British solar firm Hive has won a contract to deliver Cuba’s first utility-scale solar farm.

The 50 MW project will play a key role in enhancing the Caribbean island’s energy security and will start operating in 2018, Hive said.

Hive was awarded the contract by the Union Electrica de Cuba (UNE), and will build the solar farm in the Mariel Free zone, a huge new port that will act as a regional hub for the island.

After five decades of isolation and a US embargo, Cuba’s power infrastructure is ageing and costly to run. The island is also dependent on foreign oil imports and has made a pledge to build a portfolio of wind, solar and biomass power plants and update its infrastructure.

Cuba plans to spend $3.5 billion in the coming years to increase its supply of renewable energy. In 2015 only 4 per cent of Cuba’s electricity came from renewable sources but by 2020 the island plans to deliver over 20 per cent utilisation of renewable energy.