Solar farm in Rabat to provide 1MW to 350 families

A 1KW investment will cost €1,495 and will provide a 12% rate of return with a feed-in tariff of 15c for the first six years • Government planning more solar farms in partnership with private sector

Mizzi said that families will be able to invest in 1KW, 2KW or 3KW lots
Mizzi said that families will be able to invest in 1KW, 2KW or 3KW lots

A new photovoltaic (PV) panel farm in Rabat will provide a total of 1MW of electricity for around 350 families who do not have access to roof space where to install such panels, according to Konrad Mizzi, minister without portfolio in the office of the Prime Minister.

Mizzi, who was addressing a press conference at Castille with environment minister Jose Herrera, said that the PV farm would reduce carbon emissions by 839 tonnes.

Mizzi said that families will be able to invest in 1KW, 2KW or 3KW lots, which would entail four, eight and 12 panels respectively, and that a 1KW investment would cost €1,495.00, considerably the cheaper than the going commercial rate.

The price was in line with what other families paid when installing a PV system through the current EU-funded scheme.

“The new scheme will also provide a 12% rate of return and will be charged at a feed-in tariff of 15c per unit for the first six years, going down to 12c5 for the following 14 years,” Mizzi said. “All units will be included in the ARMS bill and credited against the family’s electricity consumption.”

To be eligible to benefit from the new scheme, families will need to prove that they do not have access to space of their own and that they are already registered with ARMS.

An information session for the public is being held on 19 October, with applications being received at the end of the month, the minister said.

Development permits for the site in Il-Fiddien were already in place and a tender has been issued for the supply of the panels.

Mizzi said this first farm would hopefully be one of many more around Malta and that his secretariat was already working on similar schemes that would also include the private sector.

“By the end of the year, renewable energy use in Malta will have reached 5% of total energy production, with 90MW of electricity generated by PV panels,” he said.

Environment minister Jose Herrera said that the elements of visual and environmental impact had been taken into consideration in this project, and that the site chosen for the project was already compromised, in that it a reservoir was located on the site.

He said that the government was committed to continue investing in renewable energy, and had managed to reduce carbon emissions by slightly less than one million tonnes since 2013.

“We are currently working on a low-carbon development strategy to target emissions generated by road vehicles, waste and the industrial and agricultural sectors,” he said.

“We have also set up a climate action board and fund and introduced a third garbage bag for organic waste disposal, but there is still a long way to go with regards to tackling emissions.”