The European Investment Bank (EIB) is to invest US$230 million in renewable energy projects in Central America.

The joint project with the Central American Bank for Economic Integration will enable US$500 million of investment in Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama.

“Considerable investment is needed to harness the potential of renewable energy and more efficient energy use to reduce carbon emissions and provide energy essential for economic growth," said Magdalena Álvarez Arza, the EIB’s vice president responsible for lending in Latin America.

“The European Investment Bank is committed to supporting long-term investment in sustainable energy around the world and enabling low-carbon energy investment in Central America. We have a strong track record of partnership with the Central American Bank for Economic Integration and look forward to continuing this cooperation to benefit investment in the region”, she added.

The programme will cover PV, hydropower, wind and geothermal power plants as well as energy efficiency projects.

“We are most pleased with the expansion of our cooperation with the EIB in the framework of our shared goal of promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency investments as drivers of sustainable and balanced growth in our beneficiary member countries," said Nick Rischbieth, executive president, Central American Bank for Economic Integration.

Solar energy is becoming an increasingly popular investment opportunity for development banks.

The North American Development Bank invested in a 20MW plant in California this week. Last month Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Institution Financière de Développment (PROPARCO) channelled US$65 million into solar farms in Chile. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a US$52 million loan for 57MW of solar capacity in Thailand.