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Cuba aims to bring on-site solar to off-grid households

Cuba is reportedly taking steps to boost its production of rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels as part of a rural electrification drive. à‚ 

The Caribbean nation is now importing raw materials from China for its sole PV panel manufacturing plant, the Ernesto Che Guevara Electronic Components factory in the western province of Pinar del Rio, according to a report from China’s Xinhua news service.

The Guevara factory produces around 60,000 5-W PV panels per year, but needs to increase its capacity to meet Cuba’s target of generating 24 per cent of its power from renewables by 2030, much of which is planned to come from over 700 MW in solar PV installations. à‚ 

The government also aims to bring electricity to around 20,000 off-grid households through on-site solar systems. The Guevara factory is set to make the PV panels for the on-site solar drive, and is expected to be producing enough panels by early next year according to Xinhua.

In addition, the plant is set to receive $10m in government funding over the next three years to boost production of its 5 W panels as well as new 1 kW panels for the domestic market.

In September 2016, Ramsés Montes Calzadilla, director of electricity policy and planning at the Ministry of Energy and Mining, said Cuba’s on-site power system owners may soon be able to sell their excess power to the national grid, although no timetable was given. à‚