A Maltese MEP has called for increased ‘solar rights’ for owners of photovoltaic panels and solar water heaters as more and more people speak out on new building overshadowing their solar investments.
During a recent session of the European Commission, Alex Agius Saliba spoke about owners of photovoltaic panels and solar water heaters on rooftops in Malta and other EU countries increasingly facing problems from tenements or urban development, creating over-shading and reducing the efficiency and effectiveness of their solar investments.
“The lack of proper ‘solar rights’ protecting owners of photovoltaic panels and solar water heaters on rooftops is a major obstacle to the widespread uptake of this technology and the efficiency of solar power systems in the EU countries. If we are to reach the 2020 renewable energy targets, we should provide incentives for people to invest in solar energy systems and to guarantee them access to solar rights,” Agius Saliba said.
In a parliamentary question, Agius Saliba asked the EU Commission to protect private investments and solar rights of EU citizens and encourage the use of solar power systems.
“People are getting more concerned about making the right choices when it comes to the environment, and that is why they invest in renewable energy sources,” he continued. “European citizens make the right choice and so should we, as a European Union and as politicians. We need to protect people and ensure that their investments in solar panels are not affected negatively, by over-shading of nearby tall buildings or tenement restrictions.”
He explained that currently, there is a significant gap at European and national levels when it comes to ‘solar rights’ rules protecting owners of photovoltaic panels.
“The lack of proper protection of private investments and of the owners of solar panels handicaps the existing potential and advancement of solar energy sources. I do not see, therefore why we should not safeguard people’s rights. That is why I am putting pressure on the European Commission to guarantee that European citizens have their investments protected and that solar rights are made available to all,” he said.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, Agius Saliba noted that these issues were leading to a loss of thousands of euros for families and business owners after they had invested in the new technology.
“Social access rights began in the USA and it is important that they enter on a European basis. Only in this way will we be able to give peace of mind to all of those who invested in these systems that contribute in a direct way to a more sustainable environment,” he said.