Solar EnergySolar energy is used in large range by households and hotels to produce hot water. Cyprus installed 0.86 m2 of solar collectors per capita (Sun in Action, Altener, February 1996). Solar thermal is utilized also in non-thermal applications. Photovoltaic cells are used to provide power for telecommunication receivers and transmitters in remote areas by the Cyprus Telecommunication Authority and the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation. Now, the Electricity Authority of Cyprus is committed to purchase electricity produced from renewable energy sources to boost the development of these sources.
Solar water heaters were fabricated and installed for the first time in 1960. After that, expansion in the utilization of solar water heaters has taken place throughout the country on basis individual utilization. The progress was slow during the first year. The reasons were low efficiency, high cost, and operational difficulties (e.g. leakage). Due to engineering developments and rationalization in production, the defects in design were eliminated to a large extent and the cost were kept in constant level. This resulted an impressive increase in production.
92% of all island dwellings are fitted with solar water heating system. Today, there are approximately ten major and twenty manufactures of solar water heaters in Cyprus. Those manufactures employ about 300 people and produce about 35,000 m
of solar collectors annually. The estimated penetration of the systems in different categories buildings was 92% for houses and 50% for hotels (January 1st, 1999). The estimated area of solar collector operated is 600,000 m
and the annual solar thermal energy production is 336,000 MWh/year. The use of solar heaters reduces the total CO2 emission 10% (285,000 tonnes CO
Cost of Solar Heating in Cyprus
The average daily solar radiation on a collector installed at an angle 350 to the horizontal is 5.4 KWh/m
. The annual savings per m
of installed area are 550 KWh (based on test by the Applied Energy Center of Cyprus). The extra total cost needed to install a solar water heating system on a house is around 700 Euro. Payback period depends on fuel price displaced. In domestic sector depends on electricity price. In the other sectors depend on fuel oil price. In the 1998 prices, payback period of a typical solar system is estimated around four years.
The type of solar domestic hot water heaters in individual houses is thermosyphon. Details of this system are following:
- Two solar collectors with total glazed area 3 m2 are connected in series to a hot water tank, placed at height, just above the top of collectors.
- In the reason of the city water supply is not continuous, the cold-water storage tank is placed above the hot-water storage tank.
- The hot water tank is fitted also to auxiliary electric 3 KW heater which can be operated manually or automatically.
- The solar collectors of the flat plate type glazing are constant.
Success Factors of the Extensive Use of Solar Heating
Extensive utilization of solar heating in Cyprus was successful to be executed without any subsidies from the government. The government has given no subsidies and the growth of solar energy industry is in conformity with natural laws of economic and reasonably stable. Behind this success, there are many factors have contributed. They are:
- The most important factor: the enterprising industry. The industry identified correctly the prime application of solar water heaters. They boosted the improvement of technology and promoted the product with vigor. Hot water is a primary need. Solar water heaters can meet the demand economically with an investment which most Cypriot house owners can make without any significant difficulties.
- The sunny climate tends to make solar heating more competitive. In hotels, the maximum demand in summer appropriate very well with the flux of solar radiation. This makes water heating system more efficient and economic.
- The government through the Applied Center of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism has helped the promotion of solar energy by:
- Providing technical support consists of testing of collectors, advice to industry for improvement of the product, advice to consumer for efficient utilization. For industry, this support was proved to be very critical at the initial stages. Even now, the provision of this support is necessary because most firms on account their size can not support research activities.
- Making the material used for fabrication of solar water heaters duty free
- Providing technical support for the preparation of relevant standards
- Making the installation of solar water heaters compulsory on state-built housing
Success of this extensive use of solar energy due to the enterprising industry with back up of cooperating government.