar projects in Africa.

2. More than 90% of Israeli homes have solar water heaters.

3. A solar farm in the Negev desert donates its “corners” to good causes. Kibbutz Ketura houses one of Israel’s largest solar projects, a 135-acre, 40 MW solar farm built by the Arava Power Company.

There is a biblical law which states the corners of a field should be left for the poor. So how does this apply to a field full of solar panels? Arava decided that “the four corners” of the solar farm should be dedicated to four charitable organisations. These are:
Jewish Heart for Africa, an organization which uses Israeli solar systems to power African schools, medical clinics, orphanages and solar powered water pumping systems
Bustan, an NGO that works with the Bedouin of the Negev for fair resource allocation, including renewable energy, as well as social and environmental justice for all peoples in the region
Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, whose mission is to combat indifference, intolerance and injustice through international dialogue and youth-focused programs that promote acceptance, understanding and equality
Red Mountain Therapeutic Riding Center, a local facility which provides therapeutic riding for disabled children

Grätzel cells, SwissTech Convention Center

4. Israel is a global leader in dye solar cell (DSC) technology and has built the world’s largest single-cell DSC at 225 square centimetres.  DSC uses nanotechnology and artificial photosynthesis to create low-cost, high performance solar cells without the use of integrated circuits (ICs).

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