ADFD-funded $15m solar plant in Cuba gets capacity boost to 15MW

The benefits of scaling the project prompted ADFD to select for the country a second 14.3MW solar PV project

ADFD-funded $15m solar plant in Cuba
ADFD-funded $15m solar plant in Cuba

A grid-connected 10MW solar PV plant that was inaugurated in Cuba in 2019 and financed by Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has recently received a capacity boost to 15MW.

The project currently supplies enough electricity for an estimated 10,000 homes.

The funding is part of ADFD’s commitment of $350m to support renewable energy uptake in developing countries through seven annual selection and funding cycles, from 2013.

Commenting on the milestone, director-general of ADFD, HE Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, said: “With fossil fuels falling out of favour due to their rising costs as well as their harmful environmental impact, countries are increasingly turning to alternative options like renewable energy. Unlocking the untapped natural energy in a sustainable manner is easier than ever, thanks to rapid advancement of technology.”

The project, which falls under the second cycle of the ADFD-International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Facility, helps Cuba to move a step further towards its goal of producing 24% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030, with the scaled-up project helping the country to save 5.9 million litres of fossil fuels annually, while reducing the total annual carbon dioxide emission by 19,000 tonnes.

The upgraded facility not just widens energy access in Cuba, but it also enables the country to significantly save on fuel expenses, provide means of sustainable livelihood to thousands of people, and limit emissions of greenhouse gases.

“The renewable energy hastens socioeconomic development and helps nations to achieve energy security more easily,” HE Al Suwaidi added. “However, some countries face challenges such as a lack of financial backing and inadequate access to technology. Our responsibility in ADFD is to help those countries overcome these challenges. This particular project serves as a model for other island nations in terms of conserving natural wealth, tackling climate change and achieving energy security.”

The solar PV plant has been scaled up with the savings from the concessionary loan of $15m, provided by ADFD under the second cycle of the ADFD-IRENA Project Facility, with the Cuba government financing the remaining share.

The benefits of scaling up the project has prompted ADFD to select for the country a second 14.3MW solar PV project. The plant will have an additional 4MW battery storage capacity. The fund has allocated $20m towards this project under the seventh cycle of the ADFD-IRENA Facility.

ADFD's keenness to promote renewable energy stems from its policy to support international efforts to help developing countries achieve energy priorities, as well as from its commitment to advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals though infrastructure projects in diverse sectors.

The Fund has so far financed 78 renewable energy projects, spread across 62 countries, the total value of which stands at $1.2bn (AED4.4bn).

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