Siemens has strengthened its sustainable technology capabilities with the purchase of a 40 per cent stake in Israeli solar company Avara Power.

The German firm has secured the stake with an equity investment of $15 million, a move that will make it possible to build Israel’s first commercial solar farms.

“This investment is another consequential step in further strengthening our green and sustainable technologies,” said Peter Löscher, president and CEO of Siemens AG. “Thanks to its intensive sunshine and steadily growing demand for energy, Israel is an ideal location for further developing our solar business.”

Avara will use the equity to help with the construction of solar fields located in the region between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea. Siemens will serve as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the projects, which will have a combined capacity of around 40 MW.

The first project will be the construction of a plant with an output of up to 4.9 MW at Kibbutz Ketura, in the southern desert of Israel. Additional photovoltaic plants are already being planned for the Negev and Arava deserts.

Israel’s aim is to meet around ten per cent of its total energy needs with renewable energy plants by 2020.

“This is the most comprehensive foreign investment to date for an Israeli solar energy firm,” said Johannes Schmidt, CEO of the Equity & Project Finance unit of Siemens Financial Services. “Through its early and extensive engagement in the field, Arava Power has developed into Israel’s leading solar energy company. Siemens will be supporting local solar projects with our full range of technologies, know-how and finance.”

Jonathan Cohen, CEO of Arava Power, added: “Siemens is the ideal partner for Arava Power and our property partners for winning over others interested in producing solar energy in Israel. Our strategic partnership will make it possible for our country to reach its ambitious goals of clean air and renewable energy even faster.”