Cyprus: Rooftop PV systems for 405 public schools
At the current stage almost all installations have been completed and we are proceeding with the final certification and commissioning of the systems. As of today about 2/3 of the systems are already on line and the rest are planned to go online by year’s end. The project has been approved for funding under the EU Resilience and Recovery program.
In the context of increasing the Renewable Energy share in the Republic of Cyprus and being in line with the EU energy regulations for public buildings, the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) and the Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth signed a cooperation agreement in 2019, for the installation of rooftop PV systems, water insulation and thermal insulation systems in existing public schools, in Cyprus. The agreement covers 405 public schools with a total PV capacity of nearly 5 MWp under a Net-Metering scheme. Under the agreement, EAC has undertaken the complete management of the project, on the behalf of the Ministry. The project has been approved for funding under the EU Resilience and Recovery program.
Estimated 40% energy savings
After EAC analyzed ~730 school electricity bills, visited and inspected ~530 public schools, the final parametrization indicated that:
- 405 schools can receive a rooftop PV system
- The PV systems can be categorized in 4 typical system sizes of 3kWp, 5kWp, 10kWp and 20kWp, for a total PV capacity of 4,85 MWp
- A total rooftop area of ~48,000m2 was in need of waterproofing works
- A total rooftop area of ~88,000m2 needed thermal insulation works
The combined effect of the installation of the PV systems and the thermal insulation works has been estimated to yield a 40% energy savings in the schools.
Several tenders to encourage participation of local companies
Considering the size, geographical extent, nature and needs of the project, it was deemed that allocating the project as a whole would present several problems. The residential/commercial PV market in Cyprus is characterized by many small- to medium-sized companies. Setting participation criteria for the entire project would mean that most, or all, of the local companies would be ineligible to participate, unless they form consortia and submit joint bids, thus limiting competition. Also, awarding the entire project as a single contract would mean that the successful Tenderer would be hard-pressed to meet the project deadlines.
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The project was divided in 11 packages, each having approximately 30 – 40 schools and each Tenderer could submit bids for any, or all, packages and could be allocated up to 3 packages depending on their techno-economic capability.
Based on the above, EAC designed a special, novel and a fully transparent Public Tendering Procedure, driven by a Mixed Integer Linear Programming (MILP) algorithm, which allocated the packages in a way that minimized the total project cost. The method was published as an article at the highly respected Renewable Energy Journal, under the title of “Enhancing expansion of rooftop PV systems through Mixed Integer Linear Programming and Public Tender Procedures”.
The main outcomes of this approach are:
- 16 Tenders were received showing that the project drew the attention of various small-medium and big sized PV companies
- A high-level of competition was achieved with an average bidding price of ~1300 €/kWp, including roof waterproofing and thermal insulation works, compared to the initial estimated budget of ~1750 €/kWp
- EAC signed 5 different Design and Build Contracts with different Contractors, in early 2021, at a price of ~€5,9 mil.
- Compared to the estimated initial budget of €8,4 mil, with this novel method of public procurement, EAC managed to achieve savings of ~30%.
In cooperation with the Contractors, the work methods were adjusted to minimize any disruption to the normal school operations and strict H&S processes were put in place to ensure the safe completion of the works. In spite of various difficulties and unforeseen situations faced during the project, due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain disruptions, at the current stage nearly all installations have been completed and EAC is proceeding with the final certification and commissioning of the project. As of today, about 2/3 of the systems are already online and the rest are planned to go online by year’s end.
Planned monitoring platform
Finally, to enable the effective monitoring and management of the PV systems, EAC has proceeded with an open tender procedure for purchasing a platform specialized in intelligent monitoring and asset management for rooftop PV systems. At the current stage, EAC has finished the evaluation of the tenders received, and is expected to sign the Agreement for the monitoring platform within the current month.
The successful completion of the project is a significant milestone in upgrading public sector buildings in Cyprus, in line with EU guidelines. (hcn)