EIB provides $230 million for renewable energy in Central America

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide $230 million to support investment in renewable energy programs, including photovoltaic, hydropower, wind and geothermal projects across Central America.

The joint program with the Central American Bank for Economic Integration will enable more than $500 million of investment in projects in six Central American countries, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

"Considerable investment is needed to harness the potential of renewable energy and more efficient energy use to reduce carbon emissions and provide energy essential for economic growth,” said Magdalena Álvarez Arza, European Investment Bank vice president responsible for lending in Latin America.

"We have a strong track record of partnership with the Central American Bank for Economic Integration and look forward to continuing this cooperation to benefit investment in the region," she added.

The Central American Bank for Economic Integration is the principal source of multilateral funding in the region and serves as the financial arm of Central American integration.

The new lending scheme will allow support for public and private sector investment in both renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, the EIB said.

The program follows a similar initiative launched in 2011 between the EIB and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration to support hydropower investment in Costa Rica.

Since the start of lending in Latin America the EIB has provided more than €5.7 billion ($7.6 billion) for long-term investment projects, including €1.9 billion ($2.5 billion) in the energy sector.

In related news, Costa Rican beverage company Florida Bebidas has installed a large solar array on the roof of its distribution center in the city of Liberia in the country’s province of Guanacaste.

The project is part of a pilot program by the Costa Rican state-run electricity and telecommunications services company, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE).

While the company did not reveal the plant’s exact power capacity, the installation consists of 68 Kyocera solar modules. Florida Bebidas expects the new photovoltaic array to cover 10% of the power consumed by the distribution center.

The ICE has also installed more than 1,654 solar panels in off-grid projects in rural and indigenous communities, schools, health clinics, ranger stations, community centers and police stations.