The fuel content of the solar radiation Cuba receives in a day is greater than the amount of oil consumed by the country in five years, according to studies conducted by the government to make the best use of renewable energy sources.

The fuel content of the solar radiation Cuba receives in a day is greater than the amount of oil consumed by the country in five years, according to studies conducted by the government to make the best use of renewable energy sources.Cuba is considered to be one of the countries in the world with the highest levels of solar irradiance, with an estimated potential of almost five kilowatts-hour per square meter per day.

Luis Bérriz, president of Cubasolar (Cuban Society for the Promotion of Renewable Energy Sources and Respect for the Environment) said that this is just one example of the country’s potential, amid plans to replace approximately 50 percent of its dependence on fossil fuel imports with clean energy sources, as part of its sustainable development efforts.

According to the expert, by 2030 the use of renewable energy sources may well supply about 30 percent of the country’s total energy consumption, including demand on the national grid.

In June 2014, Cuban authorities approved a plan to add 2144 megawatts of generating power through the installation of 13 wind farms, new photovoltaic solar farms and 74 small hydroelectric plants.

The project also aims to make better use of solar thermal energy, biomass from forests, urban solid and organic wastes produced by the industrial and agricultural sectors.

As many as 14 photovoltaic solar farms are currently operating in the provinces of Havana, Villa Clara, Cienfuegos, Camagüey, Santiago de Cuba, Guantánamo and the special municipality of Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth), according to the National Electricity Company.

The ongoing investment program includes the construction of what will be Cuba’s largest wind farm, in the Jesús Menéndez municipality of Las Tunas province.

Named Herradura 1 and an estimated overall cost of 174 million Cuban pesos, the wind park will have 34 wind turbines with a capacity to generate 1.5 megawatts, raising to a total of 51 megawatts, explained Adela Álvarez, the head of the project.

The work is expected to be completed by the end of 2017 or the beginning of 2018, according to EDIFRE (company developing investment projects for renewable power sources).

Electrical engineer Miguel Casí said that less than one kilometer from this wind park the Herradura 2 wind farm will be built, comprising 20 wind turbines with greater capacity.

Meanwhile, the photovoltaic park of Palmira, in the central Cuban province of Cienfuegos, is in full construction phase and will have 14, 400 solar panels, experts with EDIFRE informed.

With 525 solar panels, the construction of the first photovoltaic solar farm in Sancti Spíritus province continues as planned.

As part of efforts to encourage the use of renewable power sources, Cuba encourages foreign companies to take part in investment processes, in line with the portfolio of business opportunities launched by the Foreign Trade and Investment Ministry.

In February 2016, for example, the country signed a contract with China for obtaining 100 megawatts from photovoltaic solar parks, the Cuban Foreign Affairs Ministry informed in its website.

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