Taken in abstraction, Malta’s use of renewable resources for the generation of electricity is tiny: in 2015, only 5% of energy was harvested through renewable resources. The remaining 95% was either generated by Enemalta in their powerplants or brought from the EU grid through the interconnector.
Malta is bound by the 2009 renewables directive to generate at least 10% of its electricity through renewable means by 2020.
Yet, while the zoomed-out image may leave much to be desired, data from the 2017 NSO Regional report has charted just how much the situation has improved in the past 5 years. Solar panel installations have grown at an exponential scale for instance. The average increase in the number of installations for the past 5 years has been an astounding 328%.
What’s more is the fact that PV installations have appeared all over the islands with a relatively even distribution. The map below splits the Maltese islands into 250 meter squared grids, and shows the number of installations in each of that grid.
When layering the previous image into a satellite image of the islands, it becomes apparent that most of the gaps in installation are open fields.
As expected, the exponential rise in installations has also led to a similar rise in the amount of electricity generated. The graph below shows the estimated output in megawatt hours of all PV cells connected to the electrical grid.
In 2015, just shy of 100,000 megawatt hours were harvested from the sun alone. It’s likely that 2016 saw Malta harvesting over 100,000 megawatt hours of energy, a remarkable milestone in the nation’s path to a more sustainable source of energy.
The overwhelming majority of renewable energy currently generated in the Maltese islands is solar. Previously the government had planned to generate a substantial amount of its renewable energy through an offshore wind farm, but this has been abandoned in favour of solar energy.
In case you’re wondering, here’s an estimate of how much time we have before we run out of fossil fuels: