01 May 2014 10:31

The House Commerce Committee is pushing for a new government-subsidised net metering scheme to allow more households to produce their own electricity and feed it back into the national grid.
Committee Chairman Lefteris Christoforou said the Committee is determined to promote net metering and other Renewable Energy Sources in order to offset the huge power bills that households and small businesses have been burdened with since the 2011 Mari disaster.  
"We believe that a new pilot scheme should be launched to allow Cypriot citizens, households and businesses the opportunity to install subsidised photovoltaic systems until the cost of power is reduced by 80% or 85%."
The chairman added that the committee will be putting pressure on the government to re-launch the scheme without placing a limit on the number of houses that can apply this time round.  
"The social and economic benefits for households and businesses will be huge," said Christoforou.
"There should not be any limits on the number of households included in the scheme providing this does not cause any problems with the national grid."
Diko deputy Angelos Votsis agreed that all households should be granted the opportunity to install government-subsidised photovoltaic systems to counter the economic burden of energy-related expenditures.  "All political parties agree that a new net metering scheme should be launched but the Cabinet does not appear to be contemplating such a programme for 2014."
The reason, according to Votsis, is that the Ministry of Commerce has not yet evaluated the available renewable energy sources for the coming years and is hesitating due to the inclusion of natural gas into the equation.
Akel MP Costas Costa accused the government of altering Cyprus' long-term renewable energy plans without first seeking the approval of the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (CERA).
"The Cabinet has essentially put a stop on a project that was started by the previous government and put into motion by the current government. Despite the benefits that it would bring to businesses and households and the assessment that the pilot was a success we are not seeing any progress."
A net metering subsidised pilot scheme for low-income households was launched in early 2013 with CERA saying it would serve as an important learning experience over the viability of the project on a much larger scale.
Despite the pilot being considered a success after 2000 3KW systems - capable of producing what an average household consumes in electricity - were installed in houses around the island, plans to extend the scheme appear to have been temporarily put on hold. The House Commerce Committee is scheduled to reconvene again on Monday to further discuss the matter.


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