“We trust that ARESEP will approve the methodology for setting the tariffs for interconnection and access, because we need a minimum of regulation to further develop the solar sector,” declares Arine de Bordes, founder of Purasol in her role of ´emergency politician´ in defense of the implementation of solar energy through distributed generation in Costa Rica. “The advantages of this system are clear: it is better for the environment and the initial investment is much cheaper because the user no longer has to invest in storage batteries.
“The rates are ARESEP´s last outstanding task to allow the implementation of the POASEN standard which regulates distributed electricity generation. Distributed generation means that homes and businesses are able to produce small-scale energy for both consumption and exchange with the electricity companies. Until February 6, this system was only possible with ICE´s Pilot Plan but after approval of POASEN it will be possible with all electricity companies; ICE, CNFL, ESPH, Jasec, Coopeguanacaste, Coopesantos, Coopealfaro Ruiz and Coopelesca.
ARESEP already approved last Thursday the standard contract for these 8 electricity distributors which establishes the technical conditions and obligations of both parties. Purasol has already started sending requests for technical analysis of projects to several distributors. We hope that during these analysis ARESEP will approve the methodology for setting tariffs for access and interconnection so at least the distributed electricity generation system with net metering can be continued.
The interconnection rate is the initial price the user pays to the electricity company to connect his solar panels to the grid to cover the costs of the electricity company: the labor and bidirectional meter. The access fee is a monthly rate that the user will have to pay to use electricity from the grid when he needs it and to inject the surplus, the electricity he doesn´t need for consumption at that very moment.
Concerning the methodology we believe that the access tariff is not fair and we would like to see ARESEP´s Board of Directors propose a transitional period to reconsider the methodology while approving the actual one. We believe that the proposed methodology will make rates too high (27 colones in the case of ICE and 15 colones for CNFL per produced kWh) and that it contradicts Costa Rica´s politics when distributed electricity generation is discouraged pretending at the same time to achieve carbon neutrality with a National Energy Plan. On the other hand we cannot afford further delay in implementing POASEN.
Another issue is the so-called concession by the MINAE, a permit that allows the generator to be connected to the grid and exchange the surplus electricity with the electricity company, but they hope to have it ready by the end of March. MINAE anticipated that it would be no longer the complex concession but an expedited permit to facilitate the procedure. “
Listen here for the Amelia Rueda podcast starting at minute 49:15.