The government is set to await until election year to impose strict targets requiring new developments to cater for renewable energy on their roof space.
Malta’s second national Energy Efficiency Action Plan stipulates that by 2013 developers will have to leave 50% of the roof area of any new building unencumbered for the installation of Renewable Energy Sources buildings.
The RES installation will have to provide a minimum of 50% of the energy needs for cooling and heating of spaces and hot water for each dwelling Unit.
As from 2017, the allocation of renewable energy is set to increase to 70% for cooling and heating and 90% for heating water.
If such requirements cannot be met because of site conditions, the owners will have to financially contribute to the setting up of communal renewable energy source facilities.
Both of these strategies will reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from energy use in buildings.
It is envisaged that by the end of 2018, all new buildings being constructed for the use of public authorities will qualify as nearly-zero energy buildings.
The refurbishment and transformation of existing buildings into nearly zero-energy building stock will be encouraged through grants, tax deductions and other fiscal mechanisms.
Such instruments may be applied for those owners who will enter into a commitment that clearly shows that their building will have higher energy efficiency and nearly-zero net energy use.
As from 2013, all other non-residential buildings will be bound to have an installation of RES that provides a minimum of 50% of the energy needs for cooling and heating of spaces and hot water of the building or each different category of use in the building, and as from 2017 to have an installation of RES that provides a minimum of 90% of the energy needs for cooling and heating.
The new policy contrasts with previous ones, which completely disregarded the allocation of roof spaces for renewable energy.
In fact, the planning policy which allows penthouses on three-storey apartment blocks, was recently denounced by the Malta Resources Authority as one which limits Malta’s renewable energy potential, is among the policies currently being reviewed by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority, a spokesperson for the Authority confirmed.
The policy approved in April 2005 paved the way for penthouses on three-storey apartment blocks.
But according to a report presented to the European Commission in 2010 by the Malta Resources Authority, this decision is now limiting Malta’s renewable energy potential.
“This resulted in a situation where most apartment residents have no access to the roof and hence have no adequate roof space to install solar water heaters,” a report presented by the MRA to the European Commission stated.