Cyprus has announced plans to boost its solar industry in order to save €51 million (US$67 million) a year, create 650 jobs and bolster its struggling economy.
Cyprus is planning on installing solar energy parks across the country having recently approved 23 solar projects with a combined capacity of 50MW. Earlier this month, the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority also announced its net metering policy will be expanded to include residential solar PV systems.
Cyprus' gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to decline 8.7% this year according to Bloomberg, though it could fall as much as 13%, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
To stimulate the country’s economy, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades agreed on 25 March to a €10 billion (US$13 billion) loan from the European Union and the IMF in return for measures including a tax on bank deposits of more than €100,000 (US$128,000) at the country’s two biggest banks as well as wage and pension cuts and the sale of assets and gold.
The tax on Cypriot bank deposits has led to a boom in business for Germany’s solar industry as investors seek to secure their money in material assets rather than banks.
Milk the Sun GmbH, a Berlin-based company that links buyers and sellers of solar projects, told Bloomberg: “Germans with savings of more than €100,000 are increasingly concerned because of Cyprus.”
Chief executive officer Felix Krause continued: “They’d rather put their money in a renewable plant with guaranteed returns than leave it in the bank or invest in stocks.”
On state-run CyBC TV, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, said: “There is no doubt that trials and tribulations await us. For us to succeed in kick-starting the economy and to emerge from this crisis as soon as possible, we must strictly adhere to all the commitments we have undertaken in this loan accord.”