The 8 MW facility was built by a cement producer to supply around 10 per cent of its nearby factory’s annual power needs. Under subsidy-free rules, the power would be bought by the Cyprus Electricity Authority for the average price it would have paid if the energy had come from fossil fuels.

Size matters and the 8 MW solar project built in Cyprus could be considered a beast in relative terms at least.

The solar plant operated by the Vassiliko Cement Works Company Ltd is about 8 km from the factory of the Nicosia-based firm in Amalas and will supply about 10 percent of the annual electricity of the cement factory without public subsidy.

The subsidy-free market in Cyprus takes off

Cyprus ‘ subsidy-free scheme, which allows for electricity generated by these installations to be purchased by the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) at the’ cost avoidance rate’ indicated by the average price it will pay for electricity generated from fossil fuels. At the time of publishing, the rate was high but investors bear the risk of a volatile wholesale energy price.

Next year, Cyprus plans to produce 13 per cent of its energy from renewables as part of an initiative that involves transport, space heating, cooling and electricity. Thanks to the contribution of solar thermal and heat pump systems for heating and cooling, the nation has already achieved the goal in 2018 and last year.

The goal of the power sector this year to capture 16 per cent of electricity from renewable energy sources is quite off, with the figure set at around 10 per cent with less than 10 months to go.

A Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority spokesperson said the progress made so far was remarkable considering that the policy was only recently finalized. Developers seeking to construct subsidy-free renewables facilities had to apply applications by 30 April 2018, and last summer the first wave of installations began.

Project details

A press release by the Vassiliko Cement Works Company reported that the overall cost of authorization, construction and grid connection for its solar project amounted to approximately € 6.5 million.’

The cement company obtained a building permit in April and started construction the same month, the spokeswoman said, with the project completed last month. Sunel, based in London, provided the plant with engineering, procurement and construction facilities, using panels manufactured by Upsolar, a Chinese manufacturer.

Economic breakthrough in 2013, Cyprus became one of the first EU Member States to move from fixed feed-in tariff payments to a flexible tender-based solar project procurement model.

The nation’s net metering and net billing regimes have powered rooftop solar, with a net-billed 2.5 MW system that was installed last year as the largest PV rooftop in Cyprus to date.

Nevertheless, despite such development, Cyprus still has only around 170 MW of installed solar generation capacity and relies mainly on imports of costly diesel and gas to generate its electricity despite being one of the EU’s most sun-drenched Member States.

Source – here