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Asian Development Bank

100 Climate Actions from Cities in Asia and the Pacific


The first utility-scale solar plant has been built just outside Afghanistan’s second largest city. The 15 megawatt (MW) plant is the first of many as the country moves towards the 40% renewable target it has set itself by 2032.

Twenty five kilometers southwest from Kandahar is Afghanistan’s first and currently largest solar power plant — a 15 MW array with over 55,000 photovoltaic panels. It provides an estimated 27.5 GWh of electricity annually that is fed into the national grid that is estimated to reduce carbon emissions by over 8,500 tCO₂e annually. 



As a nation, Afghanistan is largely reliant on imported energy, with 80% of the power and 97% of fuel coming from outside its borders. In terms of the energy mix, over half comes from hydropower, and the rest is split between diesel or heavy fuel-powered plants. Before this project, just 3 MW (1%) was coming from solar power, despite the vast capacity the country holds. Renewable energy potential in the country is estimated to exceed 300,000 MW, around six times the level of currently installed generation capacity.

ADB signed a loan with a special purpose vehicle and subsidiaries owned by the 77 Construction, Contracting, and Trading Group (77 Group) and also administered a $3.85 million loan from the Canadian Climate Fund for Private Sector in Asia II (CFPS II) for the project.

This project is the first of several that will contribute towards the government’s target of boosting renewables to a 40% share of the national energy mix by 2032 (photo by 77 Afghanistan).

The Challenge

As a rapidly industrializing area and second largest city in Afghanistan, Kandahar is conducive for the development of essential electricity infrastructure for renewable energy, which can contribute to reducing the country’s heavy reliance on imported energy.


Economic The solar plant is on the periphery of a rapidly industrializing area close to the airport, where the manufacturing sector will benefit from additional electricity supply.

Social Construction and operation of the Kandahar solar plant has generated employment opportunities for the local community.