ASP’s junior fellow Xander Vagg was featured today on AOL Energy. His article “Here Comes the Sun: Israel and Solar Energy” pulls from his experience during his recent trip to Israel. The article goes on to explain how Israel has grown to become one of the world’s leaders in solar energy. This also includes the history behind Israel’s solar energy and even the current debates going on between top players in the solar industry.
“The history of solar energy in Israel began only a few years after the establishment of the state. Unlike its Middle Eastern neighbors, Israel was (until very recently) thought to possess almost no fossil fuel resources and so in the 1950′s, Israeli engineer Levi Yissar developed a solar water heater to address the energy shortage. By 1967 around one in twenty Israeli households heated their water with the sun and over 50,000 solar heaters had been purchased. Following the 1970′s oil crisis, Harry Zvi Tabor, the father of Israel’s solar industry, developed the prototype of the solar water heater now decorating 90% of Israel’s rooftops.
Two factors set Israel apart in its approach to solar energy: (1) the country’s incredible research and development efforts and (2) ability to attract enormous amounts of overseas investment. Several breakthroughs in next-generation solar technology, including Tigi Solar’s honeycomb panels, solar-powered desalinization, and many more have all been pioneered by Israeli scientists and engineers. International investment has come from several sources, such as China using the Negev Desert (an arid land that makes up the southern two-thirds of Israel) as a solar tech laboratory or the United States and other countries importing Israeli technology.”
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