More sun-power for Cuba

Charly Morales Valido, on: Environment
More sun-power for Cuba

Cuban economy needs the sun, not precisely for tanning tourists on the beaches, but to get solar energy. The use of this renewable energy source is already generating over 2,100 megawatt/hours (mW/h) in the eastern province of Camagüey, for example.

Since the implementation of the two photovoltaic parks built in Guaimaro municipality and in Camaguey city, back in 2013, the territory cut the release of more than 2,280 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and saved about 2,600 tons of oil.

These operations favor the Cuban economy, which aims to achieve 24 percent of its generation through energy source by 2030. To contribute to this commitment, Camagüey should change its energy matrix up to 26 percent of clean energies for that decade, a figure that at the moment seems distant, as it is below to what has been stated, the specialist said.

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Authorities start this year the building of a new eight-hectare park, in front of the Raw Materials Recovery Company, outside the old Puerto Principe village, to generate 4.4 mW/h when it is synchronized to the National Electric Power System.

Back in the national goal, the island would need capital investments of about 3.5 billion US$, nothing easy to get since Cuba is not a member of international finance institutions, so, it will be tough to get a credit. Besides knowing that money won’t drop from the sky, Cuba still bets for renewable energy.

There are reasons to be optimistic, for example, Cuba is blessed with abundant sunshine, a windy coast and diverse biological sources. The average solar irradiance here is 223.8 W/m2 (5.4 kWh/m2/day), and the average wind speed is about 5.7 m/s.  

Today, 83 percent of Cuba’s renewable energy comes from bioenergy, driven mainly by the sugarcane industry. That figure has been declining as this industry has weakened; but still Cuba has bagasse availability and a deep understanding of the industry. Besides, Cuba’s growing reliance on tourism demands cleaner and more-stable power sources, mainly ‘coz vintage cars are also strong polluters.      

 



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