The measure to install photovoltaic systems in homes will be strengthened

The Minister of Energy stated that the Government not only does not intend to stop this measure, but instead will strengthen it

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The Minister of Energy, Trade and Industry Natasa Pilidou describes the letter of the Administrators to terminate the Plan for the installation of photovoltaic systems in residences as unacceptable, declaring that the Government does not intend to stop this measure, but to strengthen it.

The joint letter to the Minister of the Transmission System Operator (TSO) and the Distribution System Operator (AEC Distribution), was brought to light by the newspaper "O Phileleftheros".

In her statement to KYPE, Ms. Pileidou calls on the two administrators instead of sending "threatening" letters that spread panic, to immediately consider these technical solutions and implement them as soon as possible.

"The Department of Energy, Trade and Industry finds unacceptable the Administrators' letter to terminate the Residential Solar Scheme at a time of energy crisis when every consumer should be given the opportunity to install a solar system and reduce costs of electricity", said Ms. Pilideou in her statement to the KYPE.

He added that the Government not only does not intend to stop this measure which has been in operation for 10 years, since 2013 and which was so embraced by the citizens, but on the contrary it will strengthen it.

As the Minister mentions, the measure, in addition to reducing the cost of electricity in homes, vulnerable households and businesses, promotes the green transition, the independence of Cyprus from fuel imports and the purchase of emissions rights and contributes to the achievement of the commitments of the Cyprus Democracy resulting from the European Green Deal, the Fit-for-55 legislative package and RepowerEU.

He adds that the measure has created the conditions for a significant increase in residential solar penetration.

"Today, more than 31 thousand photovoltaic Net-metering systems are installed in residences with a total power of more than 140 MW, which exceeds 20% of the total installed RES power in our country," he said.

He also noted that with the incentives given by the Ministry from 2013 to 2022, the penetration of residential and commercial solar systems has increased by 1700%.

"Only the applications that have been submitted to us until the end of 2022 for the payment of the sponsorship have doubled, while the applications from vulnerable households, which have increased from this year to 80 thousand with the inclusion of new categories, have almost tripled," he says .

The Minister expresses the position that there are technical solutions, both temporary and permanent, which can keep the Plan for the installation of photovoltaic systems in force, simultaneously shielding the safety and reliability of the system.

"Consequently, the two Administrators are requested, instead of sending "threatening" letters that sow panic, to immediately examine these technical solutions and implement them as soon as possible," it states.

Such solutions, he added, can also include reallocating capacity between residential and commercial projects.

"We cannot on the one hand give subsidies to help citizens and vulnerable households and on the other hand prohibit the legal right of consumers to install PV", concluded the Minister

Need for storage systems and electrical interconnections says DSMK

In addition, in his statements to KYPE, the Press Representative of the Cyprus Transmission System Operator (TSMO) Brahimis Koutsoloukas reported to KYPE that a letter was sent to the Energy Agency to stop the installation based on the existing plan and that the new applications should be included in the framework of a new plan, with additional requirements regarding the control that will exist in photovoltaics. He added that they are currently at the limit with regard to the installation of photovoltaics based on the existing plan, which cannot be overcome.

He added that more energy from Renewable Energy Sources (RES) could be absorbed if there were storage systems or if there was electrical interconnection, which is not in the control of the Operators. Based on European legislation, he added, this should be done by private individuals.

He explained that there is a minimum percentage of total load demand that must be covered by conventional units, which provide some necessary services to the system such as backups that renewables cannot provide. Conventional units have some technical minimum, he added, below which they cannot operate.

He also said that cutting solar plans would be a stopgap solution until systems are available.

Asked whether the opening of the electricity market will help to absorb more photovoltaics in the system, he noted that there will not be much differentiation in terms of the specific problem, however it will give the opportunity to private individuals to install storage systems.

Regarding the opening of the electricity market, Mr. Koutsoloukas said that within December the second trial operation took place and at the moment some additional tests and improvements are being made to the market software to move to the next stage. Regarding the opening of the market, he said that a relevant decision from CERA is expected.