Contained within the Ben-Gurion University grounds, the Ben-Gurion National Solar Energy Center studies new and innovative ways to convert Israel’s sunny desert conditions into power for the whole country including places that have never had power before.
In addition to receiving more sun than any other place in the country, Israel’s arid Negev desert is as dry a place as any on the planet and the country’s solar energy center looks to make that an advantage. Using cutting-edge technology to capture ever more efficient amounts of the sun’s rays, the center believes that they may be able to one day provide 90% of the country’s power off of renewable solar energy alone, provided a suitable and cost-effective storage system for electricity is found. The center is also working on the development of such batteries. The center’s researchers have developed novel optics both for hot water systems and concentrating photovoltaic devices and are working on improving efficiencies of solar cells, both high performance solar cells and low cost (but low efficiency) organic solar cells.
In addition to garnering power that is clean and efficient, the center and other companies like it in the area are changing the way that solar energy is distributed and in turn changing the lives of those who use it. Solar panels have been set up in a number of Bedouin villages across the desert area providing power to people who have never before had access to it. This in turn is helping these people put down roots in their settlements, moving away from their traditionally nomadic existence.
The Ben-Gurion National Solar Energy Center continues to brainstorm ideas on how to make the best of an eternally sunny day.
Ed. Note: This Post was created in conjunction with the Israel Board of Tourism.