Private power generating being sabotaged, solar representative says

A decision on solar power by the nation’s regulatory agency has a local firm suggesting that government interests are sabotaging the idea.

The regulator is the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos. According to Paul Furlong of CRSolar, the agency has approved an unfair tariff that only will benefit large commercial companies.

His firm sells and installs solar panels.

The tariffs involve homeowners and businesses that put solar panels on the roof to generate electricity themselves.  The plan has been that the power utility would compensate those who invest in solar panels for any excess that is put into the national grid.

Furlong said that regulations approved Thursday actually charge those with solar panels for the electricity they produce. The Autoridad Reguladora issued a press release Friday that is at best ambiguous on this point.

The board of directors established unanimously the mechanism to calculate the tariffs for generation with alternative sources, including solar, wind, bio systems and similar, said the release.

Furlong said the tariffs are what the persons generating the alternative energy have to pay, not what the power utility has to pay them.

The regulatory agency did not release the text of the decision, but the document soon will be published in the La Gaceta official newspaper.

There also are a series of hearings scheduled around the country at 5 p.m. today on the topic, said Furlong.

The regulating agency wants to charge solar producers by the kilowatt, said Furlong, adding: “This means they’ll charge you for your savings on electric consumption, about 25 percent of what you’d have paid if you just bought it straight from the power company!  Such a deal!”

Furlong said that he believes the tariff will be 27 colons for every kilowatt used, no matter if solar panels produce it or if it comes from a power company like the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad.

“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” he said.

He said this approach will kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

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