main drivers in Cyprus
 Stable development for sunny Cyprus

Stable development for sunny Cyprus

In 2022 Cyprus achieved an impressive 5 % increase in its solar collector area additions, reaching the pre-Pandemic level of 74,000 m2 of newly installed collector area (51.8 MW). This growth was not only the result of the ongoing and extensive public grant schemes but also the “widespread development of the construction industry” said Panayiotis Kastanias. He is Senior Officer of the Cyprus Employers and Industrialists Federation (OEB). In our conversation with him we took a closer look at the continuous and stable development of the sector and its main drivers. The tourism industry is one of the most important customer groups for solar thermal suppliers, as the photo above with several roof systems in a coastal area of the island shows. Photo: Thylen Solar

One of the main drivers of the Cypriot solar thermal market in 2022 was the increase in volume of the national residential subsidy programme called Grant Scheme from EUR 600,000 in 2021 to almost EUR 1 million in 2022, supporting around 1,800 solar water heaters. Kastanias said that “undoubtedly, the implementation of the grant scheme for installing or replacing solar thermal systems in households significantly contributed to the market’s growth last year”. He also highlighted the fact that the budget was increased again in 2023 to EUR 2 million, with the aim of funding approximately 3,000 residential solar thermal systems. “The deadline for submitting pre-approval applications for this grant scheme is 20 December 2023 or when the final submission of 3,000 pre-approval applications is reached”, Kastanias said.

Doubling of budget for national residential subsidy scheme

Only integrated water heating systems (water heaters + collectors or a solar water heater plus electric element) are eligible if they meet the following technical requirements:

  • Solar collectors have to be Solar-Keymark-certified
  • The water heater has to have energy class B or higher if it has a capacity of up to 200 litres or energy class C or higher for a capacity greater than 200 litres
  • The installation needs to be carried out by a certified installer

In 2023, only a few changes were made to the grant scheme compared to the previous year:

  • A “pre-approval application” must be submitted before implementing the installation
  • Investments are eligible for funding only if installations are performed by certified installers registered on the list of participating installers (https://resecfund.org.cy/en/node/145).
  • All components (solar collector and storage tank) have to be included in the eligible equipment list.

Another grant scheme for the installation or replacement of solar thermal systems in households has been funded by the Renewable Energy Sources and Energy Conservation Fund, along with support from the European Union – NextGenerationEU, under the Cyprus-Tomorrow Recovery and Sustainability Plan. This initiative notably benefits the solar thermal market. However, the Cyprus Union of Solar Thermal Industrialists (EBHEK), member of OEB, argued that there should be a subsidy scheme targeting solar cooling, high-temperature process heat, or promote research and development of solar systems. Kastanias noted that it would have been a great gain for the sector if this grant scheme had also incentivized the adoption of solar thermal technology in the commercial/industrial sector. “Such a wider strategy would contribute significantly to the further advancement of the Cypriot solar thermal industry,” he added.

main drivers in Cyprus
Solar thermal market development 2019 to 2022 in Cyprus Source: OEB

Growth in the local collector and tank industry

However, Kastanias mentioned that the funding schemes are not the sole factor for stable development: “The development of the construction industry and the widespread mentality that exists for installing solar thermal systems in Cyprus are also key drivers.” We can observe this increase in the growth of domestic collector production in Cyprus. While the newly installed collector area rose by 5 % in 2022, solar collector imports decreased. In 2019, 38 % of the new collector additions were imported, mainly from Greece or China. This share went down to 31 % in 2022. Kastanias added that “the increase did not occur as a result of the establishment of new companies but rather due to the growth of existing ones.”

Data for the market in 2023 has not been fully collected yet. Therefore a further increase cannot be confirmed. Nevertheless, Kastanias is confident about another increase of between 2 and 10 %, due to some notable landmarks. One important factor is the above mentioned doubling of the national subsidy scheme for new and retrofitted solar water heaters. Besides that, the support schemes for the Energy Upgrade of Houses and Businesses continued to be in place in 2023. Thirdly, the problems with delays in the delivery of raw materials (copper, glass, aluminium) from abroad began to disappear compared to the two previous years during and after the pandemic. So there are good prospects for Cyprus.

 2019202020212022
Total flat plate collector area newly installed [m2]69,94574,19370,36073,924
Number of building permits7,2187,0238,1647,733
Newly installed flat plate collector area on new buildings [m2] (calculated with 1,6 m2 collector area/system)23,09822,47326,12524,746
Share of the new building market segment in the total newly installed collector area33%30%37%33%

Key figures for the Cypriot solar thermal market Source: OEB

Websites of organizations mentioned in this news article:
Thylen Solar: https://thylensolar.com/
Cyprus Employers and Industrialists Federation, OEB: https://www.oeb.org.cy/
Renewable Energy Sources and Energy Conservation Fund: https://resecfund.org.cy/en/tameio
Cyprus Union of Solar Thermal Industrialists (EBHEK): https://ebhek.org.cy/en/
Grant Scheme: https://www.resecfund.org.cy/en/iliaka_2023

Elena Engelniederhammer

Elena Engelniederhammer is a freelancer and marketing specialist based in Southern Germany.