THE need to expand the use of solar panels by low-income households as well as farmers who need cheap electricity to remain competitive was unanimously voiced by House Commerce committee members yesterday.
Speaking after a session, committee head and DISY MP Lefteris Christoforou said that “words are not enough to lower the price of electricity.
“There needs to be action, as well”, he said.
“Solar energy is a good solution, but poses two problems. The first is the cost of setting up a photovoltaic system, and the second is the bureaucracy involved.”
Christoforou said that the committee asked that the new Renewable Energy Sources (RES) budget provides for free energy-saving light bulbs to be provided to all households free of charge.
“With regard to farmers, we need to incentivise the installation of photovoltaics by reducing the large investment required, and consolidating and simplifying the process, thus minimising the cost of electricity,” he said.
“This would mean lower production costs, cheaper prices to consumers and rendering Cyprus’ farming competitive again.”
According to AKEL MP Yiannakis Gavriil developing solar energy would be a way to reduce farming and livestock raising costs.
“To date, very few farmers have opted to use this RES, because of bureaucracy – in many instances, there is no building permit, or a town-planning permit, or approved facilities,” he explained.
“We asked the Commerce ministry to find a way to help these farmers.”
DIKO MP Angelos Votsis said that the Commerce ministry has pledged to engage in consultation with the committee prior to submitting the RES budget to the House.
“I applaud the ministry’s pledge as it means that we can confirm that the actions and suggestions discussed will be included in the budget”, he said.
EDEK MP Yiorgos Varnava said that RES in general, and photovoltaics in particular, must become norm.
“Despite the government decision to subsidise the installation of photovoltaics for vulnerable groups of the population by 50 per cent, that still leaves the problem of raising the remaining 50 per cent. It seems that the government will need to subsidise a greater percentage of the installation”, he said.
“Also, we certainly need to expand the use of RES in the farming sector, so that low cost of electricity can lower productions cost and render their products competitive.”