By Peter Stevenson
A PHOTOVOLTAIC system which had been installed at the Presidential Palace two years ago was recently taken down as it never had the right permits and could have posed a safety threat, according to the Electricity Authority (EAC).
But it could be reconnected soon as the Palace has finally submitted a new application.
The EAC disconnected the system a month ago after it been discovered by an authority employee during a routine inspection. According to daily Alithia, the system placed on the roof of the banqueting hall built in early 2012, was connected to the electricity grid after assurances had been given that permission would be obtained from the Energy Regulatory Authority (CERA).
The EAC, CERA and the Energy Ministry did not receive any applications, forcing the EAC to disconnect it, spokesman Costas Gavrielides told the Mail.
“Specific approval is required from the Energy Ministry to install any photovoltaic system regardless of the power,” he said.
“The systems had not been approved or checked by any EAC official, meaning that their safety was compromised and it could have resulted in anyone visiting the palace to get electrocuted,” he claimed.
The matter may have been resolved, however, as the necessary applications have been sent to the Energy Ministry and the system will soon be reconnected.
CERA energy officer Christos Karayiannis told the Mail that the regulator needs to be made aware of any photovoltaic system which will be connected to the grid for purposes of monitoring and assuring that all safety precautions have been observed.
To allow people to connect their photovoltaic systems to the grid without being part of a wider Ministry or CERA scheme which include needy families, the regulator said that small systems less than 20kW could be installed independently on homes or businesses but approval is still required.
In September CERA had warned people not to install photovoltaic panels without prior approval.
CERA said they had reason to suspect people have installed electricity production units, mostly photovoltaic panels, without applying for, and acquiring, a licence.
“CERA considers such actions illegal,” the regulator said warning that the law provides for financial penalties and/or imprisonment.
CERA said that illegally installing systems could be dangerous during the installation process or for those coming in direct or indirect contact with the systems.