Solar Power Generation
The analysis warns of a lag in Costa Rica regarding the contribution of solar energy since, while in Costa Rica it is 0.34%, in Germany it is around 6.2%, in Italy 7.2%, in Guatemala 1.8 %, in the USA UU 1.4% and in Honduras 10%.
Distributed generation for self-consumption is regulated by Decree 39.220 and allows users of the electricity distribution network to integrate photovoltaic solar installations into their properties.
According to data provided by the Ministry of Environment and Energy, most of these solar installations are located in the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM), mainly in the service area of the Compania Nacional de Fuerza y Luz in San José, where it is concentrated 35% of the total installed panels.
The study adds that there are 75 active companies based in Costa Rica that are dedicated to the design and installation of photovoltaic and thermal solar systems, which provide direct employment to 1,300 people.
The analysis of Aceslar confirms the lag in a generation with this clean source even though Costa Rica has conditions to use the Sun as a great ally to ensure the electricity of the future.
The use of this energy source would make it possible to respond more flexibly and quickly to needs, than through the construction of hydroelectric plants.
Also, due to the stability of the country’s distribution network and high flexibility – controlling water plants – the electrical system is well equipped to absorb large amounts of solar electricity generation and also wind (wind power), without compromising its operational safety.
These are the conclusions of a study by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which analyzed the conditions of the electricity system by simulating possible scenarios.
According to this, solar energy, together with short-term hydroelectric storage capacity, would be an “optimal” combination to reduce fuel-based generation (thermal) and increase operational safety in the dry season.
Thus, in summer, solar energy would provide day electricity and water plants at night, experts from the IDB add.
Therefore, the analysis suggests to the authorities to consider solar energy “both large-scale and small-scale”; but, also, with a “decentralized” geographic distribution.
This recommendation is made after the studies detected that the electrical system already has a high water storage capacity with daily regulation.
The simulations of the researchers indicate that if the northern zone of the country is strengthened, according to the energy expansion plan of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), an additional capacity of 250 megawatts (MW) of solar, wind and geothermal energy could be connected. Apart from the capacities confirmed until 2018.
“Thanks to the good regulation capacity of its generators and its transmission network duly developed, the electrical system does not show problems of dynamic stability (without voltage spikes), in none of the scenarios investigated with instantaneous penetration levels of up to more than 70% of renewable energies for 2024, “the document says.