HAVANA TIMES – The OPEC Fund for International Development will grant a loan of 45 million dollars to finance a solar energy project in Cuba, reported dpa news.
The project seeks to increase the generation of electricity and optimize the island’s electrical system by using domestic photovoltaic systems and solar water heaters for industrial and domestic use, state television said.
The Cuban government aims to change its energy matrix, which is currently highly dependent on oil, and by 2030 it plans to reach 24 percent of electricity generation from renewable sources, reaching 2,300 megawatts.
Currently renewable sources contribute only 87.5 megawatts to the National Electric System and it is expected to reach 282 by the end of 2018.
Cuba had previously invested relatively little in renewable energy relying on cheap oil from the Soviet Union until 1991 and later from Venezuela.
Since 2003, Caracas is the main fuel supplier of the island through a bilateral agreement whereby Havana provides professional services in Venezuela, mainly doctors, educators and sports trainers, in exchange for oil at subsidized prices.
The political and economic crisis that oil rich Venezuela is experiencing has meant a reduction in the shipment of fuel to the island, which currently is around 55,000 barrels per day, a figure that is half of what was sent in the best times of the bilateral agreement.
During the last 20 years, the Fund for International Development of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Cuba have signed 13 loan agreements. The main projects financed were in sectors of agriculture, the rehabilitation of electrical networks and of the aqueduct and sewerage systems and renewable energies.