Another €35 million is being allocated in subsidies for people to upgrade their homes to be more energy efficient following the success of the previous round of grants which clocked up over 2,000 applications, Energy Minister Natasa Pilides announced on Thursday.
Pilides said the new crop of subsidies would cover the period from 2021 to 2027 though it will overlap with the current scheme until the end of this year.
The first call for €35 million was announced in March 2021 and was successfully completed three months later, with 2,152 applications submitted to the fully automated system developed for sponsorship schemes, Pilides said.
The plan is designed to nudge people into taking permanent and efficient measures to their homes that will, the minister said, bring a corresponding reduction in electricity and heating bills.
The move to have buildings upgraded for energy efficiency comes under a draft EU directive as part of the Green Deal. Buildings will be given an energy certificate on a special scale that could affect those lower down the ladder that have not upgraded. Brussels calls it the ‘Renovation Wave’ and also refers to ‘Renovation Passports’ for buildings.
However, some member states, including Cyprus, have expressed concerns to Brussels that even with state subsidies and long-term energy savings, the upfront cost will be offputting for many homeowners who may not see a return on their investment for years if they decide to take out what is becoming more widely known as a ‘green mortgage’.
Pilides said on Thursday that the new scheme will cover up to 60 per cent of the cost to homeowners to a ceiling of €32,000. Vulnerable households and mountain residents will get 80 per cent of the cost of ‘green renovation’.
“We expect that interest will be even greater in this second round since the public, due to the energy crisis and energy price hikes, have become much more aware of the need to invest in measures that will reduce their energy costs,” said Pilides.
It’s all part of “our multidimensional strategy for a rapid transition to green energy”, said Pilides.
Referring to the ‘long-term building renovation strategy’, Pilides said that 91 per cent of all buildings on the island were built before the introduction of minimum energy efficiency requirements. New buildings constructed since 2021 must already be up to code and have zero emissions.
Pilides said that in Cyprus, residences are responsible for 18 per cent of total energy consumption, while another 12 per cent comes from buildings in the commercial sector.
“Clearly, we have a long way to go in the area of energy efficiency, however with our grants scheme, which encourage thermal insulation investments, we are optimistic that we will gradually be able to achieve very good results,” she said.
Pilides then listed off the current government’s list of accomplishments in the energy and transport sector that are all blueprinted in the Cyprus Tomorrow Plan that reflects the UN’s Agenda 2030 that is being implemented at various stages around the globe.
“Our ministry is working with determination and zeal for the green transition,” the minister said.
“It is no coincidence that the country had the fourth highest solar penetration in 2022 among the countries of the European Union.” Cyprus, she added, has reached 16 per cent in RES in 2022 compared with 8.3 per cent in 2013.