It’s Not Just Silly Anymore

Fifty years from now these will be known as the dawn of the Solar age, and they’ll likely still be working. People will collect them like old Fords. Don’t let Bureaucrats ruin it for us.

This is going nowhere.  The solar industry has been waiting for new regulations for grid tied systems since before the pilot program ended.  Now – three weeks after the closure of this pilot program – ARESEP has burdened our Solar community with such an unfair tariff that only large commercial companies can benefit by it.  From no regulation we’ve gone to unacceptable regulation.

Put simply, ARESEP, who regulates all power companies, wants to charge by the kWh what someone produces with his solar system.  This means they’ll charge you for your savings on electric consumption; about 25% of what you’d have paid if you just bought it straight from the power company!  Such a deal! 

If they’d put a reasonable tariff, say only against the cost of power generation and distribution, I mean, it’s us investing our money and making the power that the various companies can use, I’d think that would be fair, don’t you?

That is, as of last Thursday, 26 of March, ARESEP approved this regulation and in the coming week, will submit it to La Gaceta.  After that, there are 3 days in which people can, and Should, ask the regulator to reconsider this way of charging for Solar generation.

It is my understanding that this tariff will be  27 Colones for every kWh used, no matter if the panels produced it; or if it comes from a power company like ICE.  In other words, they’re charging us for the loss of income THEY have; because we decided to produce our own electricity using solar panels.  Yes, and protecting an old, dirty and inefficient system, sad in a way…  did sail makers act this way when steam ships came into use?  Probably…

Or to make it Chrystal clear; they add up all costs of production by the Power Companies for a Year, then Divide that number by the amount of electricity they sell in the same period.  If their own inefficiency is too high (….duhh..) it will be compensated by solar producers like us.  Read that again…

Another way of seeing it is if you spend money on high tech lights for your house, run the pool pump fewer hours and put in a gas stove, Power Companies won’t charge you for your savings.  However, if you put up Solar Panels, they want a big chunk of the money you save.   It’s a stacked deck.  

 If ARESEP ties a tariff to the operational costs of the power companies, they won’t be following their own mandate, which is to develop a real cost of operation.

Knowing the cost of production is important, to know the demand of the country, but they can’t charge the solar industry for that, hell, we’re their friends!  

In fact, this tariff will only complicate an already smooth working industry by measuring the production by a meter accessible to the electric company, not yet invented, at the source, instead of a  simple-already-working monitoring system, they’ll make it impossible to implement… which makes me wonder if they even want solar energy in Costa Rica.

 This is not the proper function of government agencies…. to throw nets in the river of commerce by its own people and for their own good.  This tariff will waste time and resources of the very people who provide the service, i.e., Solar Companies, banks and installers; trying to make Solar Energy affordable for the average home owner.  

In the end, a high tariff will kill the Goose-Who-Laid-the-Golden Egg; and along with it, a chance for clean, affordable electricity… at least for homeowners.  What a shame.  

What can I do?  This Monday there will be Public Hearings at 5:00 p.m. in 9 locations in Costa Rica.    Find one close to you and SPEAK if you don’t agree.  Follow Purasol on Facebook too, for latest updates.

Oh, if you speakie de Spanish, go here… 




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The Silly Season


In Moto GP there was a time they called the “silly season,” when the moto press speculated on which highly skilled rider would ride a particular brand of motorcycle in Moto Gran Prix following season.


Rumors would fly, tongue’s would wag and pit guru’s would drop  hints.  In the end, it was only possible to know who-rides-what when they put their wheels to the line for the first race of the season.

….and so it appears to be with different stories about what’s going to happen with solar in  Costa Rica…  I don’t claim to know them all, some are definitely true, the pilot program is ended from what I hear now, it is not likely to be extended.  I have faith in market economics and think it will be sorted out so that we may continue.  After all, the president of Costa Rica want’s Solar for his country.   There are millions of dollars and enormous pressure from the industry to continue.


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 Another plan put forward is a device attached to your breaker panel or somewhere before it gets to your breaker panel, so they can measure how much you are actually producing…. and tax/charge you for it.  A number of $.05 a watt was mentioned.  It’s not my place here to judge as good or bad, these possibilities, just to point them out.


We rather like the original plan of counting excess kWh produced and saving them for the customer during the winter months when production is lower.


 Speaking of winter and summer months; imagine how natural it is to be making our best Electricity in the summer months… just when the rivers are down and hydro-electric is off line?   Continue using oil to make electricity?  Now that’s silly…


 Meanwhile it’s important to know that people who installed their systems under the pilot program will be “grandfathered in” for the next 15 years so that even though the rates will rise like death and taxes, the relative cost of electricity of what you buy and what you sell will remain the same.  One more thing, we’re being told to keep taking orders, so this is us telling you to make them before it dries up again.




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Solar Power

Our first system

Our Photo Stock

Solar power.  We had to have it.  So we bought some panels and put them up.  We made a massive frame out of tubular steel.  When we were done you could have parked a truck on it.  

So this is our first system;  I made a point of not washing them or doing anything but some light trimming to keep the shade off most of them.  

I’m getting ahead of myself;  first thing we did was go to ICE and ask what permits we needed.

 “Nada,” they said.  Gaby didn’t believe them so they called San Jose and got it from the horses mouth, so to speak.  

“Nada,” came the reply from San Jose.  So we installed the system.  That’s when we learned our digital meter wouldn’t run backwards. Thus began our education in how to apply for a new two way meter.  It took us a long time but now we know how to do it; you might say we fell on a grenade for you.  What are you waiting for?

Just a note to Nay-Sayers:    Before the installation, our bill averaged 85,000 Colones a month.  Now?  This month’s bill is 23,000 Colones.  That’s with just 10 each, 240 watt panels.  How long are you going to wait?  How much will you loose by waiting?   If the price of panels went down dramatically, (they won’t), could you ever catch up to what you lose now by not investing?  Give us a call.



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