14ymedio, Havana, 29 November 2019 — On the eve of the climate summit, which begins next Monday in Spain, the Cuban government has announced a small step in favor of the almost non-existent renewable energies, allowing the sale by private producers of electricity generated from this type of source.
Decree Law 345, published this Thursday, does not modify the state monopoly of the Electric Union (UNE), which will be the only one authorized to buy, distribute and commercialize energy of private origin.
“The Ministry of Energy and Mines promotes the production of energy by consumers, which includes the residential sector, based on the use of technologies that take advantage of renewable energy sources for self-supply and the sale of surpluses to the National Electric System National,” specifies the new legislation.
The new rules apply to state-owned companies and individuals, with an emphasis on solar photovoltaic systems in tourist facilities. The decree describes as “strategic objective […] the production of equipment, media and spare parts for the development of renewable energy sources”.
In view of the drastic reduction in Venezuelan oil deliveries, companies will be required to include in their investment plans the installation of renewable energy sources. To comply with this requirement, equipment may be purchased through bank credits.
However, the new legislation has not come accompanied by flexibilizations of the General Customs of the Republic (AGR) for the importation by the private sector of equipment to produce clean energy, as is the case with photovoltaic panels.
Recently, Raiza Martínez Elizondo, head of the Normative Group of the Customs Technical Directorate, reiterated to the travelers’ questions that solar panels can be imported into the country as objects analogous to power generating plants. Only one panel can be entered at a time and paying the same taxes that apply to equipment that uses hydrocarbons.
Thanks to the strong solar radiation practically all year round, solar panels are a promising alternative to reduce the frequent power cuts suffered by many communities in the country.
In 2017, the authorities announced that they planned to produce solar panels for private homes in the Electronic Components Company of Pinar del Río, but they have not yet gone on the market.
Currently, photovoltaic solar energy produces only 96 MW in Cuba. The British company Hive Energy is building a solar park, the first of its kind, in the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM). The objective of the Cuban Solar Plan is to reach 700 MW by 2030.
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