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20 July, 2024
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Government's 'Photovoltaics for All' plan sparks debate on eligibility and funding

MPs express concerns over limited beneficiaries and funding challenges in the renewable energy initiative

By Andreas Karamitas

The Government Grant Scheme for transitioning citizens to renewable energy sources and promoting energy-saving initiatives in homes for the period 2024-2025 is currently open for public consultation until January 19, 2024. This development follows discussions at a recent meeting of the Parliamentary Energy Committee.

The scheme, known as the "Photovoltaics for All" project, focuses on the installation of systems by domestic users and offers an initial grant of 1,000 euros, with additional funding to cover remaining costs up to 4,000 euros. To be eligible, households must not have exceeded 6,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity consumption in the previous year. Participants are required to pay an installment of 150 euros per quarter through their account with the AHK, and the funds collected will contribute to the RES and EE Fund.

During the debate, MPs acknowledged the government's positive intentions but raised concerns about certain aspects of the plan. The annual consumption cap of 6,000 kilowatt-hours was deemed too low, considering the higher electricity consumption of larger families. Additionally, concerns were raised about the limited funds, totaling EUR 30 million, which correspond to only 6,000 applications. This could potentially lead to a halt in the plan if additional funds are not provided.

Another issue highlighted was the possibility of households not paying their installments. The Lt. Energy clarified that a contract clause would allow the AHK to cut off electricity from photovoltaic systems in such cases. However, the legal standing for this action remains uncertain.

Commission Chairman Kyriakos Hatzigiannis emphasized the project's importance in assisting vulnerable citizens without initial capital for photovoltaic investments. He clarified that the plan is not for everyone but targets a specific number of consumers with a limited budget.

MPs expressed mixed opinions, with AKEL MP Costas Costa supporting the project for aiding citizens without initial capital while acknowledging the title's discrepancy with its limited scope. The Movement of Ecologists' MP, Stavros Papadouris, expected the consultation to address identified flaws, questioning the inclusivity of the "Photovoltaics for All" title. EPP MP Elias Mirianthous noted shortcomings in the plan, advocating for substantial improvements to encourage the widespread installation of photovoltaic panels.

The Parliamentary Committee on Energy agreed to revisit the issue post-consultation, considering all stakeholders' views from the government and civil society. However, concerns arose regarding the small number of beneficiaries, given that the project only covers 6,000 houses out of 118,967 in the country. MPs urged the Ministry to make necessary changes to prevent the exclusion of vulnerable population groups and emphasized the need for additional funds to support renewable energy projects. The green transition is deemed a reality, and state support is crucial in guiding citizens toward sustainable energy sources.

[This article was translated from its Greek original and may have been edited for brevity]

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