Cuba's First Solar Power Plant Starts Operating

News from Cuba | Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Cuba’s first solar power plant is in operation, helping the island reduce its reliance on imported oil, state media reported Sunday.

The new power plant, which has 14,100 panels built in Cuba, will allow the Caribbean country to double its solar energy production capacity.

“For us, (this facility) is the future,” Hidroenergia official Ovel Concepcion said.

Hidroenergia is the state-owned company that built the solar power plant in Cantarrana, a city in Cienfuegos province located about 300 kilometers (186 miles) from Havana, the official Cubadebate Web site reported.

Cuba has the advantage of receiving lots of direct sunlight, with each square meter of sunlight providing 5 KW per hour of energy per day, Concepcion said.

The power plant began operating in April, but state media did not officially report on its launch until Sunday.

The solar power plant helped Cuba save 145 tons of fossil fuels between April and July, generating enough electricity to meet the daily needs of 780 homes and keeping 380 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere.

Six other solar power plants are expected to start operating in coming months in Havana, Guantanamo, Camaguey, Santiago de Cuba, Villa Clara and Isle of Youth provinces.

Cuba gets 4 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, such as hydroelectric, biomass and wind power.

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