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ADB supports first solar power plant in Afghanistan

Staff Writer |
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $44.76 million grant to develop Afghanistan’s first 20 megawatts (MW) on-grid solar photovoltaic plant and boost the country’s renewable energy generation and supply.

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Afghanistan’s renewable energy resource potential is estimated to be over 300,000 MW, with over two-thirds of potential supply coming from solar, with the country benefitting from about 300 sunny days annually.

The project will finance the construction of a 20 MW on-grid solar photovoltaic plant in Naghlu, located in the capital Kabul’s Surobi district. The project will generate at least 43,000 megawatt-hours of solar power and avoid at least 13,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in the first full year of operation.

The project will partially fill the demand-supply gap and improve sustainability of the northeast grid covering Kabul, Nangarhar, and Laghman provinces. In addition, the project will provide power transformer and support facilities, upgrade the capacity of the existing substation, and operation and maintenance services for 3 years. The project will also prepare the site and substation to accommodate 10 MW of additional photovoltaic plant for future financing. The project may be expanded to 30 MW or 40 MW if additional financing from other development partners or the private sector is realized.

Capacity building support will be also provided for the Ministry of Energy and Water, and government-owned energy utility Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat staff on solar photovoltaic plant design, technical evaluation, grid integration, and operation and maintenance.

The project is in line with the targets of the National Energy Supply Program of the Government of Afghanistan and the Afghanistan Renewable Energy Policy.

ADB is Afghanistan’s largest on-budget development partner in the energy sector. ADB has helped deliver electricity to more than 5 million people in Afghanistan.

Over the coming years, ADB will support the increase in the country’s electrification rate from 30% to 83% and lift the share of domestic generation from 20% to 67% by 2030. ADB will also play a major role in power transmission both regionally and domestically, and promote clean energy, including through solar power.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration.

Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.


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