If you've been tempted to switch to solar but haven't gotten down to it yet, this may be the chance you've been waiting for. 

People who invest in photovoltaic panels will be refunded 50 per cent of the cost (up to a maximum of €2,300) as part of three new subsidy schemes announced by the government today. 

The EU-funded schemes total €15 million and will run on a first come, first served basis. Successful applicants will then benefit from a feed-in tariff of 16c5. Applications will open on May 30. 

An estimated 7,000 families are expected to benefit from the scheme, a government statement said.

EU Funds parliamentary secretary Ian Borg said the subsidy schemes were part of a bigger €58 million investment in sustainable energy. No other details about this figure were forthcoming. 

He added that the government was optimistic about reaching its sustainable energy targets.

Last November, the European Commission had said Malta was unlikely to reach its 2020 targets. A UN report published last March also found that Malta was a laggard when it came to renewable energy production. 

Malta generated just 4.7 per cent of its energy from renewable sources in 2014, according to Eurostat. It has committed itself to generating 10 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. 

Minister without Portfolio Konrad Mizzi was also present to announce the subsidy launch. Dr Mizzi has been charged with overseeing the government's energy projects, following a Cabinet reshuffle announced two weeks ago. 

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