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    Solar Energy Gaining Ground in Costa RicaThe Costa Rica News (TCRN) – With the high price of oil and the need to reduce the environmental footprint, Central America has begun to promote solar energy as a cheaper alternative, although its use is limited until.

    Solar energy companies are becoming increasingly common in the region, such as the Miravalles Solar Plant, the first of its kind in Costa Rica and Central America’s largest, with a capacity of 1.2 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year, with the ability to supply about 600 homes.

    The plant, located in the province of Guanacaste, opened a year ago and has an area of 2.7 hectares, 4,300 photovoltaic panels of 235 watts each, and was built with a Japanese grant of $10 million.

    Officials estimate that the operation of this project has achieved a reduction of 1,394 tons of carbon dioxide CO2, since its installation in October 2012.

    Moreover, the Costa Rican Petroleum Refinery (Recope), says it has managed to save $5,000 per month in electricity bills with the use of solar panels on their administration building and other facilities.

    According to Recope, with this technology it is possible to prevent the generation of 150 tons of carbon dioxide a year.

    At company level, the marketing of solar panels in Central America is beginning to gain momentum as a means to save and improve competitiveness, while at the residential level there are some efforts.

    Director of Corporate Communications of the Panasonic company in Latin America, Maria Elena Alvarez, said the company has set priority for the development of solar panels for businesses and homes.

    “People who invest in solar power generation can have a return on investment within six or seven years of using solar panels. This is a positive point to encourage people to use clean energy,” said Alvarez.

    According to Panasonic, Costa Rica, Guatemala and El Salvador are Central America where more technology is used to generate electricity from sunlight.

    The company, whose technology is used in solar plant Miravalles, Costa Rica, estimates that with these solar panels, saving electricity bills for a family could be up to 95%.

    According to the Energy and Environment Partnership with Central America (EEP), which is part of the Central American Integration System (SICA), the region has become a world leader in renewable energy, but especially in hydroelectric generation.

    According to the AEA, Central has the potential to meet 100% of its electricity needs from renewable sources.

    In this region, where 7 million people do not get electricity and about half of the population still cooks with wood, 62% of electricity is produced from renewable sources and the remaining 38% is oil.

    The main renewable energy source is hydroelectric region with about 45% of the total, followed by geothermal approximately 10%, while biomass and wind account for around 8% and solar is just emerging. (EFE)

    The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

    San Jose Costa Rica

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