News | Sunday, 03 January 2010

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Government identifies rooftops for solar energy

The rooftops of some 29 public buildings, including MEPA, the Police headquarters, Mater Dei hospital, the Inland Revenue Department, and ten public schools have been identified as potential sites for solar energy installations by the resources ministry.
The estimated total unshaded area available for this project is estimated at 67,263 square metres, 40,000 of which lies on property belonging to the Water Services Corporation.
The most promising source of solar energy is a group of reservoirs belonging to the WSC in Ta’ Qali, which has an unshaded area of 17,150 square metres.
The Maria Assumpta school, with an unshaded area of 3,592 square metres, has the greatest potential among the 10 public schools chosen.
Despite its enormous size, Mater Dei only has an unshaded area of 1,359 square metres – less than the Police headquarters (1,893 sq.m) and the Employment Training Corporation (2,500 sq.m).
The electricity generated from the photovoltaic systems will be fed into the national grid. The winning bidder for the project will be responsible for the financing, design, supply, installation, operation, and maintenance of photovoltaic systems on these public buildings in Malta.
Replacing the entire street lighting system with one fuelled by solar energy would cost the country €80 million, Infrastructure Minister Austin Gatt told parliament before the Christmas recess. The government has ruled out replacing the entire street lighting system, but does not exclude using solar generation in places where no street lighting currently exists.

Councils invest in renewables
During the past year, 41 local councils have benefited from an energy saving scheme introduced last year in which government subsidised councils with an allocation of €314,900 to support various local initiatives costing €468,529.
The top investors in this scheme were Qormi and Siggiewi which spent €10,000 each out of their own coffers, while receiving the same amount from the government to have their own rooftop photovoltaic systems.
While 26 councils made a separate bid, 15 Maltese and Gozitan councils formed a consortium to implement renewable energy systems in their locality.
The Gharb council installed a photovoltaic system on the primary school with the aim of educating students on the project, while Ghaxaq council installed a photovoltaic system on a sports centre. The St Paul’s Bay council proposed an off-grid PV system for a street lighting system.


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