Universidad de Costa Rica


Economies of scale, incentives, and technological advances have made photovoltaic (PV) systems more affordable and common in developed nations. In Latin America, however, cost and regulation are still barriers for their widespread adoption, particularly by residential and commercial customers. In Costa Rica, the interest in rooftop PV systems has only recently started thanks to a major pilot project carried out from 2010 to 2015 by the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, ICE)-the administrator of the generation, the transmission system operator, and one of the eight Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) who also supply electricity. The hundreds of installations involved in this project created the momentum needed by the local emerging PV industry to push for changes in the regulatory framework and to demonstrate the economic benefits given the relatively high electricity prices. Moreover, although this project represented only a modest PV penetration, ICE recognized that the ability of distribution circuits to host rooftop PV systems should be adequately assessed. This prompted the Ministry of Energy and Environment to create a new and important requirement for Costa Rican DNOs: the generation hosting capacity of distribution circuits should be quantified considering a comprehensive set of studies-most of them requiring detailed network models.The diversity in the installed capacity of rooftop PV systems (from a few to hundreds of kW), as well as in the voltages they are connected to (from low to medium voltages), means that DNOs in Costa Rica-and many others around the world-need to have network …

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