The milestone was achieved in mid-March as the company’s new 76.86 kW solar array was formally connected to the facility and certified by representatives from Costa Rica’s electric power utility (ICE).
Under normal operating conditions, the installed generating capacity of the array exceeds the laboratory’s requirement. This was fully anticipated, as the solar installation was also designed to supply additional energy needed during certain experiment campaigns, including operation of the plasma facility and the production of hydrogen.
The Ad Astra solar project was carried out under contract with Sibo Energy, a young Costa Rican private company, dedicated to the implementation of state-of-the-art commercial solar installations. Negotiations between Ad Astra and Sibo for this pioneering energy project took more than two years resulting in a signed agreement on December 3, 2015 and immediate execution of the project. The construction of the facility was initiated January 28, 2016 and took six weeks.
The facility, considered to be the largest ground-mounted private solar installation in the country, features 252 solar panels in seven modules with a peak generating capacity of 76.86 kW. The array operates under Costa Rica’s pilot program for distributed energy generation managed by ICE, where excess energy is fed to the grid for future use by Ad Astra in that same year.
“We are thrilled and excited about this important achievement, a major milestone in our path to creating a total ecosystem of renewable energy here in Liberia, which can be later replicated elsewhere,” said Dr. Franklin R. Chang Díaz, Ad Astra’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We have been extremely impressed with the professionalism and dedication of the Sibo team, who has been totally committed to the success of this project. We are proud to be working with them,” he added.
“We feel truly honored to collaborate with an organization and a team of professionals who are working so passionately towards a better future; for their immediate community, for their country, and for mankind” said Edgar Ugalde, Sibo’s Executive Director.
A US Delaware corporation established in 2005, Ad Astra Rocket Company is the developer of the VASIMR® engine, an advanced plasma space propulsion system aimed at the emerging in-space transportation market. Ad Astra also owns and operates supporting research and development subsidiaries in the US and Costa Rica. Through its subsidiaries, the company also develops earthbound high technology applications in renewable energy, advanced manufacturing and applied physics. Ad Astra has its main laboratory and corporate headquarters at 141 W. Bay Area Boulevard in Webster, Texas, USA, about two miles from the NASA Johnson Space Center.
Sibo is a Costa Rican company specializing in solar photovoltaic energy; striving to make clean energy available to institutions, businesses, schools, and homeowners. Recognized as one of the nation’s most innovative startups in 2013; Sibo Energy aims to further the use of renewable energy, delivering every project under the highest engineering standards. For more information, visit www.siboenergy.com