Government told more RES can’t be absorbed

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The government will continue to subsidise the installation of solar panels in homes, despite warnings the system can’t absorb additional Renewable Energy Sources (RES), said Energy Minister Natasa Pilides.

A joint letter by Cyprus Transmission System Operator (TSO) and the Distribution Director said the state scheme should be terminated as the system cannot absorb more energy from RES.

Speaking to Cyprus News Agency, Pilides called on the two operators to immediately consider the appropriate technical solutions and implement them as soon as possible instead of sending letters that spread panic.

As she says, the termination of the scheme at a time of energy crisis, when every consumer should be allowed to install a solar system and reduce the costs of electricity, would be unacceptable.

Pilides said the government not only does not intend to stop the measure, which has been in place for ten years and embraced by the public, but on the contrary, it will enhance it.

“The measure not only reduces the cost of electricity in homes, vulnerable households and businesses, but it also promotes the green transition, reduces dependency on fossil fuels and purchases of emissions rights.

“It also contributes to the achievement of Cyprus’ pledges resulting from the European Green Deal, the Fit-for-55 legislative package and RepowerEU.”

She added that the measure created the conditions for a significant increase in solar panel penetration.

“Today, more than 31,000 photovoltaics with the net-metering system are installed in homes with a total power of more than 140 MW, which exceeds 20% of the total installed RES power in our country.”

She said that with the incentives given by the ministry from 2013 to 2022, the penetration of residential and commercial solar systems has increased by 1700%.

Applications submitted until the end of 2022 for the subsidy payment have doubled, while the applications from vulnerable households have almost tripled.

Pilides argued there are technical solutions, such as reallocating the capacity between residential and commercial projects.

TSO spokesperson Vrahimis Koutsoloukas said they asked the ministry to stop the installation of photovoltaics based on the existing scheme, and they proposed that new applications should be included in the framework of a new plan, with additional requirements for the installation of photovoltaics.

He added that they are currently at the limit concerning the installation of photovoltaics, based on the existing plan, which cannot be exceeded.

Koutsoloukas argued that more energy from RES could be absorbed if there were storage systems or an electrical interconnection, which the system Operators could not control.