Turning public buildings into solar energy plants

With the cost of energy constantly rising, countries all over the world are turning to renewable energy to solve their energy needs. Cyprus meanwhile is turning to the sun to solve their energy needs.

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Combining energy and education: Solar panel installation at Omodous High School. Combining energy and education: Solar panel installation at Omodous High School.

Enjoying more than 300 days of 75 % sunshine, Cyprus is a prime candidate to harness solar energy. The island already holds the unofficial 'world record' in solar water heating with almost every household having a system installed, officials estimate that more than 750 000 m² of solar collectors are installed on the island. Cyprus has now expanded the coverage of photovoltaic systems to public buildings, schools and military camps.

Harnessing public buildings

To date, as a result of the ERDF funding 65 photovoltaic systems have been delivered with a total capacity of 1 100 kW (kilowatts). The systems were installed on the roofs of six public buildings, 54 schools and 5 military camps and included a wide range of kilowatt capacities. More specifically they installed 19 systems of 5 kW, 16 systems 10 kW, 3 systems 15 kW, 15 systems 20 kW, 4 systems 25 kW, 1 system of 30 kW, 1 system of 35 kW, 1 system 40 kW, 1 system of 45 kW, 3 systems 50 kW and 1 system of 100 kW. All of these were connected with the national grid which then distributed the electricity produced.

As well as reducing the electricity cost of each building, it also served to raise the awareness of students in photovoltaics through educational material - specifically 50 training models of photovoltaic systems which were purchased for schools.

Harmonising with the EU

As an island, Cyprus is not connected to a larger electricity grid and cannot purchase electricity from a neighbour, meaning that it needs to generate itself all the electricity to fulfil its needs. However by implementing this programme it is coming into closer alignment with EU legislation in the field of energy through prioritising the promotion of saving energy and the use of renewable energy.

According to officials, the project helps to achieve a key commitment of Cyprus in the area of encouraging the use of renewable energy sources (RES) and the promotion of energy saving in the context of strengthening sustainability. The high cost of photovoltaic systems in relation to more conventional technologies meant that without EU funding, the project could not have been completed.

Total and EU funding

The project “Photovoltaic systems in public buildings, schools and military camps” had a total eligible budget of EUR 5 043 989, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 3 134 474 for the 2007 to 2013 programming period. The project is funded through the priority “Environment and energy infrastructure” of the Operational Programme “Sustainability and Competitiveness”.

Draft date