Cuba strides in renewable energy development


With the recent launch of a solar energy farm, Cuba has made strides in the renewable energy development as experts say the island country has the potential to become a renewable-energy powerhouse.


The new solar farm, located in the central city of Santa Clara, 280 kilometers east of the country’s capital, features 5,200 solar panels, which are enough to generate 962 kilowatts of electricity per day.


The electricity generated by the farm can supply 750 homes a day, while saves the nation some 380 tons of oil a year, according to project specialist Sergio Salazar.


The plant came four months after the first plant was inaugurated in the south-central city of Cienfuegos in April, with 14,100 Cuban-made panels. Both of the plants are now connected to the national electric grid.


Ovel Concepcion, an engineer at the state-run Hydropower Company in charge of assembling solar panels, said authorities plan to build six similar farms in a bid to reduce its dependence on costly fossil fuels, most of which come from its political and economic ally Venezuela.


Cuba currently derives 4 percent of its domestic energy consumption from renewable sources, including hydroelectric plants, biofuels and wind farms, but hopes to boost that figure to 10 percent by 2030.


Cuba receives enough solar radiation to generate 1,800 times more energy than that of all the oil consumed by its industry and domestic use, and can harvest five kilowatts per hour per square meter, said Dr. Lius Berriz, president of the Cuban Society for the Promotion of Renewable Energy and Environmental Respect.


A major advantage of solar energy is that it will not subject to economic sanctions imposed by another country, said Berriz, in a reference to the US-led economic embargo that restricts Cuba’s ability to trade with other nations.