CUBA SOLAR’s 10th International Conference is coming up, and you are invited to attend as part of a research delegation heading to Cuba this spring.

The folks behind this delegation: Eco Cuba Exchange and Solar Energy International  invite renewable energy professionals and active lay enthusiasts to participate in this exciting April 2012 delegation and conference. This is your chance to see Cuba’s remarkable achievements for yourself!

Eco Cuba Exchange is a program designed to promote environmental interchange between U.S. and Cuban environmentalists. Solar Energy International is a US non-profit organization whose mission is to help others use renewable energy and environmental building technologies through education.

About CUBA SOLAR: CUBA SOLAR is Cuba’s award-winning NGO promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency in Cuba. The organization was founded in the early 1990’s to solve the “peak oil” crisis that ensued when Cuba lost its preferred trading relationship with the countries of the former Soviet bloc.

How this all began: Global Exchange organized the very first Cuba tour focused on energy issues back in 1996. Laurie Stone of Solar Energy International in Colorado was one of the participants.  Our two organizations have partnered ever since to organize Renewable Energy Cuba tours and Laurie has become the foremost U.S. engineer researching and writing about Cuba’s progress.

2006 was the “Year of the Energy Revolution” in Cuba when the country replaced the majority of Cuba’s ancient refrigerators and other energy-guzzling appliances with new energy efficient ones from China, exchanged all incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescents, and sent a small army of trained social workers into every community to educate the public on energy efficiency.

In the preceding ten years, the Cuban NGO Cuba Solar had also installed thousands of solar panels on the roofs of family doctor clinics and schools in remote rural areas that were off the electricity grid. They also converted sugar mills and other factories to run on biofuels such as animal manure and bagasse and established rural vocational-technical schools to train workers on how to maintain these refurbished facilities.

About this upcoming delegation: This year’s research delegation is happening April 19 – 29. This is your chance to see for yourselves Cuba’s remarkable achievements to date in this crucial field. Participants will visit installations in Havana, Pinar del Rio and Santiago de Cuba, as well as participate in Cuba Solar’s Tenth International Conference in the Sierra Maestra.

An agripark in Cuba, Dec 2011

Here’s more about what participants (you?) will do on this exciting research delegation:

  • Visit renewable energy installations in urban and rural settings
  • Learn about Cuba’s energy efficiency program
  • Hear from the policy makers and practitioners who make it happen
  • Meet renewable energy engineers from all over Cuba and the world
  • Enjoy the vibrant cultural scene in Havana and Santiago de Cuba!

Learn more about renewable energy and energy efficiency in Cuba: For articles and videos on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in Cuba, including some by Laurie Stone, visit our website.

As Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow at the Post-Carbon Institute, has said:

We need an example of what to do when the effects of Peak Oil really hit internationally. Cuba provides us with that. Cuba has already undergone an energy famine.

CUBA SOLAR Conference and Research Tour: April 23 – 27, 2012 in Santiago de Cuba

  • Find out more about CUBA SOLAR Conference and Research Tour here.
  • Sign up to go on the CUBA SOLAR Conference and Research Tour here.
  • Questions? Contact or call 510-649-1052.
Trip with Jeff Greenwald and Ethical Traveler

Sustainable Cuba Delegation, June 2011

A new revolution is sweeping the island of Cuba. One that the world needs to take notice of if we are to seriously confront climate change. In the past three years, this small island of 11 million people has successfully embarked on an Energy Revolution unparalleled in the world.

In fact, in its 2006 Living Planet report, the World Wildlife Fund declared Cuba the only country in the world to achieve sustainable development due to their high development level and low ecological footprint. 

Interested in traveling to Cuba for New Year’s?

If you are considering traveling to Cuba, our annual  “Sustainable Cuba New Years Delegation” might be just for you.

City Panoramic of Havana

On this annual New Year’s delegation we examine environmental and human aspects of Sustainable Development via four different areas: Architecture and Urban Planning, Health Care and Alternative Healing, Public Education and Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development. You choose your area of preference.

Here are some basic facts about these Cuba Reality Tours:

  • Choose Your Interest: Trip participants will be broken into four groups (depending on what area they work in) and will visit different places at different times but specific to the area they work in.  This means that in each of the subgroups there will be 10-20 delegates.
  • The More the Merrier! The delegation for the New Year’s group is typically larger than our normal group size of 10-18, it is upwards of 50-100 people.
  • Optional Excursions: Each of the groups have optional day excursions outside of Havana planned during the recognized holidays of January 1st and 2nd with many activities for you to enjoy. This is an opportunity for an examination of rural development and provincial realities.
  • New Years Paaaaarty! There is also a huge New Year’s party we throw for our Cuban friends (about a hundred of whom participate) and trip participants. Dinner and dancing the night away – it’s SO very fun!

How to qualify:

  • If you are currently employed full time in one of the areas covered by the trip, then you would qualify under the “general” license of the US Treasury Department’s office of Foreign Assets Control, OFAC.  
  • If not, you have the option to travel legally on a special license for an additional administrative charge and will  have to write up a summary of your experience.

What Makes Special License So Special: The special license is not something that can be used on all of our delegations which makes this trip unique. It is also one of the only trips where families, students and retirees can all participate.  With each of these 4 programs  occurring simultaneously there is ample opportunity for you to learn, engage in research, explore Cuba and personally contribute to over 23 years of building “People to People Ties”.

On behalf of Reality Tours and our extended Global Exchange familia in Cuba,  I hope this helps give you a better idea about the delegation and how you might qualify. For more info about our upcoming Cuba New Year’s trips, visit our website.