Ketura Sun is Israel’s first commercial solar field. Built in early 2011 by Arava Power Company on Kibbutz Ketura. Ketura Sun covers 20 acres (8.09 hectares) and is expected to produce green energy amounting to 4.95 megawatts.
The field consists of 18,500 photovoltaic panels[needs update] made by Suntech, which will produce about nine million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. In the next twenty years, the field will spare the production of some 125,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. The field is connected to Israel’s national power grid and sends electricity to the 33,000 volt line to kibbutzim in the area.
Ketura Sun features the world's first fully automated solar panel cleaning system.
Within the Torah’s rules for Tzedakah (charitable giving), is the uniquely Jewish law of Pe'ah. Pe'ah requires that the four corners of any field be left untouched by harvesters and saved for the poor to glean. Arava Power Company maintains this principle of Pe'ah, and the four corners of the Ketura Sun solar field are each dedicated to four different non-profit organizations that will benefit from the funds earned by each corner until 2021. The four organizations chosen by Arava Power are:
- Jewish Heart for Africa: An organization which uses Israeli solar systems to power African schools, medical clinics, orphanages and solar powered water pumping systems.
- Bustan: “An NGO that works with the Bedouin of the Negev for fair resource allocation, including renewable energy, as well as social and environmental justice for all peoples in the region.”
- Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity: “The Foundation's mission is to combat indifference, intolerance and injustice through international dialogue and youth-focused programs that promote acceptance, understanding and equality.”
- Red Mountain Therapeutic Riding Center: Located down the road from Ketura Sun, the Riding Center at Kibbutz Grofit helps disabled children from the region who are in need of therapeutic riding.
Statue of Ruth
Arava Power’s commitment to the law of Pe’ah has been made permanent with the placement of a statue of Ruth created by Kibbutz Ketura artist, Gil Aruch, at the entrance to the field. The biblical story of Ruth is one of tolerance, social-religious acceptance and justice. The Royal Tribe of Judah accepts Ruth the Moabite, the convert who comes from a foreign culture and enemy land.
The Meridian Track is a trail of sundials in which each sundial represents a socio-cultural value. These values are prominent in the three main monotheistic religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism), and in other religions and cultures worldwide. On these sundials it is possible to view the time of day according to the sunlight by inserting a finger at the center of the dial and tilting it approximately 50 ˚ to the north. ‘Meridians’ are one of the names for the bars that cast a shadow on the sundial, an idea that originates from the location of the meridian arc (an imaginary line that stretches across the globe from the North Pole to the South Pole). Meridians are also an extensive network of cross-channels of life energy in the human body. Danny Lavie, the same artist who developed the Solar Canvas, also developed the sundials for Arava Power Company. The values Arava Power Company has chosen to feature on these unique sundials created are: Peace, Respect, Sustainability, Choosing life, Redemption, Responsibility, Diversity, Love, Amity, Leadership, Sensitivity, Mindfulness, Listening and Vision.
Impact on region
Solar energy plays an important role in both regional and national economic development. In the Hevel Eilot region, where Ketura Sun is situated, only 4,000 people live on 13% of Israel’s land. The construction of solar fields creates jobs (by some estimates 100 jobs per megawatt) and gives incentives to individuals and families to move to the area – thereby helping to fulfill another of Ben-Gurion’s dreams of populating the Negev.
- "Ketura Sun Technical Figures". Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
- "Ketura Sun Environmental Figures". Retrieved 26 June 2011.[permanent dead link]
- Barkat, Amiram (April 7, 2014). "6 new solar fields launched in Israel". Globes. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
- Jeffrey Spitzer. "Pe'ah". Retrieved 26 June 2011.
- "Ketura Sun Field Profile". Archived from the original on 2012-03-09. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
- "Jewish Heart For Africa". Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
- "Bustan". Archived from the original on 15 August 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
- "The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity". Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- "Ketura Sun Jewish Values and Social Responsibility". Archived from the original on 2011-10-06. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
- AravaPower (March 3, 2011). "Hevel-Eilot Regional Council Chairman, Udi Gat, at Ketura Sun Groundbreaking Ceremony". Retrieved 24 June 2011.