Still uncertainty about regulation
The discussion on solar energy production under the distributed generation system for home consumption is finding much echo in the Costa Rican press and among the involved sectors.
More than a year ago, ARESEP defined the standards of Planning, Operation and Access to the National Electrical System (POASEN), which would regulate the small-scale distributed generation. Distributed generation is the production of electricity from clean energy (for example wind or sun) by users who can inject the surplus to the grid for subsequent sale or compensation.
However it cannot be applied yet, due to the absence of a regulation of the relationship between the energy producers and the eight distribution companies in Costa Rica for two very important reasons:
The POASEN standard states that each producer of electricity for home consumption should count with the respective “concession” required by the current legislation. MINAE asked the ARESEP to change in the standard the word concession into permit, since the former involves requirements that according to MINAE are unnecessary, while the permit is easier to grant.
The tariff method proposed by the ARESEP is not supported within the solar sector since the model states that in addition to paying for connection to the grid the user has to pay a monthly access fee that is proportional to his energy consumption. This is a disincentive for the sector because it can double the time of return of investment of a solar installation and the actual savings are very small.
The Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) requested ARESEP the temporary suspension of the POASEN, until there would be more clarity on the access fee.
Yesterday, March 16, we learned from ACESOLAR that the ARESEP has pronounced a negative response concerning MINAE`s requests involving:
a) a temporary suspension of the application of the Technical Standard AR-NT-POASEN
b) the word change in order to change the licensing requirement
Such resolutions significantly affect our industry and although Purasol has so far remained patient and kept faith, we would now like to express our deep concern.
Costa Rica has already been six weeks without regulation for solar energy, a very worrying situation that needs a solution.
We support ACESOLAR`s request that ICE and other distribution companies apply a transitional period during which the same conditions apply as those of the Pilot Plan for Distributed Generation that was in force until recently.