A Nicaraguan resort community is set to address soaring grid power costs with a solar photovoltaic (PV) array coupled with battery energy storage.

Rancho Santana is a 1000-ha resort and residential community on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast. It features 152 homes and its management says its load is growing every year.

To mitigate increasing grid power costs, Rancho Santana is set to install an 800 kWp solar array coupled with a 200 kW flow battery. The zinc-iron redox battery will be installed by US-based ViZn Energy Systems, while Nicaraguan EPC firm Pelican SA will install the PV system and integrate it with the battery and backup diesel generators.

Rancho Santana CEO Matt Turner said: ‘Our annual utility expenses are growing and we are exposed to significant peak demand charges, so we had to find a way to sustainably reduce our energy costs without impacting the sensitive environment at the resort.’ 

He said the solar+storage system is expected to save the resort over $250,000 per year on its utility bills.

Ron Van Dell, president and CEO of Vizn Energy Systems, added: ‘Electricity in Nicaragua is amongst the most expensive in Latin America and many C&I customers there are on a grid tariff with a peak rate between 6 pm and 10 pm when the energy usage spikes. There is also no net metering for excess solar electricity, so our four-hour battery is a strong match for the market because it enables customers to install larger PV systems, get significantly cheaper energy than the grid rates, and mitigate elevated energy and demand rates during the evening network peak.’