A popular holiday destination, the population of Tilos swells from around 400 during the winter to approximately 3000 in the summer. Its current electricity supply is partially supplied by an undersea cable which runs 90 kilometres from Tilos to the neighbouring Greek island of Kos.
In summer, the temperatures in Tilos frequently average above 32 degrees Celsius. When combined with the population increase, these conditions often render the island’s existing energy supply largely useless – the summer months are frequently plagued by power outages, and local businesses such as hotels and restaurants are forced to turn to diesel-powered generators for power as way of sustaining the local economy.
By 2020, the EU is seeking to have its member states sourcing 20 per cent of their energy from renewables and as part of this initiative, it is providing Tilos with $14.4m of the $18m it needs to install its renewable energy system as way of avoiding power outages and overhauling the island’s grid. The money is coming from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
The project is being coordinated by the Technological Education Institute of Piraeus with the participation Greek energy company EUNICE, the manager of the electricity network HEDNO and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Greece. It also involves 13 partners from seven EU countries.
Solar energy development company Sun Investment Group believes that the Greek island will set an example for avoiding power blackouts across Europe, especially as the price of lithium-ion battery packs has been in decline in recent years – between 2014-2016, the price of these packs dropped from $400/kWh to below $190/kWh.
As experts predict the price will fall below $100/kWh by 2025, Sun Investment Group’s chief business development officer Andrius Terskovas believes solar power will become a widespread way of avoiding future power blackouts across Europe in the future.
“The decreasing prices of lithium-ion batteries used to solar power farms will surely lead to the further adoption of solar energy as a way of avoiding power outages across Europe,” said Andrius Terskovas.
“The batteries store energy produced on sunny days, which can then be deployed for use during times of power outages or heavy demand such or in the case of Tilos – tourist season.”