The way the electricity cost is going up and is ever increasing in Cyprus, the reduction of the cost of electricity is becoming a major issue. To this end the government is introducing all sorts of incentives to encourage investments in solar energy, in order to produce electricity at home and to reduce the household consumption cost.
Using solar energy is indeed a cost saving alternative, which reduces the electricity cost for an ordinary home to around 10-20% of the otherwise usage. The results are evident, and households are encouraged in an increasing number as the cost of electricity rises.
The problem is for those units (e.g. apartments) that have no space to place the solar panels and even where there is, other problems might arise, such as the roof slope is at the wrong angle for the panels to be placed at their optimum angle, or mature trees provide shade which again affects the efficiency of the panels, in forest areas in particular.
In case that there is a proven technical limitation for the panels’ installation and operation, some other form of renewable energy production may be found.
In Greece, for example, investment companies buy up land which is suitable for the purpose, develop solar parks and sell a share, while the metering is set off against the “shareholders” home consumption.
This sort of approach has not caught up as yet in Cyprus, but this or other similar alternatives could be considered. This could also help the installation of solar panels in apartment blocks, factories, hotels, blocks of shops, etc. This sort of “group solar parks” could help towards the saving of land (if no available space to place them) especially when it comes to the use of good agricultural land and the cutting down of trees.
I wrote to the previous Minister of Commerce and Industry, and received a response which I could not understand (and showed the reply to others hopefully more knowledgeable than us but could not understand it either).
I will try again with the hope that I get a sensible reply.
It is a fact that public pressure is affecting government decisions on this issue and numerous alternatives are provided (e.g. no longer needed to place the panels where the consumption is) and any ideas should be looked upon by the government positively to see if they are capable of implementation.
The reduction in the electricity cost has a direct effect to tenants, who will find that the total rent and electricity cost will be much less than if panels do not exist. Similarly, businesses will also find their operation cost being reduced, making them more competitive and helping them with their cashflow.
I realise that the people who will least benefit are those who have properties in the mountain areas, not only because of the existence of trees and shade that prevents full absorption of the sun’s rays, but due to the distance of the installations and maintenance cost will be much higher as well.
It is my opinion that in each case the use of a specialised contractor or a mechanical-electrical engineer could be of great help to get an estimate on this capital investment compared to the cost saving, who will advise you on the various subsidies that are available.
By Antonis Loizos F.R.I.C.S. – Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – Property Valuers, Estate Agents and Property Consultants