ARESEP and entrepreneurs differ on solar panels cost

Body suggests applying 20% ​​discount; Acesolar group dismisses possibility

April 06th,2015

The Regulatory Authority for Public Services (Aresep) and the Costa Rican Association of Solar Energy (Acesolar) differ on prices of solar panels in Costa Rica.

On the one hand, ARESEP claims that the devices are too expensive for Costa Ricans and suggests low. On the other hand, entrepreneurs Acesolar claim that prices are attached to the middle and discarded cuts of great magnitude.

An average household consumes -of four members-month 250 kilowatt hours (kWh). If you would like to supply all that demand with solar, that family must invest at least $ 4,800; the average cost of two kilowatts (kW) installed, according to studies by the Regulatory.

This, despite the fact that these modules are not taxed.

Marlon Yong, director of the Center for Development Regulation in ARESEP, estimates that prices are too high, especially for households, would therefore suggested that companies sell them 20% cheaper.

Thus, according to Yong, small generators begin to recover their investments from the first year -from the purchase of active- and not from the seventh, as at present. The lifetime of these devices ranges from 20 to 25 years.

"Right now, for residential cases, I think (panels) are very expensive (...) While in the United States each panel 1KW costs $ 733, here its value is between $ 2,400 and $ 2,700," explained Yong.

A 'no'. On the idea of reducing the selling prices, the manager of Acesolar, Jorge Blanco, said it is unlikely and clarified that "companies are not making exaggerated" but covering costs and having a minimum gain, no greater than 20%.

"Here the prices are low relative to other countries in the region. The market is open, competition is intense. The panels are imported from North America, Europe and China and, hard, you can lower your price, less than that in the international market also down, "he said.

Complex. Cheaper by 20% the cost, as proposed ARESEP, would be about the price of installation of panels, which also includes the rate of initial network interconnection, then the access, generators must pay each month distributors, most of them clustered in the House of Power Distribution Companies and Telecommunications (CEDET).

These rates are not yet defined; ARESEP would have them ready by April 15.

To Blanco is not responsible thinking in decreasing prices and investment recovery times without defining what those amounts will also clarify other values, such as the sale of kWh generated and the award of public service.

Rather, Acesolar launched a counter to the Regulatory Authority: who are the distributors signatures which 20% decrease costs.

"If low access rate, low recovery time of investment. What worries us is that, according to our calculations, that rate will be very high (proportional to the total energy consumption) and the user would be paying each month, "said White.

In the case of CEDET, made ​​by firms such as the Administrative Board of Cartago Electrical Services (Jasec), their claims are others , for example, that small-scale generation is not for ARESEP and even lead hikes in the light.

Aval parks

The solar farms in the hands of private companies are possible in the country since March 26, the day that a methodology for new photovoltaic generators was issued. According to the 7200 law, these plants may not exceed 20 MW of installed capacity, and selling fees shall be fixed by ARESEP as costs and audited information that you give each company.

To that parks are able to operate, these should be selected through competition by ICE (only entity that can buy energy). On March 27, the Institute announced that competition will bring 10 MW of solar, which will be awarded to two private plants of 5 MW each. The contest deadline has not yet come to light.

Source: 'La Nación'


Biomass electric generation lacks impulse for sale

Although there is interest and capacity, business is not profitable

March 28th,2015

The generators of electricity with biomass such as agribusiness and farming-producers have no incentive to sell their renewable ICE kilowatt hours (kWh).

Before placing their production to unattractive prices of $ 0.08 or less, these generators prefer to take advantage of in their own plants, as a form of consumption.

This biomass is the result of the use of organic waste to produce energy. In Costa Rica is allowed since 1990 by Act No. 7200, and is mainly derived from agricultural waste such as sugar cane, palm, rice, coffee and pineapple.

However, the Regulatory Authority for Public Services (Aresep) has just set the price per kWh generated with cane bagasse ($ 0.08), in force since 2010.

At present, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) buys two mills energy produced from bagasse during the harvest season.

