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Masdar opens solar energy plant in the Caribbean

Masdar's hurricane-resistant solar power plant on the island of Barbuda Masdar
Masdar's hurricane-resistant solar power plant on the island of Barbuda

A hurricane-resistant solar power project developed by Abu Dhabi’s clean energy company Masdar for Antigua and Barbuda is now operational.

Situated on Barbuda, the plant is designed to survive 265 km-per-hour winds and provide a safe and sustainable supply of electrical power for the island.

The Green Barbuda project is part of the $50 million UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund (UAE-CREF), which was launched in Abu Dhabi seven years ago.

The project was developed in the wake of Hurricane Irma, which destroyed 95 percent of Barbuda on September 6, 2017. All 1,800 residents were evacuated to neighbouring Antigua.

UAE-CREF is the largest renewable energy investment of its type in the region, and is a partnership between the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Masdar, New Zealand, Antigua and Barbuda and the CARICOM Development Fund.

The Barbuda project combines a hybrid solar photovoltaic (PV) plant features 720 kilowatts-peak (kWp) of solar PV panels, connected to an 863 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery, which is capable of supplying all the island’s daytime energy needs.

It will support the Caribbean twin-island nation’s aim of producing 86 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030.

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, said the Green Barbuda project was the first of several to come and he “looked forward to supporting other nations across the region”.

The UAE-CREF initiative intends to deploy renewable energy projects in 16 Caribbean countries in three cycles.

Projects have already been launched in the Bahamas, Barbados and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Established in 2006, Masdar is active in more than 40 countries and has over 20GW of capacity including operational, under construction or advanced development projects in its worldwide portfolio.

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