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Costa Rica Confirms Energy Storage Project by Proquinal

Costa Rica Confirms Energy Storage Project by Proquinal

  • Largest innovative photovoltaic generation and energy storage project opens in Costa Rica.
  • The system uses solar panels to charge batteries during periods of lower energy cost and then, subsequently to deliver stored energy during the two peak periods when cost is highest.
  • Swissol implemented the project, in conjunction with the English / German company, Rolls Royce Solutions.

The companies Proquinal – a member of the Spradling Group – and Swissol, accompanied by government authorities, inaugurated the largest and most innovative project for the storage of alternative energy in Costa Rica, which will help reduce the pressure on public electricity generation while also contributing to the country’s carbon neutrality strategy.

To capture solar energy, the Proquinal Costa Rica headquarters in Coyol de Alajuela, installed a covered parking lot with 690 solar panels – an efficient use of space. The captured energy is subsequently stored in an innovative battery system, the only of its kind in Costa Rica. The project exceeds $2M in investment.

This system allows for the implementation of 4.3 MWh (1.5 MW Peak) in storage capacity, through lithium batteries that are charged mainly during the night rate, which has a lower cost, and with the intermediate rate known as “the valley.” The solar panels allow for generation of 255 KW.

This stored energy is delivered to the production process at the Proquinal Costa Rica plant, during the two peak periods or the period of the highest demand, which range from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and again from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.; these periods represent the times when the cost of energy is highest. Notably, electricity purchased from public sources during peak periods is 4.5 times more expensive than the night rate. This system will aid the company in saving approximately US$41,000 per month, which allows for return on investment over a period of 4.3 years.

This project arose from Proquinal's commitment to its Strategic Pillar of Sustainability, and in response to its enduring search for energy efficiency, also leveraged by the ISO 50001 international certification: Energy Management Systems, in which the company is certified.

This represents an important private-sector contribution toward Costa Rica's efforts to decarbonize its economy; it also contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) promoted by the United Nations, specifically toward the goals of Affordable and Clean Energy and the Action for the Climate. For Costa Rica, the use of renewable energy is the future, officially confirmed by the Carbon Neutrality Program 2.0, which proposes a goal of 100% renewable energy.

The project launched in 2017 and was implemented via the companies of Swissol and Rolls Royce, both of which offer significant experience in and positive impact on the generation of renewable energy. Rolls Royce Solutions, an English / German company, provides both the latest generation batteries and the software that monitors the entire system.

The storage system installed in Costa Rica is the second established in Central America. Nicaragua’s Corn Island offers the only other of similar size; it supplies 100% of electricity needs for the island’s 8,500 inhabitants, year-round.

Moisés Hernández, General Manager of Proquinal in Costa Rica, commented that the project’s inauguration represents a solid lesson in the intelligent use of energy, as well as an advance in and contribution to the country’s goals in renewable energies. Additionally, he stressed that these types of project are possible, thanks to the legal security that Costa Rica provides to Free Trade Zones.

“With knowledge, experience, and advice from Swissol, we have launched this project to allow us to minimize our consumption from the National Grid and reduce the cost of electric energy, an aspect that will undoubtedly allow us to continue reducing costs and guaranteeing the competitiveness of Costa Rica in attracting foreign direct investment," Hernández stated.

According to Reto Rechsteiner, Founder and President of Swissol, for this type of lithium battery system, “Worldwide, there are only a few companies that can offer equipment of this magnitude. Fortunately, with Rolls Royce Solutions, an English-German company, we have found the perfect partner to carry out this project,” he assured.

Facts of Interest

  • Proquinal CR employs approximately 500 employees in Costa Rica and is currently mid-expansion.
  • According to CINDE, the company operates within the Free Trade Zone regime, under the categories of advanced manufacturing and medical devices; its products are exported to many of the most demanding markets worldwide.
  • SWISSOL is a pioneer in the development and implementation of technical solutions for Renewable Energies in Costa Rica. It has operated on the market for more than 20 years, with more than 3,700 projects carried out in Costa Rica and neighboring countries.
  • SWISSOL has installed more than 64,000 m² of solar panels and collectors, which generate an approximate annual savings of 54.4 MWh for the country.
  • Rolls-Royce provides world-class power solutions and full lifecycle support under its MTU brand of products and solutions.
  • Rolls Royce operates 1,200 locations with more than 11,000 employees around the world.
  • Through digitization and electrification, Rolls Royce develops powertrain and power generation solutions that grow ever cleaner and smarter, and therefore provide answers to the challenges posed by growing societal demands for energy and mobility.
  • For more than 110 years, Rolls Royce has provided innovative power solutions to its customers, by meeting even the most demanding drive requirements.