Corfu sunshine goes on sale
Dave Sewel: April 2013
Corfu holiday sunshine goes on sale.
Regular visitors to the Corfu holiday resort of Pelekas may well have noticed just how 'green' the surrounding hills have become in recent years. This is not a reference to the leafy green trees and shrubs that carpet the Corfu hillsides but the hundreds of solar panel that have sprung up.
Most of the solar panels can be seen in the Ropa Valley, quite close to the Corfu holiday resort, where the south-facing hillsides are covered in hundreds of solar panel cells.
This growth in green energy is being spearheaded by new Greek laws which not only offers generous state subsidies towards erecting for the solar photovoltaic units but also buys the power they produce at a very attractive rate.
There was a bit of a hiccup when purchase rates were cut recently as part of the national austerity package but owners of solar farms are still getting a decent euro return on the investment.
Of course, the Greek Islands are soaked in sunshine for much of the year so it makes good sense to turn the sun's rays into valuable energy.
Clean, renewable energy is clearly a great benefit but the downside is that in Pelekas, as in other Greek Islands, several hundred olive trees were hacked down to make way for the energy panels.
Owners say the olive trees were old and uneconomic but the damage done to the beautiful Corfu landscape has been considerable. It is, after all, the lovely scenery that attracts thousands of holiday visitors to Corfu year after year and tourism is just a big a business as solar farms.
Difficult decisions will have to be made over the next few years if the Greek Islands are to prosper in the economic crisis and innovative ideas such a solar panels are to be welcome.
But islands like Corfu must take care that, in the drive for profit, they don't lose their unique appeal to the holidaymakers that choose a Greek Island holiday above all others.