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‘PV for all’ supporting China, not EU

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Cracks are starting to show in the Cyprus government’s ‘photovoltaics for all’ scheme, aimed at encouraging households to install solar energy panels on their rooftops in order to meet the EU’s climate-neutral target by 2050, with the subsidy announced in January favouring Chinese manufacturers.

Just this week, European solar manufacturers, faced with growing competition from Chinese PV panel imports, said they might go ahead with about 4,000 layoffs of skilled workers, as Beijing’s  dominance over global supply lines, which has caused a supply glut of dirt-cheap solar panels within the bloc, has left them unable to compete.

Not that the Cyprus government had been thinking of ways to support ‘local’ industries in fellow EU member states by providing grants that would be aimed mainly at European manufacturers.

Thus, the scheme for the no-deposit funding to install up to 4kW of PV panels on 6,000 homes, will benefit Chinese solar panel importers, with inferior efficiency ratings and doubtful if they will last as long as the European variants, that very often carry 30-year guarantees.

Instead, with the average kit costing at least 6,000 to 6,500 euros, one wonders which bright person in the Energy Ministry came up with the scheme, that provides a grant of up to 5,000 euros.

This is hardly a grant, as the consumer pays for the entire amount, with the only benefit being that it is added to your EAC electricity bill every two months. Thus, if you’re currently paying a bill of, say, 200-250 every two months, you will be paying 150 euros to the EAC against a no-interest loan of 4 to 5 years. And if you add the ‘reduced’ bill of 40-50 euros for consumption after the installation of the PV panels on your roof, it comes down to the same amount that you pay today.

In fact, apart from the 1,500 euro grant returned to those who could afford to invest directly in a PV system with their own money, there is no other aid from the government, even though funds are being used from the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Fund allocated to Cyprus.

Add the fact that the government is notorious in paying suppliers, PV panel installers will not get their moneys for at least ten months.

That is why many are turning to closing a deal directly with the solar energy companies and seeking the 1,500-euro refund, at least assured that the ‘grant’ will not limit them to investing in poor-quality Chinese systems.

And to imagine that the European People’s Party leader made a fuss a few weeks ago about Chinese buying up European infrastructure.

Perhaps the EPP leader has been living on a different planet, unable to see how much infrastructure has been handed on a silver plate to Chinese state-owned entities, even in Greece and Cyprus.