By Peter Stevenson
NET metering will lower electricity bills and increase the production of energy from renewable energy sources (RES), Environment Commissioner Ioanna Panayiotou told deputies yesterday.
In a statement released after a meeting of the House Commerce Committee Panayiotou said that homes equipped with RES, in this case solar panels, could send the excess energy generated back onto the grid. An electrical converter called an inverter turns the DC (direct current) power coming from the renewable energy source into AC (alternating current) power, which matches the voltage of the electricity flowing through the power line.
Two houses, one in Paralimni and one in Larnaca have been fitted with net metering devices and the results were presented at the committee meeting. The bill for the house in Paralimni came to €3.55 after the net consumption came to 4KWh instead of €1,000 for consuming 840KWh during the same period last year.
The Larnaca home’s bill came to €11.64 after a net electricity consumption of 36KWh instead of 1836KWh during March and April of last year.
“These encouraging results support the facts that by installing this system there will be a decrease in the cost of electricity for homes that have net metering and it will save fuel, reduce emissions and created job opportunities,” the commissioner said.
According to Panayiotou, the implementation of net metering and the progressive integration of a larger number of consumers like the public and local authorities, will help increase production of electricity from RES (photovoltaic and small wind turbines), with positive implications for the economy and the environment.
Cyprus will be the first country to install net metering on a mass basis, the commissioner said.
Chairman of the House Commerce Committee, Lefteris Christoforou told reporters after the meeting that the high cost of electricity had brought households to their knees and made many small businesses close down. “We insist that net metering be implemented so every Cypriot will have the chance and the possibility of installing photovoltaic systems in their homes,” he said.
Christoforou said he believed that in the next three years, more than 40,000 homes would have the chance to receive free electricity when they had photovoltaic systems installed.
He called on the Electricity Authority (EAC) to show they comprehended the current circumstances and stopped cutting off power to those people who have shown they do not have the financial means to pay their bills.
“The state has placed these people at the top of the list to receive photovoltaic systems to relieve them from having to pay electricity bills,” he said.
Greens MP, George Perdikis revealed that the cost of installing a 3KWh photovoltaic system of medium quality would be between €6,000 and €7,000. Most of those systems come from China and Perdikis added that the EU had already begun taking measures to ban them.
“These measures could greatly affect the programme which the government has begun implementing for 2,000 consumers who receive welfare and will have 50 per cent of the cost funded,” he said.
Perdikis stressed the need to re-examine legislation to allow more members of the public the ability to enter the programme.