The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to issue a loan of $4m to energy company Barakat Kandahar Solar Energy to develop solar energy projects in Afghanistan. Based in the Philippines, the bank specialises in loans to promote economic development in Asia and the Pacific.

Barakat Kandahar Solar Energy is a subsidiary of the 77 Group, an international civil works scheme based in Turkey that will help build the plant.

The loan will help to establish the Kandahar solar power project, a 15.1MW solar plant that will generate 27.5GWh of electricity and avoid 8,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

Kandahar solar power project is part of the Afghanistan government’s goal of producing 5GW of solar power by 2032, around 40% of the country’s total energy generation. It has been estimated that Afghanistan has the potential to generate 22GW of solar power, but it currently forms just 1% of the country’s energy supply.

ADB senior public-private partnership specialist Mohammed Hashimi said: “Having a stable, sustainable, and reliable energy source is important for the growth and development prospects of Afghanistan, where power generation and access is one of the lowest in the world.

“ADB’s support for this important project will help provide long-term financing that is not available locally to build and operate a state-of-the-art solar power plant in Afghanistan.”

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The bank has made several loans and grants to projects in Afghanistan in recent years. In November 2017 it provided nearly $45m for a 20MW solar plant in Kabul and $1.2bn in December 2015 for energy supply for power efficiency all over the country.