Target: Raul Castro, President of Cuba
Goal: Praise the development of Cuba’s first solar farm
Located on land unsuitable for agriculture, Cuba recently established its first solar farm. The complex contains 14,000 photovoltaic (a method of generating electrical power) panels. With this project, the country’s capacity to harvest solar energy will more than double. The farm, known as Cantarrana, is already saving the island around $800 a day; it should pay for itself after a “little more than a decade into its 25-year expected lifespan.”
Cuba began the project (one of seven farms in the works) after four failed attempts to establish deep-water drilling and the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (who exported subsidized oil to the nation). In the early 1990s, the loss of Soviet subsidies sent Cuba into a severe crisis; blackouts in Havana, the capital city, sometimes lasted up to 12 hours. The country is still quite dependent on fossil fuels: experts estimate that Cuba receives about 92,000 barrels of oil per day from Venezuela to meet “about half of its consumption needs.”
After the death of President Chavez, Cuba recognized that it must begin investing in renewable energy. Since the island enjoys direct sunlight for the entire year, developing solar power made sense. The country began by building 9,000 solar panels for small-scale, isolated activities. Now, Cuba’s newest solar farm generates enough electricity to power 780 homes and had saved “the equivalent of 145 tons of fossil fuels, or around 1,060 barrels of crude, through the end of July.”
Ovel Concepcion, a director with the state-run solar energy company, states that “for us this is the future.” Although it may not be the end-all solution for Cuba, it will certainly help to reduce its fossil fuel consumption and benefit the environment. By signing this petition, you are praising Cuba’s development of its first solar farm.
Dear President Castro,
Your nation recently established its first solar farm. As you know, this project more than doubles Cuba’s capacity to harvest solar energy. This is great, since your government hopes to get 10 percent of the country’s electricity from alternative energy sources by 2030.
Currently, just four percent of Cuba’s electricity comes from renewables. Yet, it’s quite clear that your government has decided to make a serious attempt at change. Recently, you mandated a 15-year plan to develop alternative energy including solar, wind, biomass and others. Your country already has a handful of experimental wind farms and some hydroelectric facilities. Since the cost of solar panels has fallen by 80 percent in recent years, it makes sense for Cuba to invest in this technology.
Experts argue that cheap, abundant oil is over; we must begin to utilize alternative technologies. Although it may not be the end-all solution for Cuba, it will certainly help to reduce your nation’s fossil fuel consumption and benefit the environment. I praise your country’s development of its first solar farm.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Thomas R Machnitzki via Wikimedia Commons