The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) have awarded $57m in concessional loans to fund for five renewable energy projects in developing countries.

The loan represents the second of seven funding cycles, which together will commit $350m over seven years to develop renewable energy in developing countries, with a total project value estimated at $800m.

The projects to be financed in the second cycle have a combined total capacity of 35MW, aimed at meeting reliable and sustainable power needs of more than 280,000 people in rural communities in Argentina, Cuba, Iran, Mauritania and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

IRENA director-general Adnan Amin: "Renewable energy offers the prospect of clean, affordable power to the 1.3 billion people currently off the electricity grid.

"While renewable energy resources are abundant in many communities suffering from energy poverty, finance is still a key challenge for deployment. That is why the partnership between IRENA and ADFD is so important as a pioneering effort."

The projects approved for funding in the second loan cycle comprise solar, hydro, hybrid (wind and solar) and geothermal energy.

ADFD operations department director Adel Abdulla Al Hosani said: "Towards this priority, we are keen to support the economic development and deployment of sustainable energy projects in countries with immense clean energy potential, but lacking necessary financial resources and project management expertise."