University of Cyprus will lead EU net metering research


Just months after the University of Cyprus (UoC) announced a 10 MW photovoltaic park in the divided country's ‘dead zone', it has revealed plans for a second, equally large solar park.

The UoC will also lead an EU-funded European research program on promoting net metering policies.

The university has signed a memorandum of co-operation with the Bishopric of Tamasos and Orini of the Church of Cyprus, to develop a photovoltaic park in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia.

UoC principal, Professor Constantinos Christofides, told pv magazine the 10 to 13 MW project will be built on land owned by the Church of Cyprus and will feature panels, a transformer substation, inverter housings, a meteorological station and "all the necessary infrastructure for the park's smooth operation and connection to the grid of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus."

The 639,545 sq m solar park will be built at Kamila, in the Agrokipia area of Nicosia with financing options still being investigated and Prof Christofides added: "We are looking towards specific financing options and are now searching for investors. There is a lot of interest expressed by many investors and we are going to announce news on this front very soon. Then we will open tenders looking for the best offer possible."

The principal said profits from the park could be used for student scholarships, supporting academic and research programs and promoting renewable energy projects as well as providing much-needed employment.

In January the UN approved the university's plan for a 10 MW photovoltaic park in Nicosia's UN-administered buffer zone – the ‘dead zone' – which splits the capital into its Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sectors. Construction will start soon according to Prof Christofides with the university to announce dates shortly.

European net metering research

The UoC also announced it will lead and co-ordinate a European research project in net metering technology.

The Promotion of PV energy through net metering optimization (PV-NET) project has a €1.3 million (US$1.67 million) budget funded by the EU through its MED program, which sees 13 EU member states – including all the bloc's northern Mediterranean member states – working together on competitiveness and sustainability.

The net metering project will focus on the improvement of net metering policies across Europe and will see pilot net metering schemes introduced in Cyprus, Slovenia and Portugal.

Institutions from five countries will join the UoC on the project: the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece; the University of Maribor, Slovenia; the Andalusian Energy Institute, Spain; the Agency for Energy and Environment in Rhone Alpes, France; and the Regional Agency for Energy and Environment in the Algarve, Portugal.

The electricity and energy authorities in Cyprus, Greece, Slovenia, Spain, France and Portugal will participate and study the project findings with a view to adopting its recommendations.

Cyprus recently introduced the large scale application of net metering for residential solar systems.

The EU net metering project kicked-off with a meeting at the end of April in Lemesos City, Cyprus.

Edited by Max Hall.

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