Spain’s Abengoa and Israel’s Shikun and Binui have announced financial close for an 110MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant to be built in the western Negev desert, 35km south of Beer Sheva. The $1bn project comprises the second phase of the three-phase Ashalim solar project, which is intended to have total generating capacity of almost 300MW when complete.

Abengoa says the non-recourse project financing agreement combines funding from the US government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPEC) and the European Investment banks Bank (EIB), as well as from local commercial Bank Leumi and Bank Hapoalim. The plant will supply electricity to the Israel Electricity Corporation (IEC) under a 25-year power purchase agreement signed in 2013. The plant will incorporate parabolic trough technology with a 4.5-hour thermal energy storage system using molten salts, says Abengoa. Construction has begun with a view to start-up in 2018. The project was originally intended to have been built by Germany’s Siemens and Shikun and Binui, but was delayed by Siemens’ exit from the solar business. (CONTINUED - 290 WORDS)