The Malta Independent 16 May 2021, Sunday

Three new renewable energy schemes for households launched

Shona Berger Saturday, 17 April 2021, 11:39 Last update: about 29 days ago

Three new renewable energy schemes for households were launched yesterday by Energy Minister Miriam Dalli. The schemes have the aim of helping households heat up their water efficiently and in an environmentally sustainable manner. These include the heat pump starter, the thermal classic and the thermal premium.

Addressing a press conference on Saturday, Minister Dalli said the issuance of these new schemes aim to continue making use of renewable energy in Maltese and Gozitan families, and ultimately save on electricity and water bills.

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“These schemes are intended to encourage the installation of solar water heaters and air to water heat pumps for residences,” Dalli said.

She explained that the existing solar water heaters scheme, the thermal basic scheme, has been extended to a €700 grant for a 5-year warranty. This grant will give an opportunity to all suppliers and offer market diversification. In addition, another supporting scheme was added which includes the thermal premium scheme. This is specifically for stainless steel systems of over 100 litres, with a maximum grant of €1,400 covering 75% of the total cost.

“Another €500 grant will be given for maintenance purposes to extend the warranty on these systems for 10 years,” she said.

Solar water heaters save an average of about 1,800 light units per year, per home.

Minister Dalli further explained that air-to-water heat pump technology allows those without access to a roof to also install clean energy technology to heat water in their homes. Heat pumps make use of the heat present in the air and transform it into energy to heat water, as well as air.

“This grant, called Heat Pump Starter, will support up to €1,000 in investment which means 50% of the cost,” Dalli said.

These schemes developed following a number of meetings and discussions between the Ministry together with the social partners involved. In this case, with the Malta Chamber of Commerce, the Malta Chamber of SMEs as well as with the Maltese Developers Association (MDA).

“We also listened to what consumers had to say as well as what Maltese and Gozitan residents want in their homes regarding this matter,” Dalli said.

Engineer Abigail Cutajar presented a technical overview of these three schemes.

With regards to the Heat Pump Starter, Cutajar explained that the system absorbs heat from the outside air and transfers the heat via a wet central heating system to the point of use. This may be used for both space and water heating.

This system has its benefits as it contributes towards Malta’s Decarbonisation targets, works even up to three times more efficient at a lower temperature than a standard boiler system and is suitable for underfloor heating systems or larger radiators for space heating.

Cutajar also explained the function of the Solar Water Heater Schemes, saying that the sun’s thermal energy heats the liquid inside the solar collectors. The liquid then passes through a heat exchanger in the storage tank, transferring the heat to the water which is then transferred to the point of use.

These schemes will also push the country to reach three sustainable development goals including goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy, Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, and Goal 13: Climate Action.

Consumers will be able to apply for these schemes from 26 April 2021. However, as of next Monday, the Regulator for Energy and Water Services (REWS) will start accepting forms from suppliers to register the technology they are selling.

“This is an important process to give customers the peace of mind that the product they are investing in, is of good quality,” she said.

Through discussions, Dalli said that some consumers are concerned with whether they can rely on this type of technology.

“Through the registration we will also be addressing this specific concern. We are also doing this procedure to ensure that the technology used is one that is environmentally sustainable, efficient and that the technology is one that works,” Dalli said. 

Once REWS receives the technical registrations to approve the technology, one will be able to apply for the schemes in the following week on 26 April, through the REWS online portal which allocates funds; www.rews.org.mt.

 

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