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Costa Rican solar equipment

Monday, February 29, 2016

Makers of solar generation equipment should see a growing market in Costa Rica, as local providers of installation and maintenance services seek to increase market share.

Solar energy is now a viable option for thousands of potential users, following a decision last month by the national regulator, which decided that there is no obligation to pay tax to the operators of the national grid, for electrical power produced by a solar generator for his or her own use.

Annual savings for a mid-size business with a monthly consumption of 3 thousand kilowatt hours would be around $7,000, in areas of the country in which conventional electricity is expensive.

Savings will be significant even in areas served by relatively low-cost distributors.

The regulator’s decision creates certainty in a market, which had not known what the cost of solar generation would be.

Distributors had argued that solar generation should be taxed, on the grounds that the cost of electricity to most consumers would go up, as private production takes revenue away from the grid, whose costs – from dams and turbines to hydro towers and transformers – are fixed.

Various operations, from home offices to mid-size businesses, will benefit from the new rules.

Few industrial customers will switch to solar power, since they already pay lower prices than commercial users.

Neither will most households, which tend to consume electricity in the early morning and at night, while solar power generated during the day cannot be stored.

Costa Rica has around 40 companies, which offer solar solutions, most of them members of the Costa Rican Solar Energy Association (Spanish only).