Members of Migvan urban kibbutz, located in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, have decided to invest in a unique crop – solar energy.
The commune’s houses are covered with solar panels, making them the location of Israel’s first urban solar field, which produces electricity for its residents.
Migvan was formed in 1987 and is currently home to 50 people.
The urban kibbutz adopted environmentally friendly principles from its inception, and has a large recycling center and a compost recycling facility, as well.
About three years ago, the members agreed to install small solar systems on their roofs, to manufacture their own power.
“We had a clear agenda then, to save electricity, to contribute what little we could to the environment and yes, to form a long-term savings account for the kibbutz,” Migvan member Lior Lapid said.
Migvan was able to obtain a bank loan to finance the venture and soon installed 10 Sunpower systems.
In late April the systems went on the grid and started producing electricity.
Each rooftop system produced 4 kilowatts of power and together, they are expected to produce more than 70 kilowatts of electricity a year.
As it was soon discovered, the systems produced more electricity than Migvan needed, yielding an 11% return on their investment. The commune now hopes to pay off the bank loan it was given within 8-9 years.
“It’s like having a savings account with a 12% return,” Lapid said.
“The State should encourage these kinds of projects. There’s plenty of sun and more than enough roofs. There’s no need to take up open spaces for it.”