Solar energy is an environmental solution that must be deepened worldwide. Currently, in Costa Rica, there are more than 180,000 panels generating electricity from the sun, spread over more than 2,200 facilities throughout the country.

This type of renewable and clean energy is an environmental solution that should be adopted as a norm around the world and more so now where we face a drastic climate change. Through its zero decarbonization plan, Costa Rica encourages the development of projects that involve the use of clean and renewable energy that does not harm the environment. Also, not continuing to depend on fossil fuels and heading to a green economy and sustainability that is friendly to the environment.

How is solar energy used in Costa Rica?

In Costa Rica, renewable energy has gained prominence in the past five years and is accelerating fast thanks to government and public support, the country’s ideal solar radiation, and increasing private investment. The government passed distributed generation regulations, as well as exoneration of renewable energy components; such as solar panels, inverters and water heating systems, among others.

The most economical and interesting use of solar energy is obtained in swimming pool heating, as compared with heat pumps or gas heaters. The payback time of the investment is between 1.5 – 2 years. Solar heating systems increasingly replace electric tanks or gas heaters for residences, or boilers for hotels and large industries.

For electricity generation, the market offers systems interconnected to the grid, in which the unused solar production is accredited to the client by the utility company and is reflected in the following month energy bill. Increasingly interesting are self-consumption systems using lithium battery technology, with which one can forget about power outages.

The growth of renewable energy production has been one of the defining features of the country as it seeks to improve its energy security and march on towards its goal of carbon neutrality. The country’s progress in tackling climate change is excelling and showing that its ambitious plans are indeed paying dividends. 

Additionally, in the Costa Rican nation, solar energy has been used through the installation of solar panels installed by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute in rural areas. These panels have been installed mainly in indigenous settlements, where it is difficult to carry the conventional wiring system. Similarly, the Costa Rican government has taken advantage of this type of renewable energy in nature reserves where it seeks to bring electricity without damaging the environment.

The solar energy points in Costa Rica are established in these rural sectors: the Osa Peninsula, Caballo Island, Dos Bocas de Aguirre, Punta Burica de Golfito, Talamanca, Chirripó Volcano National Park, Rincón de la Vieja and some checkpoints in the Guanacaste area. And the most far-reaching is Punta Burica with 135 systems installed; each contains a 100-watt panel and a deep cycle battery between 110 to 165 amp-hours. Consumers opted for energy from the sun to lower electricity costs.

Recently in an article Eduardo Kopper, President of Sunshine Energía commented: “Both houses and industries, commerce, agriculture, hospitals, and even public institutions today have already installed photovoltaic solar systems. In about 95% of cases, consumers opted for solar energy to lower the electricity costs they buy from the distributor, while only the remaining 5% have done so for environmental reasons.”

Likewise, Kopper stated: “It is evident we learned that the sun does generate electricity at a lower cost than the one we paid to the traditional distributor. In some cases, the savings have reached up to 95% of the historical electric bill”.

“An excellent effort is made by the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) to update that decree and the deputies for seeking to eliminate the current limitations and promote change for the good of Costa Rica and our country’s competitiveness,” said Kopper.

Without a doubt, Costa Rica continues to be an example to the world in the use of clean energy such as solar energy, and with this, it demonstrates that you can live in harmony with the environment and counteract the effects of climate change with this type of renewable energy.

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