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Danny Denan, CEO of Greentops: An historic decision that will change the face of the modern energy economy in Israel.


30.10.2019

It has been more than a decade since the start of the "Solar Revolution" in Israel in 2008, which enables the production of electricity through a "green" and clean method from solar energy and enables consumers themselves to benefit from electricity they produce themselves or from the "sale" of electricity to the Israel Electric Company.

It has been more than a decade since the start of the "Solar Revolution" in Israel in 2008, which enables the production of electricity through a "green" and clean method from solar energy and enables consumers themselves to benefit from electricity they produce themselves or from the "sale" of electricity to the Israel Electric Company.

Over the years, electricity production through solar energy has developed significantly in terms of the components necessary to establish such systems (use of panels, converter capacity, appropriate construction elements, and so forth).  There have also been significant developments from the standpoint of the regulator, which has allocated greater and greater quotas intended to benefit solar energy production, and is enabling the production of less expensive and cleaner electricity for all residents.

Today, we are seeing greater numbers of roofs adorned with solar systems and layers of solar panels, similar to the phenomenon of solar water heaters that were installed on the roofs of buildings in the initial years of the State, which have become an inseparable part of the vistas of our country. 

Since 2016, there have been significant changes in the field of solar energy production, which enable this important industry to look forward with hope, with the ddrive to continue developing in this field, and to close the gap with other enlightened countries. 

 

Danny Denan, CEO of "Greentops": "Solar electricity production volume in Israel currently barely reaches 4 percent of all electricity production, while the average volume globally is between 10 and 15 percent (!).  

 

This means that Israel is seriously lagging. Why?

"Yes, unfortunately, we are lagging by global comparison, and we are last in the OECD (the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development)!

 

Israel entered the field of solar electricity production very late, and with slow and small steps, despite the tremendous amount of knowledge that has been accumulated locally and globally every year since the middle of the last century.  Since the beginning of the 2000s, the government has set pretentious targets every so often to develop the field, while in practice, nothing has been done. The one who gave the significant practical push in the industry was Infrastructure and Energy Minister Binyamin (Fuad) Ben Eliezer, who, in 2008, led the actual beginning of the era of commercial electricity production through solar systems. 

The pace of development and growth in the field was quite slow, mainly due to over-regulation and bureaucracy, which slowed the process and led to many difficulties in obtaining the required permits to establish the systems. 

 

When Dr. Assaf Eilat took the position of Chairman of the Electricity Authority in 2016, there was a turnaround. He began acting aggressively to create new regulations that greatly eased the bureaucratic processes in obtaining installation permits.  Thanks to these new regulations, we can now build solar systems of up to 7,000 square meters easily and simply (certainly when compared with the past), and at lower costs in view of the developments in system components and competition in the market that has led to significantly lowere costs for the systems themselves.

We can fully say that this new era, led by Dr. Eilat, has released the "bottleneck", and thereby enabled the start of a momentum of development.

 

What is happening in terms of equipment? Is there still wild competition between manufacturers around the world?

"In this area as well, the situation has changed greatly in the past decade.  Silicon production in the world has undergone a transformation that has lowered its price dramatically, from $160 per kilogram to $14, which has led to a drop in the price of receptors, and has caused the map of manufacturers around the world to change completely. Today, pretty much only the Chinese are left.  They control the market completely, with a market share of about 90 percent.  The US manufactures 9 percent, and the remainder is produced by the rest of the world."

The large drop in prices of system components, and the simplification of the process of obtaining permits were the causes of the significant drop in the price per kw/h for private producers?

That is correct, but it is important to understand that not only was access and motivation to install private electricity production systems not harmed, it actually increased, because if you consider the entire cost of the components, including the price of electricity per kw/h, the net return on the investment was maintained and even sometimes increased to become more profitable!!

 

How does your company, "Greentops" integrate today into the Israeli market?

We (I as CEO and Motti Avni as Chairman) have been active since 2008, and our company is a leader and expert in the field. Today, we are concentrating on the establishment of large commercial systems (on an Israeli scale) on roofs between 3,000 and 20,000 square meters. We recently won a tender to build a system of 350,000 square meters that is the equivalent of 35 megawatts. That is already a very large electricity production volume, equal to about 6,000 households over an entire year (about one-quarter of the population of a city with 100,000 residents!).

 

"Greentops" is a registered solar contractor, and is one of the three leading companies in Israel. In most of the projects, the company erects the systems as a "Turnkey project" - a complete process in which it is responsible for the construction from start to finish.  The company has four installation teams, all Israeli, who have accumulated tremendous experience in erecting solar systems and delivering them to the customer in the optimal manner. Following delivery, we continue to guide the customer in maintenance of the system, and in repairing breakdowns (if there are any). 

The lifespan of the systems is long - about 25 years - which makes it necessary for us to use dependable and high-quality products from large companies with proven global reputations in our systems.

 

Do you have special connections with farmers?

We are very happy to work with farmers, and we have good relations with many of them, which enables them to maximize the potential profit inherent in their buildings (certainly in view of the murky state of agriculture in Israel). The only thing the farmers need is a roof of at least 1,000 square meters. But it is very important to note that the feasibility and profitability of the solar system increase when the electricity is used at the same site!

Are you concentrating on particular areas?

No. You can find our systems all over Israel, from the far north to the south, and we are prepared to provide a professional and efficient response to all our customers at all locations. 

What do you expect in the coming years?

The time has come for everyone in Israel to begin acting more concertedly, first to close the gap with the rest of the world, and we are optimistic that we can do it.  Second, we must optimally exploit the many relative advantages that we have, both natural (the sun...) and the high level of knowledge and technology we have, in order to move forward and become a global leader in the field!

 


תגיות : Danan, Solar, Danny Denan,

     
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