Basically for the year 2020, the government will start giving a grant (25% of the cost up to a maximum of €1000) for anyone interested in buying batteries to store energy generated from the solar array.
The intention behind this scheme is that the energy generated from the solar array will be stored in the batteries instead of being sold to our country energy provider (Enemalta) and then self-consumed at a later time by the client himself, thus eliminating Enemalta from the equation.
I really don't know if I should laugh or cry at such an initiative!
This will eventually get even worse for more people who have installed solar panels simply because the initial contracts for selling RE units to Enemalta are expiring. During the contract, the selling rate was €0.21 or €0.25 for Gozo (energy generated from the solar panels and sold to Enemalta), the intention being to make it higher than it's bought from Enemalta making it more attractive for people to invest in solar power generation due to the higher selling rate per KW and thus a better return on investment.
However the intention of all this is now clear! Enemalta will encourage clients to install panels and make some money for the first years (actually the first years are used to pay back the initial investment), THEN, it will pay you back a miserable rate, enough so the company can make money. Here we're talking of a minimum of €0.05 per KW profit.
Putting in batteries in an already working battery-less grid-tie system is not straightforward!
1) Most probably, the most expensive component in the RE system will need to be changed, i.e. the grid-tie inverter. Here we're talking of €2-3K. A hybrid inverter such as the SMA Sunny Island inverter will need to be purchased, one that charges batteries and sells the excess energy (once the batteries are full) to Enemalta.
2) The batteries are expensive! The most practical options are either Lead Acid (least expensive - short lifespan) or Lithium-Ion (much more expensive - longer lifespan). For a 6.5KW 48v lithium-ion battery will cost around €3.5K. The goverement will subsidy this amount and for an investment of €3.5K will reimburse €750 or 25% of the battery cost.
3) Changes to the system, i.e wiring and any miscellaneous hardware needed such as wiring and switching gear.
All these changes will easily amount to €6K and the government is giving a mere €1K maximum on just the batteries!
In my opinion this does NOT make sense and I'm afraid this scheme has just been created to allow a number of local RE providers to make money, by contracting them to purchase the batteries, additional hardware and make the necessary changes to the already installed systems.
All this hassle and system changes just because Enemalta is paying its clients a lower rate per KW then it's bought.
Would it have made more sense if the government ensured that both the buying and selling rates are the same? Is this such a difficult concept to grab? It seems YES, when the main objective of all this is for Enemalta to make more profit.