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Public PV projects boost RES contribution

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Some 405 schools saw their energy consumption drop by a third thanks to a groundbreaking collaboration between the Ministry of Education and the Electricity Authority of Cyprus, adding to the public sector’s contribution to renewable energy sources.

The Education Ministry and the EAC announced that the project to install photovoltaic solar panels on the rooftops of school buildings has yielded impressive results, with a remarkable 30% reduction in their overall energy consumption.

Launched last summer, the project was concluded on January 22, marking a significant milestone in the effort to harness sustainable energy solutions.

The project involved the installation of PV systems with a combined capacity of 4.9 MW. The comprehensive progress report was formally presented to the Minister of Education, Athena Michaelidou on Tuesday.

Beyond the installation of PV panels, the initiative included the thermal insulation of approximately 84,000 square meters and the implementation of moisture insulation on surfaces where the solar power systems were integrated.

This initiative underscores EAC’s commitment to social and corporate responsibility, noted an EAC official.

In her statements, EAC Chairperson Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou articulated the overarching goal of fostering energy consciousness in Cyprus. She emphasised the vital role of energy as a precious resource, highlighting the project’s practical contributions to energy savings as a crucial aspect of social responsibility.

“The project holds particular significance for both the Ministry of Education and the Electricity Authority, impacting society at large. With its completion, a major objective has been achieved – the conservation of electrical energy, prudent use of public funds, instilling energy awareness among our youth, and concurrently contributing to environmental protection,” said Theodosiou.

The project has been funded by the European Union as part of the island’s Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP). The EAC, responsible for funding the project, will progressively reimburse the funds to the Ministry of Education.

Budget saving

The total cost of the project amounted to €6.6 mln, a noteworthy decrease from the initial budget of €9.6 mln.

The project received approval from the Council of Ministers, endorsing a special plan permitting the installation of photovoltaic systems with increased capacity (up to 20 kW) in school buildings.

Meanwhile, the EAC official announced that the authority’s first solar park in Akrotiri is up and running, boosting the RES contribution to the island’s energy mix and helping to bring down energy costs.

“The primary priority of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus is to reduce the cost of electricity, a move that will contribute to accelerating economic development and strengthening social cohesion. This reduction can be achieved through a targeted, green energy transition, and the EAC, through its public character, can play a leading role in facilitating this transition,” said Theodosiou.

The 12MW solar farm will generate electricity exceeding 20,000 MWh annually, saving approximately 4,700 tons of fuel and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 14,000 tons per year. These measures will result in savings of €2.8 mln and €1.1 mln, respectively, based on current prices.

The overall cost of the project, including construction, connection expenses, licensing fees, and compensatory measures, reached €9.7 mln.

An EAC report noted, “considering the energy produced by the photovoltaic park, the cost of the generated energy will be 5.0 cents/kWh”.