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.
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