Costa Rica - Country Commercial Guide
Solar Energy Products

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-11-10


Unit: Millions of US$ Dollars









Total Market Size





Total Local Production





Total Exports





Total Imports





Imports from the U.S.





Exchange Rate: 1 USD






Data in millions of US$ Dollars.

Total Market Size = (Total Local Production + Total Imports) – (Total Exports)

Data Sources:

Total Local Production: Estimated. Industry sources

Total Exports: Costa Rican Customs Directorate

Total Imports: Costa Rican Customs Directorate

Imports from U.S.: Costa Rican Customs Directorate

Local production of energy equipment is limited to small products needed for solar panels and water installation, such as cables, metal tubing, some valves and metal water tanks.  Last year China accounted for 49 percent of the market and this year is up to 57 percent.  The U.S. is second with 22 percent of the market which is up two percent from last year.  Other smaller competitors are Spain (3 percent), Mexico (2.9 percent), and Vietnam (2.5 percent).  There are also imports of solar products from Central America (mainly Panama and Guatemala), but these are re-exports as most of these products originate from Asian countries. The U.S. continues to grow slightly every year, even in a depressed market that slowed after new the VAT was implemented.

Exports from Costa Rica are also of imported products from other countries.  Most companies selling solar systems are assembled Asian solar panels with some U.S. made components.

Statistics are based on the following harmonized codes: 8419.19, 8541.40, 8541.90, 8502.40, 8535.21, and 8507.20.

Industry sources indicated that total imports in this sector decreased due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Costa Rica.  Export of local products in the solar area did increase, as Costa Rican companies expanded to neighboring countries.  

In 2016, the Costa Rican government approved a new regulation which allows individuals and companies to produce solar energy (up to 15 percent of the users per district) and sell up to 49 percent of their excess production back to the grid.  There is a new bill in the Costa Rican Congress supported by the Ministry of Energy and Environment that aims to open solar production to new competition with the incumbent energy producer I.C.E.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects

Following are the best prospects sub-sectors for the U.S. solar energy products:

Components of Solar Water Heaters:

8419.19 - Storage water heaters, nonelectric

Components of Solar Panels:

8502.40 - Electric rotary converters

8507.20 - Lead-acid storage batteries other than of a kind used for starting piston     engines or as the primary source of power for electric vehicles

8535.21 - Automatic circuit breakers:

8541.40 - Photosensitive semiconductor devices; Light emitting diodes

8541.90 - Parts of diodes, Transistors, or photosensitive semiconductor devices

As mentioned before, there is no significant local production of solar energy products in Costa Rica, but it has increased during the last year. The Costa Rican energy generation matrix for 2020 is composed of: 71.9 percent Hydro, 14.6 percent Geothermal, 12.6 percent Wind, Thermal 0.2 percent, Biomass .04 percent. and 0.3 percent Solar.

Most of these products do not pay import taxes, but when applied, taxes can also be exonerated by the end-user though the Costa Rican Ministry of Finance.  High quality, reliability, durability, favorable prices, good maintenance service, and timely delivery are the main factors for increasing U.S. sales in the solar energy products sector.


Based on the projections made by the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), the participation of solar energy in Costa Rica for 2030 will reach 1.3 percent, while the hydroelectric market will increase to 80 percent. According to the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE) and the Costa Rican National Power and Light Company (CNFL), both government entities, the target market for solar energy in Costa Rica remains to be households or companies that consume between 200kw/h and 3,000kw/h.

ICE and CNFL have been installing photovoltaic systems. ICE successfully ended a program to install energy photovoltaic systems for a total of 10MW a few years back.  ICE has installed 2,559 systems in homes, 649 systems installed for community activities, and 132 systems installed in conservation areas.

There are three major solar parks in Costa Rica; Juanilama by Coopeguanacaste, Pocosol by Coopelesca, and Valle Escondido that will be built in 2021 by BMR Energy, contracted by ICE.

Since 2018, Solar Energy International operates a training facility for Solar Energy products installation in Costa Rica:

There are many private companies, most of them members of ACESOLAR (Costa Rican Solar Energy Association), and the CDG (Chamber of Distributed Energy Generation of Costa Rica). They have been working not only on changing the current legislation to be more open and allow more solar panels and batteries to be installed, but they are also the ones doing most of the work installing solar systems with the industrial parks and warehouses, bringing down the monthly invoices in Costa Rica.


  • Costa Rican Association of Solar Energy -ACESOLAR
  • Costa Rican Association of Energy Producers -ACOPE
  • Public Services’ Regulating Authority - ARESEP
  • Costa Rican Customs Directorate, Ministry of Finance

CS Costa Rica Commercial Specialist, Roy Fernandez

Commercial Service Costa Rica office: