The scheme allows households that do not own or have no access to roofs to invest in solar photovoltaic system installed on the roof of a large water reservoir.
Problem addressed: Communal solar photovoltaic farm scheme with an allocation of 999 kWp, exclusively targeting residential sector whose main residence has no right of use of own rooftop for installing PVs, as in certain high rise buildings and ground floor tenement. The scheme gives the opportunity for households without a rooftop to reach nearly ZeroCO2 emissions due to operational energy use.
Location of solar panel farm scheme: Tal-Fiddien Water Reservoir Rooftop, Rabat, Malta
Site size: ≈16,000 m2 (4,000 PV panels)
Output: 999 kWp
Pricing: €1,500/ kWp with each residence having an option to purchase 1, 2 or 3 kWp.
Units Credited: 1,550 units per kWp purchased
Maintenance fees: 0
Term: 20 years
Feed-in tariff allocated: 15c/unit for first six years, 10.5c/unit for remaining years
Transferability: Yes, when changing address and in case of death (to heir).
Application Limit: Total aggregate of 999kWp, which was fully subscribed in June 2017. The scheme operated on a first-come first-served basis.
Main stakeholders: The Energy and Water Agency (E&WA) formulated the scheme and the Regulator for Energy and Water Services (REWS) regulates the scheme.
1) Households without access to a rooftop
2) Government of Malta to support achievement of PV share of approximately 190 MWp capacity to be installed by 2020, as stipulated in the NREAP. This 190 MW in PV capacity would be enough to contribute 4.7% out of the 10% national renewable energy target.
- Building permits to install PVs on the water reservoir (Planning Authority)
- Application for Electrical grid studies (Enemalta)
- Application for FiT to responsible authority (REWS)
- Tenders and evaluation (EWA public procurement)
- Contract agreements
Evidence of success
Communal PV farms operated by private contractors ensure reliability and optimal operation of the PV systems.
The scheme is a win-win proposal for the 3 parties involved:
1) Government to support the achievement of the RE target.
2) Private contractor for job creation in green markets.
3) The general public for achieving lower carbon footprint and a financial benefit, equivalent to 5% return on investment
The scheme was fully subscribed in less than 9 months (24 Oct 2016 - 22 June 2017).
The general public took longer than expected to apply
Such a scheme can be extended to cater for households that have a rooftop but cannot install PVs due to shading obstructions
such as shading from nearby households. It can also be extended to commercial sectors (such as restaurants).
Potential for learning or transfer
Given that such communal farm scheme was a success in Malta, an island where land is scarce, the idea can be implemented in other regions and cities in Europe. Communal PV farms can fulfil the requirement for new buildings in cities to achieve nearly zero energy status after 2020, especially for those that do not have sufficient space in their immediate vicinity to install sufficient capacity to achieve the NZEB status.
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