SKYWARD page 35
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sands of dollars more than the
amount of money it takes to set
up and maintain a photovoltaic
"I think (solar energy) might
be a very plausible thing to use
(on a kibbutz in Israel). It's very
sunny there. There are people
around to do maintenance on the
module. If it can last for 30 years,
it can be a quite attractive, cost-
effective system," Mr. Mazer
"One drawback would be the
heat. As solar cells get hotter,
their efficiency goes down. But
there's a way to get around that.
If it's mounted correctly, the mod-
ule can be cooled by the wind."
At Kibbutz Samar, Mr. Med-
wed is keeping all of this in mind.
Since devising the plan two years
ago, the 37-year-old Southfield-
Lathrup High School graduate
has put his solar energy studies
on overdrive. He has read books
on the topic and consulted with
government officials. Current-
ly, he's working with David
Faiman, director of the National
Ben-Gurion Solar Energy Cen-
ter, and representatives from sev-
eral other institutes and
laboratories, including Ben-Gu-
rion University, the Joint Israeli
Russian Energy Research Labs
and Musson Ltd. in Russia.
In designing his own system,
Mr. Medwed has tried to learn
from mistakes others have made.
One glaring faux pas: Many pro-
ject managers contract with corn-
panies that sell solar panels and
stands with intergalactic price
tags. Mr. Medwed says he's done
lots of cost comparisons. He plans
to use a relatively inexpensive,
but effective photovoltaic panel.
When it came to pedestals —
or stands — for these units, Mr.
Medwed got frustrated with what
he calls overpriced, fancy models,
so he designed his own (see dia-
gram on page 35). It's smaller,
perhaps less attractive, but Mr.
Medwed is convinced his creation
will save money.
In all, the Sunergy Project car-
ries an initial cost of $770,000,
with an annual maintenance cost
of $10,000, according to Mr. Med-
wed's detailed analysis. The sun,
of course, is free.
He's asking the government
for 30 percent of the initial total
up front. Kibbutz Samar promis-
es to repay the government in
Solar energy wasn't Mr. Med-
wed's focus in the States. He
studied music at Oberlin Con-
servatory in Ohio and ecological
agriculture at Evergreen State
College in Washington.
have not yet made
solar energy a
— Bryan Medwed
Mr. Medwed met his wife,
Ilene, through Habonim Zionist
Youth Organization when they
were both metro Detroit teen-
agers. They married in 1981 at
Congregation Beth Shalom and
made aliyah about 11 years ago.
The couple has three children:
Paz, Shani and Stay.
Their parents, Joe Medwed,
Mary Perica, and David and May
Moskowitz, still live in metro De-
Mr. Medwed says he loves kib-
butz life. Much of the appeal
comes from projects like Suner-
gy. Saddling the sun is something
Samarniks knew nothing about,
but now some of its residents con-
sider themselves experts.
"We know how to do this bet-
ter than anyone, " Mr. Medwed
says. "We've educated ourselves.
That's what happens when you're
part of a generation that nails to-
gether a nation. If you're crazy
enough, it'll work." ❑
Town Of Karmiel
Keeps On Growing
arranty with eve
eople have moved to
Karmiel over the years de-
spite the town's unem-
ployment problems. But
now the residents' faith is being
rewarded., as the municipality
pushes ahead with development
Karmiel, a development town
situated in the Galilee, suffered
from a shortage of jobs and cheap
housing in the late 1980s. Over
the last six years, however, un-
employment has dropped from
14-15 percent to 6-7 percent.
At present, housing is cheap-
er than other towns in the region.
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spokesperson Leviah Fisher says
the drop in unemployment was
achieved despite the massive ab-
sorption of new immigrants.
Since 1989, the town has ab-
sorbed about 12,000 new immi-
grants, mainly from the former
Soviet Union. New immigrants
currently make up about 50 per-
cent of the town's residents.
Mr. Fisher attributes the in-
creased employment level to the
development of industrial and
commercial areas, including the
opening of a shopping mall which
created 400 jobs.