Published on 11 February 2016 by Granma

solar panels

A new solar farm under construction in the municipality of Palmira, Cienfuegos, is now 70% complete. The uninterrupted efforts from Monday through Saturday are conducted by the Works of Architecture Enterprise (ECOA-37).

Financed by the Renewable Energy Sources Investment Company (EDIFRE), the farm will have a total of 14,400 solar panels with a generating capacity of 3.6 megawatts (MW) during the hours of highest solar radiation.

The solar farm, at a cost of more than 10 million pesos, will have the largest generating capacity of those installed here thus far, in the municipalities of Cantarrana and Cruces. In total, these three solar farms will provide 8.2 MW to the National Electric System (SEN).

Plans are to reach 50 MW of solar power in this province by 2030, with the construction of two further solar farms in the municipalities of Aguada de Pasajeros and Rodas, as part of the firm commitment to renewable energy in this territory.

Meanwhile, the Cuban electric company in Pinar del Río will begin construction on a second photovoltaic power station, or solar farm, this year.

With a generating capacity of 2.2 MWp (megawatt peak), the facility will be located in El Cafetal, in the municipality of San Luis.

According to Michel Casal, director of investments at the company, the works will extend across an area of four hectares and will provide energy directly to the National Electric Systema (SEN).

Casal explained that the location was chosen after a series of studies were undertaken, due to its proximity to the El Cafetal electrical substation, which will help prevent transmission losses.

The official noted that it currently costs the country more than 100 CUC (Cuban convertible pesos) to generate one MW of power using fossil fuels. Therefore, in addition to the positive environmental impact, the new solar farm will have a significant economic effect, as 2.2 MW of power will be generated for every hour of sun.

“This means the return on investment is very fast,” Casal said, adding that the first photovoltaic power station in Vueltabajo, in the municipality of Pinar del Río, which began operations about a year ago, has already generated over three gigawatts of energy, reducing carbon emissions by approximately 1,000 tons.

Given these results, the official stressed the intention to establish similar facilities in all the municipalities of Pinar del Río, as part of a strategy to diversify the country's energy system.