The satisfaction of the members of MINOAN ENERGY was widespread at the modest opening ceremony of the Community's first PV station that took place on the afternoon of June 29, 2022 in Arkalochori.
It is a 405kW PV station which is already operating and will continue for 25 years to provide free electricity to more than a hundred households and businesses, in the much-suffering area of the Municipality of Minoa Pediada.
It was developed on a parcel of land, south of Arkalochori, which was granted by the Municipality of Minoa Pediada and previously operated as an uncontrolled waste disposal site. In the month and a half of its operation, it has produced 121MWh of green energy which corresponds to 18% of the expected annual energy. The average production amounts to 2750kWh every day, an amount that is about 10% more than the initial calculations of the Community, which is due to the location of the PV plant with a very low average temperature of 22.7oC and an average wind speed of 9.0m/w, at the very good materials and the proper installation of the equipment. This energy corresponds to a saving of 57.49 tons of CO2 that would have been produced if the electricity came from conventional sources, while it is equivalent to the amount of CO2 that 80 trees would absorb.
Initially, a consecration was carried out by the Metropolitan of Arkalochori, Kastelli and Viannos, His Excellency Mr. Andreas, while the initiative was welcomed by the Regional Governor of Crete, Mr. St. Arnautakis, the deputies Mr. Vass. Kegeroglou, Char. Mamoulakis and the Mayor of Minoa Pediados, Mr. Emm. Fragakis. The event was attended by the Deputy Regional Governor for the Environment Nikos Xylouris, the president of the Pref. Councilor Pavlos Baritakis, as well as Special Councilor Ermioni Gialiti.
All the speakers highlighted the importance of the Community's project which is now turning into practice the energy transition from fossil fuels to Renewable Energy Sources, energy self-sufficiency and autonomy, energy democracy. Now the Energy does not concern the few and powerful but through the Community it passes into the hands of the citizens.
More specifically, the president of MINOAN ENERGY, Mr. Charalambos Giannopoulos, in his speech, thanked the present representatives of the local authorities, the Board of Directors, the volunteers, the executives of the agencies and the members of the energy community, stating: "thank you not only as the president of the energy community and as the former Mayor of Arkalochori, but also as an ordinary citizen, for the initiative to connect the main building of the Region with the virtual net metering project that we are launching today, thus freeing the Greek taxpayer from the cost of electrifying a public building. I also thank you as a Cretan, who in this way contribute to the development and sustainability of our island".
Mr. Giannopoulos informed the attendees that "the community continues with the implementation of the 2nd energy virtual net metering project, for which there is already huge interest. At the same time, through the implementation of projects with a total power of 5MW for the sale of electricity, citizens will be given the opportunity to secure an additional income from the sun, which we have called a solar salary for the younger ones and a solar pension for the older ones", as he characteristically stated.
For his part, the regional governor Mr. St. Arnautakis expressed his satisfaction for the implementation of this key project, which is an energy and institutional pioneer, while he pointed out once again the necessity of turning to clean forms of energy, in order to reduce energy costs and the environmental footprint.
In the context of the social and solidarity economy, in the long-suffering area of Arkalochori and in the midst of the prevailing adverse conditions, the regional governor announced that the Region is going to cover the energy needs of 50 more families who have been relocated due to the earthquake, bringing the total to 100 families that will benefit.
For the Board of Directors, the members and volunteers of MINOAN ENERGY, it was a pleasant break in a continuation that promises to be very interesting and beneficial for the place and includes, among other things, the development of new PV stations, the implementation of research projects in collaboration with European partners and of course the implementation of the educational program financed by the Region with the aim of informing and raising awareness among students, citizens and organizations about the necessity of protecting the environment and the gentle ways of exploiting the natural wealth of our Crete.