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Disused landfill to be Gozo solar farm

Pilot project might be rolled out in Malta too if successful

The Qortin landfill site in Gozo was closed down in 2004. Photo: Max Xuereb

The Qortin landfill site in Gozo was closed down in 2004. Photo: Max Xuereb

A significant part of Gozo’s former landfill, known as Qortin, will soon be converted into the island’s first solar farm, The Times has learnt.

Preliminary studies show it could produce 900,000 electricity units a year

A spokesman for the Government confirmed the project was “already in an advanced planning stage” with the aim of transforming the area into a solar energy production site.

A source close to the project revealed that around 6,000 square metres of rehabilitated landfill will be used for the installation of some 2,700 photovoltaic panels.

Preliminary studies show the farm could produce 900,000 electricity units a year. A two-person household is estimated to consume about 10 electricity units a day, without an air conditioner.

The source said this venture will be used as a pilot project, and if successful, may be used on a much larger scale for the Magħtab landfill in Malta.

The landfill was closed down in 2004 after 30 years of acting as the dump for all the waste produced in Gozo, particularly construction material.

Qortin one of several other planned solar farm projects

Through a €3.5 million investment from EU funds the area is now being rehabilitated.

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi has said the Government was devising plans to give incentives to those who did not own a roof or lived in apartments to invest in renewable energy schemes, such as solar and wind farms. In return, they would benefit from reduced energy bills.

Apart from the Qortin project, there are a number of other solar farm projects in the pipeline.

A few weeks ago, the Government awarded a contract to a private company to convert 67,000 square metres of public rooftops into mini-solar parks. Another 40,000 square metres of rooftops are in the process of being rolled out for similar projects, while Malta Enterprise is working on the possibility of using factory roofs for the purpose.

The installation of PV technology, particularly in the domestic sector, was given a boost in the past few years, particularly through various incentive schemes.

A total of €17 million of EU funds have been used by 6,700 families to install PV panels on their homes.

The EU is also evaluating another application by Maltese authorities to launch a new EU-funded scheme, which according to the Government would be worth more than €17 million.

According to the National Energy Plan, PV panels in Malta are producing some 16MW of clean energy, with 10MW being fed directly to the grid.

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