The installed capacity between generators is 37.8 megawatts and last year won 83.6 gigawatt hours. This contribution represented 1% of total energy production of Costa Rica.

The energy sources other than bagasse biomásicas not own fee, so it should fit the price range of new hydroelectric plants: between $ 0.09 and $ 0.12 kWh.

Why not attract? According to Irene Cañas, Deputy Minister of Energy, Ministry of Environment and Energy (Minae) that governs a single, inflexible price (for bagasse) makes it an unattractive business.

He also indicated that the price is not competitive.

"In most projects biomass (bagasse), agribusiness prefer to use it for consumption. It is more profitable use, not that the pay (...) should seek a competitive price "said Cañas.

To promote this production, Cañas ask the Regulatory Authority for Public Services (Aresep) establish a price band.

On this, the spokeswoman for the company, Carolina Mora, considered it possible to modify the methodology and update it regularly is also positive.

Meanwhile, the ICE would be willing to buy the entire generation that the mills are interested in offering; at least so said the manager of Electricity, Luis Pacheco.

"ICE can receive requests from biomass-eligibility of any source at any time, it has procedures and there is room for it (...) The ICE has always been interested in acquiring this power; in particular generated in the dry season, "said the manager Pacheco.

Promoting biomass-generation during the summer and at better prices than at present, is seeking to boost the libertarian congressman Otto Guevara, a bill introduced this month.

"We want to encourage the purchase of biomass during the summer months, but improving the current selling price and recognizing more costs. This will serve to reduce pollution, lower oil bill and electricity tariffs, "said Guevara.

Option. The biomass not only can be used in power generation to commercialization or own use, can also be used as a form of energy.

Ie generators can use it to replace in their industrial processes, fossil fuels (diesel and others) that require boilers.

This, Cañas, is more efficient than electricity production, so the Minae encourages industries to assess their needs and define which alternative is most useful to them.

The biomásicas sources, unlike the hydro, wind and solar have an owner who is normally the agroindustrial, so the generation and sales business depend merely their will.

Source: "La Nación"


Costa Rica wasted solar energy for electricity generation

Absence of clear regulation slows growth of generation with solar panels

March 22nd,2015

With a privileged climate and sunlight, Costa Rica possesses the means to generate more electricity from that source that develops rapidly in the world conditions.

The country has modern hydroelectric plants that are, according to researchers, the ideal complement of solar energy.

The Costa Rican Association of Solar Energy (Acesolar) even consider that hydroelectric plants can store solar energy powered generators and motors to produce pumping water return.

Today, solar generation base, despite being still in its infancy, generating more than 1,000 jobs in 30 companies associated with the sector.

Privilege wasted

Data provided by Dr. Monica Morales Masis, Costa Rican who works at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, indicate that if solar panels were installed on the roof of one in ten households in Costa Rica (1.2 million houses), could be covered with clean energy that 10% of the demand for electricity currently produced fuels.

The savings would be significant in that scenario.

According to the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP), in 2015 the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) ¢ 56,152,000 spent on purchase of fuel for the operation of its thermal plants.

These facilities generate 5.73% of the estimated electricity demand this year. During the dry season, that kind of generation would reach 8.95%.

More capacity on hold

Weather and national infrastructure conditions suggest Dr.. Morales still have more opportunity for improvement which would meet the growing demand for electricity with solar power.

Acesolar goes further. Based on the calculations of the organization, distributed generation with solar power injected into the national grid would, in a few years, able to cover almost the entire energy demand of the country. This when the price of storage systems that allow mitigating the variability of solar power and growth of small projects of this generation incentive is reduced because large have higher performance per watt installed.

However, the country does not fail more than a small part of the solar irradiation and generates only 10 megawatts maximum amount set by the ICE a pilot plan. The same that closed in February.

Read more: "El Financiero"



Ministry of Health will remove moorings to the electricity generation with garbage

Regulation will allow municipalities to use technology to burn solid waste

March 23rd,2015

The Ministry of Health will remove the ties that prevent municipalities generate electricity by burning solid waste.

