Israeli financial daily Globes recently reported that the Middle Eastern nation’s parliament is planning to install solar energy panels on the roof of its legislative building. The Knesset, located in Israel’s capital of Jerusalem, will be one of the world’s first parliaments to generate its electricity from the sun in 2014. The renewable energy initiative follows the announcement from the Obama Administration in August that 20 to 50 photovoltaic panels will be installed on the roof of the White House.
Globes reports that the initiative had been discussed for years but really took off when the Public Utilities Authority (Electricity) allowed electricity producers to use the power they produce and offset it from their electricity bill.
The Knesset is ideal for rooftop solar because of its flat roof, which is currently unused. The paper cites a source who said that one megawatt of solar electricity could be generated on the Knesset roof at a cost of six million Israeli New Sheqels (nearly 1.7 million American dollars) and that it could provide a quarter of the building’s electricity when the Knesset is in session.
Israel has a long history of using solar energy. Along with Cyprus, Israel is the per-capita leader in the use of solar hot water systems with over 90 percent of households using them. The world’s largest solar energy dish is located in the Negev Desert at the Ben Gurion National Solar Energy Center. There has been a feed-in tariff in place since 2008 with the goal to produce ten percent of the nation’s energy from renewable sources by 2020.