Renewable energy in Costa Rica

After many years of back and forth between the utilities companies, government bodies and a conscious group of people who want renewable energy in Costa Rica there is finally a framework to implement renewable energy into our lives.

The major utility companies were basically the road block. They saw this as competition instead of a collaboration.

Now however, we have a net metering program that allows the extra energy you produce from your renewable energy system to be pumped back into the existing utility grid.

The utilities are not as nice as we would like though and have seen the need to charge a fee for anyone downloading the energy that was previously injected into the system. They say its for the cost of the existing infrastructure they have and maintenance. I can see their point I guess, but they fail to see that injecting free energy into their system decreases their need to produce energy during peak demand hours.

The fee ranges from 8 colones to 28 colones per Kwh you download depending on the area you are in.

There are a series of applications, studies and fees that need to be paid, but that is par for the course here or anywhere. Hey at least we can now generate renewable energy and use their system as a battery for over production.

As battery storage becomes more affordable though the need to connect to the existing grid will decrease and then the utility companied will be signing a different tune and eventually be supporters of a 1 to 1 net metering program.

I have taken it upon myself to become educated with all the nuances related to renewable energy applications here in Costa Rica and am starting to install them on a few of my projects. I think it will be very common to have these systems especially as the world environment changes.

Step softly on this earth, listen, learn and act.

 

Living in Costa Rica

I am an American living in Costa Rica, I had a Tica wife and still have 3 awesome kids. My kids look like gringos a fact I feel, my adopted family is secretly disappointed with. I have a job, a house, bills all the worries and joys that you would encounter in any other place, but I am in Costa Rica, the weather is great and the people are pretty mellow for the most part.

I live in the Central valley, outside of San Jose, my mornings are filled with chilly breezes, clear skies, barking dogs and an occasional sales pitch trumpeting from an oversized speaker mounted precariously atop an old truck,  “Huevos, huevos, ricos llevalos, diez por cien, llevalos”

As I drink my delicious coffee and eat my pinto con huevo, the energy outside builds slowly into what later I can describe as very zesty.

Living in Costa Rica can be a mixed bag of beauty and frustration requiring great patience and an open heart.

At one moment you can be so peaceful enjoying the scenery or the smile of a friendly Tico and the next be run off the road or told your bank account cannot be accessed because the system in down.

Outside of the capital the landscape varies a lot, it can seem dry at one point and then totally humid at another, rain can blind your way and blue skies can be 100 meters down the road. I cannot say enough about the Pacific coast, I surf so my mindscape is flooded with images of sand and water that bring a big smile to my face.

I am sure you have heard the people are “so nice”, and they are very nice, except when they get behind the wheel of a car. They transform into the most impolite, reckless group of people I have ever seen, even grandfathers and grandmothers. No joke, I cannot tell you how many times I have been almost run off the road or denied a little “campo” to merge into traffic. Driving here sucks it’s that simple. Thank god there are taxis everywhere and you can hop on a bus to anywhere for almost nothing.

After 15 years I can say there are generally speaking 3 types of foreigners this place attracts. There is the adventurous type looking for a great vacation hiking to the volcanos, laying on the beach, zip lining, doing yoga for a week or setting up a sustainable lifestyle in the jungle. There is also the older crowd, the retirees looking for a cheaper place to be where the social security check or retirement fund will go further. There is also the group of 45-60 year old men, who smoke cigars, drink whiskey, charter deep sea fishing boats (this being one of the best) and spend a great deal of their time at places like El Rey  looking for young women to accompany them on their journey.

I could go on forever with experiences, stories and advice which I will give if you need any. The reality is, I love it here with all its good and bad. I feel a sense of freedom here that I have never felt in any of the other places I have lived. I guess it’s the fact that the things that control our lives in the states like the police, the government, the bill collector, etc. are less aggressive, and sometimes non-existent here. Faith and social responsibility is the glue that holds this place together.

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