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Solar power in Afghanistan to get $44.76 million boost

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $44.76 million grant to finance the construction of a 20-megawatt (MW) on-grid solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in Afghanistan.

In an announcement, the ADB said the new facility would boost renewable energy generation and supply in the country, producing at least 43,000 megawatt hours of solar power. Photovoltaic refers to a way of directly converting light from the sun into electricity.

The plant will be located in Naghlu in the Surobi district of Kabul.

"The demand for power is rapidly growing across Afghanistan and economic development and income opportunities depend on sufficient energy supplies," Samuel Tumiwa, the ADB's country director for Afghanistan, said in a statement.

"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," Tumiwa added.

The ADB said that Afghanistan's "renewable energy resource potential" was estimated to be more than 300,000 MW, with more than two-thirds of that potential supply coming from solar.

New solar PV capacity increased by 50 percent in 2016, according to the International Energy Agency, with additions of solar PV rising faster than any other fuel.