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February 10, 1989 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-02-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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LIFE IN ISRAEL

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Special)

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36

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 1989

Allan Afterman of Kfar Kalil adjusts solar storage batteries.

Can Sun Power A Village?
Kfar Klil Trying To Find Out

CARL ALPERT

Special to The Jewish News

K

li, is a tiny dot on the
map somewhere in
the Galilee Hills. One
who approaches the area in
which the settlement is
located should not look for
helpful road signs. The long
approach road is unpaved.
This is deliberate.
"We are a group of creative
people who don't want to be
disturbed by curious visitors,
and we even seek to
discourage them." So we were
told by Stephen Fulder,
formerly of Oxford, whose
family is one of 21 who make
their home in this out-of-the-
way place.-
Their desire for solitude
won't help them, for whether
they wish it or not, fame of a
sort has come to Klil.
Visitors to Israel are
familiar with the sun collec-
tors which abound on more
than 50 percent of the roof-
tops of the country, providing
the residents with an ample
supply of hot water, heated by
the sun's rays. Every home in
Klil has a battery of collec-
tors, but here they do more
than heat water. They contain
photovoltaic cells that convert
the energy of the sun into
electricity which can then be
stored in batteries for use at
will. -
Klil was founded 10 years
ago, and the score of families
who gathered here found that
they had in common a desire
to live a pioneering life next
to nature, far from the mad-
ding crowd and the various
contaminations of city life.
For the first eight years

they managed quite well
without electricity, using in-
stead storage batteries,
kerosene, candles and oil
lamps. The nearest power
lines were miles away, and
the cost of extending them to
the Galilee aerie was pro-
hibitive. Still, there was no
denying the advantages of a
steady power suply, and con-
tact was made between the
settlement and the Ministry
of Energy, which was seeking
a suitable spot for experimen-
tal development of electrical
energy for domestic use,
drawn from the sun.
"When we decided to go in-
to this, we thought that all
was well known and that we
were simply buying fixed
equipment that had to be in-
stalled," Fulder told us. "We
found out otherwise." For the
past two years, they have in-
deed been making and using
their own electricity, but the
path of experimentation has
been beset with difficultie-s.
In effect, they were guinea
pigs, as they faced and over-
came teething problems and
the equipment was gradually
improved.
The scientific side of the ex-
periment must be left to the
scientists to explain. In brief,
Israel has an average of
850-950 watts of solar radia-
tion per square meter when
the sun is shining. The
highest anywhere in the
world is 1,100 watts. The
energy in the sun's rays is
converted into electricity
through a thin wafer of
silicon which is placed in a
frame with up to 40 other
photovoltaic cells, covered
with weatherproof plastic.

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The electricity created is only
12 volts DC, but an inverter
changes it into the 220 volts
AC which is standard for
domestic use in Israel.

Is the power supply ade-
quate? In the summer, yes,
but on the cloudy days of
winter the settlers have to
economize. There is enough
juice for illumination, radio,
television and washing
machines, though many of
the families run their
refrigerators on bottled gas.
For winter heating many
burn wood.
"People lived before elec-
trical refrigeration," Yael
Roseman, a professional
writer, told us, "and we got
along, too. We like this kind
of life, and we're willing to
pay a price for it." They do
have telephone contact with
the outside world.
Dan Schreier, an American
from Los Angeles, put it even
more bluntly. "We decided
that if we're going to live in
Israel, then we might as well
go whole hog and live a real
pioneering life. This is the
best place of all to raise
children, next to nature and
unspoiled by city life." His
youngsters are 12, 11, 7 and
3. All the children at Klil,
and there are many, are taken
to schools daily in nearby
towns.
Mike Silverman, formerly
of New York, noted for us that
almost all the residents are
college graduates. "We have
not come here looking for
economic success," he said.
"We would have remained in
the city for that. What we
want is a quiet life." He has
a wife and four daughters.

-

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