One of Malta's solar projects
Wind energy may be the fastest growing form of renewable energy, but Malta's use of solar panels across the country has led to an annual saving of €7 million according to Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi.
Speaking to the Maltese Parliament, the Prime Minister praised the use of solar power in the country that was one of the renewable energy schemes launched by the government through EU funds and taxation. The government has since made investments in renewable energy in 21 different localities.
The Prime Minister had been answering questions from opposition members George Vella, Leo Brincat and Alfred Sant in regards to last month's EU summit, which discussed the Europa 2020 initiative to make 20 percent of Europe's power renewable by 2020 and the Copenhagen climate change summit.
Malta's climate change battle
Malta's renewable energy projects have seen government expenditure increase substantially. Several incentives were provided to Maltese families to promote clean energy, including subsidies on solar heating and PVC panels.
Other areas have also seen increased funding; waste management for example was allocated less than €500,000 up until 1998, not it stands at €16 million annually. Malta's clean energy target is currently 10 percent of consumption, not of generation, with the main sources being the sun, wind and waste.
Studies on the feasibility of wind farms in Malta are under way, with a possible wind farm at is-Sikka l-Bajda potentially giving up to 100 MW of energy. However, up to four percent of the targeted 10 percent of clean energy could come from the waste sector.
Malta's renewable energy push has seen several companies invest technology in the country. HSBC is currently trialling an innovative two kilowatt-peak photo voltaic system in Attard, Malta. It is the first of its kind to be connected to the electricity grid in the country and features a tracker that allows the panels to rotate the direction of the sun, improving efficiency by 20-30 percent. In its first two months of operation, the panels generated 747 kilowatt hours (kWh) of green electricity. The panels save around 3.7 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.
It is not the only development. In January the Malta Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energies Association (M.E.E.R.E.A.) stated that half of the households in Malta aim to have a solar water heater by 2020.
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