Photo by Rodrigo Arangua Tue, Dec 4, 2012

Costa Rica recently opened the country’s first-ever large-scale solar power plant in the small village of Bagaces, Miravalles in the northwestern province of Guanacaste.

The solar farm is on the slopes of the Miravelles Volcano, with 4,300 solar panels of 235 watts each covering an area of 2.7 hectares. The project will generate 1.2 GW of electricity per year, powering about 600 homes.

Costa Rica has a focus on environmental protection, with over 25 percent of its land area protected as national parks.

“Today we not only took another step in terms of increasing installed capacity to continue generating more electricity and meet our economy’s demands, but we also confirmed that our growth will continue to rely on renewable energy generation,” said President Laura Chinchilla.

The solar park was financed by the Japanese Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (MINAET) with a grant of 10 million yen as part of the Japanese government’s Project for Introduction of Clean Energy by System Solar Electricity Generation for the Government of the Republic of Costa Rica. The project also received $1.5 million in funding from the Instituto Costarricense Electricidad (ICE).

The project was initially proposed by ICE and developed by GeSolar, a Chinese PV manufacturer, and Greenersys, a Costa Rican supplier of renewable energy products.

ICE also operates a smaller plant in San Jose, with plans of building another in La Sabana. It will run on 130 PV modules with a capacity of 3 KW to power ICE’s main building.

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