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  • Solar panel shown in a Cuban field

    Solar panel shown in a Cuban field | Photo: Reuters

Cuba's solar plants have so far been a success, with more planned for the future.

Cuba is embracing renewable and affordable energy as a new solar panel park is saving the country over half a million dollars in fossil fuel spending in its first year, at practically no cost.

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The Pinar 220 A1 solar park near Pinar del Rio in western Cuba uses 12,080 solar panels to capture the country’s plentiful supply of sun and convert it into affordable, renewable energy while lessening reliance on fossil fuels.

In its first year of operation, Pinar 220 A1 was estimated to have fed almost 6 gigawatts of electricity to Cuba’s national electricity grid and generates an average of 13 megawatts per day.

It would have cost over half a million dollar to generate the same amount of electricity in a thermoelectric plant, according to the director of investments in the electric company in charge of the plants, Michel Casal.

"So far the facility has been operating continuously and with a minimum level of maintenance work," Casel told Cuban newspaper Granma.

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The positive results of the park have led to more and more being built around the country, with 28 areas within the Pinar del Rio province identified as sites where more solar parks can be built. In total, the parks will cover 179 hectares of land and will generate 105.9 megawatts.

Construction will begin on two more parks this year with 4 and 2.2. megawatt capacity. Another closeby park in Tronsco is currently in construction and will provide 2.7 megawatts to the the electricity grid.

Casel says the parks will considerably cut down the province's C02 emission, save money, and provide "almost 70 percent of the province's energy needs with solar panels."

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