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Malta installs first solar-powered footpath

Malta installs first solar-powered footpath

The EU member state has committed to achieving 11.5 percent target share of energy from renewable sources by 2030

Malta’s first solar footpath is taking shape in Rabat. Solar panels began being installed on 25 September along the pavement lining the Għeriexem road, Fredrick Azzopardi, CEO of Infrastructure Malta announced in a tweet. The 40 sq.m footpath includes between 30 and 40 photovoltaic panels which are expected to provide power for around 40 percent of the road’s lighting. 

It is estimated that the project will lead to 21 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions being cut from the atmosphere. According to Azzopardy, the solar-powered walkway is viewed as a pilot to pave the way for similar projects in other localities across Malta and Gozo.  

Reaching the renewable energy targets

As a country endowed with a year-long sunny climate but short on land space, Malta is eyeing solar power as both a blessing and a challenge. Under Directive 2009/28/EC for member states, Malta has committed to reaching a target share of energy from renewable sources of 10.0 percent by 2020 and 11.5 percent by 2030 in gross final consumption of energy.

To reach its EU targets for 2020, last year Malta had to purchase EUR 2 million in renewable energy credits from Estonia. The country had previously also entered a 7-year deal with Bulgaria worth EUR 1.4 million to cover the years 2013 to 2020, according to a report compiled by the Central Bank of Malta.

6 new grant schemes

Reaching the renewable energy targets will simultaneously contribute to the reduction of Malta’s carbon footprint. They are expected to be achieved through a mix of technologies such as photovoltaic installations, solar water heaters, waste-to-energy production, wind farms, heat pumps, biomass imports and biofuels.

In 2021, the government of Malta launched six new grant schemes worth EUR 9 million to incentivise the production, storage and use of renewable energy. The aid for solar energy consumers will help families to set up new solar panel systems while encouraging households with existing systems to utilise battery powered systems.

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