Cuba has been slow to catch on to the clean energy trend, but it’s now giving solar a go. The Communist nation’s leaders know they need new energy options “after four failed attempts to strike it rich with deep-water oil drilling and the death of petro-benefactor Hugo Chavez,” the AP reports.
The country’s first solar power plant opened in the spring, and six more are in the works. More from AP:
The solar farm now generates enough electricity to power 780 homes and had saved the equivalent of 145 tons of fossil fuels, or around 1,060 barrels of crude, through the end of July. Peak capacity is expected to hit 2.6 megawatts when the final panels are in place in September.
That’s just a drop in the energy bucket, of course.
Cuba gets about 92,000 barrels of highly subsidized oil per day from Venezuela to meet about half its consumption needs, according to an estimate by University of Texas energy analyst Jorge Pinon.
But hopes are high that solar can be a big winner in Cuba, which enjoys direct sunlight year-round, allowing for consistent high yields of 5 kilowatt-hours per square meter of terrain.
Cuba currently gets just 4 percent of its electricity from renewables, so there’s a lot of room for improvement.