The ADB-financed 20 MW PV plant is expected to help Afghanistan to reduce its heavy reliance on energy imports from neighboring countries. ADB aims to help the Asian country increase its electrification rate from 30% to 83%, along with offering support for solar energy (Photo Credit: Asian Development Bank)
- Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a grant of $44.76 million to support the development of a 20 MW solar power project in Afghanistan
- Plant location is in Surobi district of Kabul and will support northeast grid that supplies power to Kabul, Nangarhar and Laghman
- Grant will be used to provide power transformer and support facilities, upgrade the capacity of the existing substation, and operation and maintenance services for the next 3 years
- The project will also accommodate additional 10 MW PV plant for future financing; depending financial support from other quarters, its capacity may be expanded to 30 or 40 MW
- ADB project will also extend capacity building support to staff of Ministry of Energy and Water and the utility Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat
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A 20 MW on-grid solar PV plant planned to come up in Afghanistan has secured a $44.76 million grant from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). This is the first solar power plant that the international agency is supporting to boost renewable energy in the Asian country. It is expected to generate at least 43,000 MWh of clean energy.
ADB’s grant will be used to finance construction of the plant in Naghlu, which is located in the Surobi district of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul. The system is designed to cater to the energy needs of the northeastern grid that provides electricity to Kabul, Nangarhar and Laghman provinces. It will partially fill the demand-supply gap and improve sustainability of the grid. The project will also provide power transformer and support facilities, upgrade the capacity of the existing substation, and operation and maintenance services for the next 3 years.
ADB also announced that the project will prepare the site to accommodate 10 MW of additional PV capacity for future financing. It may be expanded to 30 or 40 MW if it is able to attract additional financing from other development partners or the private sector.
The Ministry of Energy and Water and state-owned utility Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat staff will also receive support on plant design, technical evaluation, grid integration, and operation and maintenance.
“The demand for power is rapidly growing across Afghanistan and economic development and income opportunities depend on sufficient energy supplies,” said Samuel Tumiwa, ADB country director for Afghanistan. “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.”
Relying heavily on energy imports from neighboring countries, only 32% of Afghanistan’s population has access to grid-connected electricity. Solar is estimated to provide two-thirds of renewable energy supply whose potential is estimated to be over 300 GW.
In the future, ADB has committed to help Afghanistan in increasing its electrification rate from 30% to 83% and lift the share of domestic generation from 20% to 67% by 2030. It will also promote clean energy, including solar power.
In September 2017, National Procurement Authority (NPA) of Afghanistan issued three hybrid on-grid solar power plant tenders with a cumulative capacity of 55.5 MW (see Afghanistan Issues Three PV Hybrid Tenders).