Cuba is an Energy Rich Country
Any average day the Sun pours on Cuba 323 million barrels of crude oil, worth 9.7 billion USD at current prices. Put into perspective this is three times the annual energy consumption of the whole country (103 million barrels of oil equivalent). 14% of Cuba’s land area is covered by urban spaces, assuming 30% of this land area were roofs covered with photovoltaic panels with a 12% efficiency, Cuba could collect from its rooftops, in 63 days, its annual energy consumption.
At the current levels of consumption, if were to power with solar electricity all of Cuba’s energy demand including transport and industry, it would require the installation of 97.3 km2 of PV panels. This would imply instaling 17 GW of solar power for an investment in the order of 34 billion USD. What seems dantesque, would be no more than financing the installation of a 15,000 USD, 32m2 solar array, for every cuban home. At a price of 0.1 USD/kWh such an investment could be recovered in less than three years. In a 50% income sharing scheme this would generate a 360% return on investment over 20 years and 2700 USD of annual income for every participating Cuban family. Technological barriers like energy storage solutions or electrifying the transport matrix due exist. This also illustrates the potential of PV power to drive development in Cuba and in other tropical locations.
Primary school in the rural community San Narciso, Cienfuegos. The United Nations Program for Development and the Global Environment contributed to the electrification through photovoltaic panels through the Small Grants Program.