This portfolio has ready a regulation that will allow lifting the ban that the government imposed last June, the incineration of waste.

Several municipalities are in this technique a chance to capture revenue and solve the problem of final waste treatment.

Meanwhile, neighborhood watch in awe the idea.

One factor that weighed so that the executive decree the moratorium was precisely the lack of knowledge in the country about this new process.

Furthermore, the lack of rules was drawn to control damage to public health, pollution and emissions of toxic gases.

Reactions. After a lengthy review process and two public consultations, standards for waste incineration have already been approved by the Ministry of Health.

The regulation details the type of waste that can process, the materials may not be burned, the team must have the incineration facility and emissions controls.

In addition, detailed that plants may begin operations six months after the regulation was published in the Official Gazette.

"As a country, it is an option that must handle; must have a range of possibilities, and recycling, landfills and incineration are what the state has now "claimed Ricardo Morales, Health Surveillance.

Mora said the rules are based on North American and European standards (such as the Environmental Protection Agency).

The news was greeted with enthusiasm by municipalities due to the ban, had to postpone plans to promote projects for burning garbage.

When the moratorium was issued, for example, the City of León Cortés already had the backing to hire firm 7048 Agricultural and build a gasification plant to convert 45 tons in one megawatt.

In June, after a local protest, San Ramon buried simulate a project.

Yadira Soto, ramonense neighbor, ignoring the recent endorsement of Health, but said the community refuses to suffer for the emission of gases, odors and daily traffic of garbage trucks.

In this regard, Mercedes Moya, Mayor of San Ramón, and Gilberto Monge, Mayor of Mora, claimed that the reincineración provides an output to the collapse of landfills.

The ramonense deposit, for example, must close the August 19 order of the Sala IV.

Read more: "La Nación"


ICE discard extending the pilot plan of solar energy

Minae admits that economic activity is affected after cessation of initiative

March 22nd,2015

The ICE made it clear that it will not pursue the pilot solar energy plan despite the insistence of Minae and those interested in this type of generation.

This initiative began in 2010 and allowed the injection of 10 megawatts of solar power to the grid, through the provision of 366 subscribers.

However, installing new panels is impossible since 6 February day lapsed in time and capacity, the plan of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE).

The paralysis responds to that is still not ready the regulation of licenses and permits from the Ministry of Environment and Energy (Minae) and have not been fixed rates as connection and monthly network access, by ARESEP.

By the time you are ready the rules (the bodies in charge shall ensure that the April 15), the only option to connect new panels is whether the Institute continues the program.

That option was buried. Javier Orozco, director of the Electrical System Expansion ICE, told this newspaper that the plan "and did the job".

"We are now waiting for ARESEP put under interconnection rates and power backup. From our side we are ready to add new clients, based on the new regulatory framework, "he added.

Confusing. The national discourse on what will happen with solar generation has been confusing.

On February 17, Luis Pacheco, manager of the ICE, told The Nation that the Institute does not lengthen the plan, for it corresponded review results.

On March 10, Carlos Obregon, president of that entity, said: "The ICE is in the best position to develop a program that is a continuation of the pilot project, as long as regulations permit."

The governing this type of generation is the regulation Poasen (Planning, Operation and access to national grid) Regulatory Authority of Public Services (Aresep).

With the allegation that the Poasen was the one who prevented the ICE lengthen your plan, March 9, Minae Minister, Edgar Gutiérrez, asked ARESEP suspend for one month, until outstanding fees and guarantees are set.

"The spirit is that ICE can continue its pilot here plan to April 15 (...). ICE wants to; if you can follow, follow. What was there was a regulatory impediment "he said then.

Three days later, executives ARESEP rejected the request of the minister, because this did not give weight basis.

What now? Irene Cañas, vicemistra Energy, said "the ICE can not continue with the plan" because you can not use this pilot scheme, while the Poasen is in effect.

Cañas admitted that the stoppage of solar generation (February 9) hit economic activity around this.

Source: "La Nación"

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