ADB finances 20 MW of solar in Afghanistan with $44.7 million

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to finance a large-scale PV power project in Afghanistan to the tune of US$44.7 million. The loan will be used to finance the construction of a 20 MW grid-connected solar facility in Naghlu, Surobi district, close to the country’s capital Kabul. The solar park, ADB said in a statement, will initially fill the demand-supply gap, and improve sustainability of the northeast grid covering Kabul, Nangarhar, and the Laghman provinces.

The project will also prepare the site and substation for another 10 MW of large-scale PV. The projects, in fact, may be expanded up to 40 MW, “if additional financing from other development partners or the private sector is realized.”

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Energy and Water, and government-owned energy utility Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat will provide support for the project in the form of plant design, technical evaluation, grid integration, and operation and maintenance. The project, on the other hand, will provide power transformer and support facilities, upgrade the capacity of the existing substation, and operation and maintenance services for three years.

“The new on-grid solar power generation project, which is the largest of its kind in Afghanistan, will not only provide access to a clean and reliable power supply, but also demonstrate the viability of future renewable energy investments through public-private partnerships,” said ADB’s Country Director for Afghanistan, Samuel Tumiwa.

In late March, Afghanistan’s High Economic Council approved a plan to deploy 100 MW of renewable energy generation capacity, which included 65 MW of hybrid solar. Afghanistan’s Ministry of Energy and Water aims to install 500 MW of PV plants by 2020. The country’s renewable energy policy is targeting 4 GW to 5 GW of new renewable energy capacity by 2030.