The President of Costa Rica Laura Chinchilla has officially inaugurated a 1MW solar park in Miravalles which is said to be the country’s largest PV plant to date and the largest project of its kind in Central America.

Built on the slopes of Miravalles Volcano, the Miravalles solar park was originally proposed by the Costa Rican Electricity Institution (ICE) and a letter of intent was signed in August by GeSolar, a Chinese manufacturer of solar products, and Greenersys, a supplier of renewable energy products based in Costa Rica, to develop the PV plant.

The solar park is equipped with 4,300 PV modules which will help generate an estimated annual output of 1.2GWh which will be fed into the grid.

"This project is very important because it marks the entry of Costa Rica to the production of large-scale electricity based on solar energy, and also mark the way to bring electricity to thousands of families across the country in the future," the Environment Minister René Castro, who presided over the inauguration of the plant along with the President of Costa Rica, the Japanese Ambassador to Costa Rica and ICE CEO.

The project was financed by the Japanese Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (MINAET), which provided a US$10 million grant under the Japanese government’s Project for Introduction of Clean Energy by System Solar Electricity Generation for the Government of the Republic of Costa Rica programme.

The grant will also provide enough funds to build a second PV plant adjacent to ICE’s building in La Sabana. The plant will use 130 PV modules and will have a capacity of 3kW. Electricity generated from the facility will be used to power ICE’s central building.