Domestic Solar Water Heating: Potential and Challenges in Malta (2011)

Delivered by the University of Malta’s Robert N. Farrugia at Malta’s annual Solar Energy Markets conference, this presentation attempts to quantify the potential for SWH growth in Malta up to 2020. With 10,000 solar water heaters installed in Malta prior to 2008, government grant schemes in following years - culminating in a 40% subsidy for the cost of a heater by 2010 - have significantly increased installations.

Farrugia calculates that approximately 106,600 Maltese households (76% of total) have access to a usable rooftop. If SWH were installed on every one, Malta would have a total installed capacity of 223,860kWh. This equates to 176 GWhth­ in annual Renewable Energy contribution and total energy savings of 15,000 toe per year (equivalent to 2.8% of the 10% savings Malta has committed to under the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive).

However, with only 15,500 SWH installations in 2010, it is clear that significant barriers must be overcome to meet this potential. Farrugia points toward deficiencies in quality that undermine consumer trust, and emphasises the importance of proper standard setting to ensure reliability. He also expresses anxiety about competition for roof space with other technologies and the Maltese building sector’s current preference for multi-storey apartments. However, a clear conclusion is that government grant schemes should continue to develop in coming years, with other measures such as tax rebates and mandatory installation of SWH systems in new or retrofitted buildings to be considered

Author: Robert N. Farrugia, University of Malta

Date: 2011

Pages: 28

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