Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pioneering 'Green Energy' at a Negev Dairy Farm

Hana Levi Julian

A Negev couple has pioneered the commercial production of “green energy” on a farm in Ramat HaNegev. Orit and Moshe Teneh have built the first 50-kilowatt solar energy system in Israel. The couple set up a smaller, 6-kilowatt system on their solar dairy farm two years ago, slowly adding more to the system in stages until it exceeded 45 kilowatts daily, about one-third of the local dairy’s electricity consumption.

The family “decided to exploit the potential embodied in the sunlight that floods Ramat HaNegev in order to produce an alternative to electricity," according to the community’s website."

The photo-voltaic solar panels used by the farm follow the sun’s motion from dawn to dusk, gathering the energy from the sun’s rays and converting them into electric current. The energy is immediately transferred directly to the farm’s electric grid, rather than stored in batteries, which would result in a loss of approximately 15 percent of the electricity produced.

Two-thirds of the power that is generated will be sold to the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC).

The farm receives support from the Ramat HaNegev Regional Council in partnership with the Desert Research Institutes at Midreshet Ben-Gurion to explore other clean energy production methods.

The team is working together on a plan to generate additional electricity using wind turbines and to use organic waste as part of the power for the local community.

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