Renewable energy solution facilitated by tax credit scheme

The Medical Plaza Pharmacy and Perfumery in San Ġwann has installed a state of the art photovoltaic system taking advantage of the Malta Enterprise MicroInvest Tax Credit scheme and the expertise of renewable energy specialists Solar Solutions.

The PV system installed at the premises of Medical Plaza is a Hyundai 9kWp PV system utilising SMA inverters which produce approximately 15,000kWh (units) per year. According to Karl Azzopardi, Managing Director of Solar Solutions, this is equivalent to savings of approximately 13,000kg of CO2 emissions per year.

The project has been made possible by MicroInvest Tax Credits for Micro Enterprises and the Self Employed, a scheme managed by Malta Enterprise, which aims at encouraging micro-enterprises and self-employed individuals to innovate, expand and develop their business operations.

Commenting on the installation, Medical Plaza Managing Director Mr. Malcolm Mallia stated that he decided to invest in the photovoltaic system after Solar Solutions brought the advantages of the MicroInvest Tax Credit to his attention.

“With the scheme offering a 40% Tax Credit and the opportunity for a 35% Capital Allowance, I decided to invest in a complete photovoltaic system. Payback and return on investment have proved to be extremely attractive as I envisage a net return on investment of 30% when taking the tax credits into account, and effectively I will be saving 75% of my capital in due course. Apart from reducing my electricity bills, I also feel that I am doing my part in reducing the amount of harmful gases being emitted into the atmosphere."

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What we read here is in fact the very essence of what is needed throughout Malta. Malta is in a very interesting position in relation to the EU (European Union) and MEDA (Mediterranean Economic development Area) and METAP (Mediterranean Environmental Technical Assistance Programme.) This position is one where the issues of developing economic growth are to engage the move to the New Technologies and Engineering so as to meet the needs required to off-set the use of dependence on Oil. Indeed most readers here will recall the “2020 – Vision” avidly promoted in the EU (and now elsewhere) where this is being expounded to off-set 20% of our reliance on using fossil derived fuels for energy and fuel uses as well as for other uses. We should remember that it is recognised that Malta sits at the threshold and juncture of countries that are collectively known as the so-called “First-World” Nations and those of the “Second” and “Third-World” Nations. This position is one of historical perspective which has been brought about by it being strategically placed in the middle of the Mediterranean and at the cross-roads of international trade routes between Europe (now importantly the EU) Africa and both the Near and Far East. As a Nation – Malta – must exploit to its andr fullest benefit. How to do so is the subject of much debate in the Government of Malta and I for one can see that it struggles in many ways to comprehend and then do this for the betterment of the people. The individual responses such as that expounded here and promoted through fiscal incentives to Companies is biut the "Tip of the Iceberg" when it comes to the whole gammut of the wider issues. Examples by Industries - no matter how they are brought around - pale in to insignificance when the need is for the whole of Malta and the Government to implement the same general policy. There are significant opportun ities around which I know that the government is approaching in this regard. We know and also hear that there are developments in the area to install significant sources of Renewable Energies and Renewable Fuels that will see a complete change and departure away from the reliance on Oil (the principal fossil fuel) for which Malta is so reliant. Its move is therefore at the heart of energy policy for Malta. Such developments are shortly to be implemented and here there are examples to which we should be very proud. We welcome the advent of the proposed Wind Energy programme to locate Wind Turbines both on land and at sea (in fixed and floating platforms) in order to produce Electrical Energy from this valuable resource for Malta. Evidence elsewhere suggests that there is a sizeable opportunity here for Malta. We welcome the further advent of the proposal to locate Submerged Sea Turbines also to generate Electrical Energy around the coast of Malta (particularly between Malta and Gozo and Camino and near the off-shore Island of Filta) where it will be possible to maximise the energy capture of the tidal races in these coastal waters so as to produce around 15 to 20% of the Malta’s electrical energy needs. Such a development is very exciting for the Country. We also welcome the advent of the proposed Solar Energy and Photo-Voltaic systems needed to supplement the renewable energy needs by producing Electrical Energy from the one resource that Malta has in profusion namely Sun. This issue - which is shown here in this localised example for a Company - in an implementation throughout Malta Gozo and Comino will also ber very important for providing such an energy source. And whilst the area of land in Malta is not as vast as some of its neighbouring countries like Tunisia or Morocco it can still intoduce a large network of such systems that will have a dramatic effect on the provision of Electricity. But in addition we should also record that we can produce from within Malta our own Renewable Fuel bioethanol (a substitute for gasoline/petrol) for use in our cars vans lorries and buses. This proposal as I read could supply up to 60% of this need in Malta as well as provide a substantial export opportunity for the Country. There is such a development in offer to Malta which has already been promoted to Government (and variously leaked from within to the newspapers in Malta) during the past year under a proposal initiated from the UK by Genesyst that will make bioethanol fuel from non-food crops using lignocellulose and its waste which will deliver this fuel by 2015. We also welcome the move by Industrialists to locate the parallel industries here that will include developing Photo-Voltaic Cell manufacture and of Electrically-Driven Cars in Gozo and Malta. But to be sure that this is the right thing the one thing that needs to be recognised is that these can only arise as a result of the use of the skilled Engineers and Engineering practitioners we have in Society. This in effect is what Ing Saviour Baldacchino was on about in his message and we should not forget what he is saying. Malta can show the way here and the Government is correctly steering the issue forwards by inviting and supporting such developments. Those highlighted in the above statements will not only provide a valuable source of Electrical Energy and Renewable Fuels (as promoted in the Biomass to Ethanol programme by Genesyst) but they will provide several hundreds of jobs in the process. We should aldo remember though that they will also benefit the Country in another way by providing income and avoid the importation of oil for use here. So lets see more of these developments.