By Poly Pantelides
AS OF next week, thousands of consumers will be able to apply for the energy regulator’s net metering scheme that can generate major savings from electricity consumption, a big expense for most households in Cyprus.
Financially vulnerable households will be able to apply for state help to install photovoltaics of up to 3kW in capacity, which should cover the energy needs of the average household, said an official of the energy regulator, CERA, Kypros Kyprianides.
A household’s grant threshold has been set at €2,700 (€900 per kW), which should cover about half of the expense to set up the system, Kyprianides said. Between 2,000 and 2,500 households are expected to apply for a combined output of up to 6MW, he added. But a further 9MW – corresponding to roughly 3,000 households at a maximum of 3kW each – will also be available for applicants without subsidy and thus will not be subject to income criteria, Kyprianides said.
The electricity authority (EAC) will be handling applications, although households wanting state help will first need to okay their application with the special fund for renewable energy sources (RES). Applications are available via the commerce ministry’s energy institute and there will be a lottery if eligible households exceed capacity, Kyprianides said. Applications open this coming Wednesday and will be accepted until November 15 or when capacity is met. The EAC should approve applications within seven working days and once the whole procedure is completed, the system should be linked up within 15 days, Kyprianides said.
Net metering allows homes to produce electricity via small RES facilities. The facilities feed energy into the grid, while consumers draw electricity as normal, paying the difference between the outflow and inflow. If their facilities produce as much electricity as the households consume, electricity bills will come to nil. If people consume more electricity than what is fed into the system, homeowners will have to pay the difference. Though consumers cannot make a profit, net metering can play a huge difference to low income households.
Households are eligible for state help if they receive social welfare help or allowances relating to disabilities, including blind and mobility allowances. Large families are also eligible on income criteria, set at a combined household annual income of €51,528 for those with three dependent children. Income criteria go up for those with more than three dependents by €5,126 per additional child. Pensioners who receive state help are also eligible to apply if they are at least 70 years old and do not cohabit with anyone younger than 70.
To find out more about receiving a state subsidy, visit www.cie.org.cy (information was only available in Greek as of yesterday), call 22-606042 or get in touch directly with a local EAC branch.