Israeli Air Force inaugurating largest solar field at Ramon Airbase

Solar field on Ramon airbase in the Negev (Photo: IDF Spokesman)

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) is about to inaugurate its largest solar field to date at the southern Ramon Airbase as part of a wider strategy to move the military, Israel’s largest organization, away from 95 percent reliance on gas as well as some diesel and towards green energy, mainly solar. The project will supply about half of the base’s power needs.

The 5-megawatt, 16,000-solar panel project “will minimize both the IAF’s budgetary spending and impact on the environment,” according to the IDF. “Additionally, it will provide independence for the IAF if civilian energy fields are not operational in times of emergency.”

The project, like the airfield’s original construction, is partly funded by the U.S. and is in partnership with Enlight Renewable Energy, which also builds wind power facilities and holds a contract to maintain infrastructure for 15 years.

Until about 2012 the IDF was slow to embrace alternative energy sources, but the military’s “Blue Going Green” (blue is their official color) project has spearheaded a revolution, with the ambitious target of a “net-zero-energy” air force by 2033.

Like the rest of the country the military currently utilizes only 2 percent green energy. Meanwhile nationally the goal is to move to 10 percent solar energy contribution by 2020. KNI recently reported on the 2017 construction of the world’s tallest solar tower as a key statement of intent in Israel fulfilling that target.