Back in February of 2012 during the Annual General Assembly of Vista Las Palmas owners, and while studying budgets of past and projected years, one line item stood out above the rest.
While reviewing the cost of electricity all owners were concerned that there seemed to be a continuous increase in the cost of common area electricity. Noticing an average increase of 10% per year over the past 10 years, and seeing no reason for this trend not to continue, the VLP owners as a whole asked the Board to research alternative options.
The Home Owners Board of Directors and Property Manager started to explore the use of Solar Panels. For a full year VLP had tests performed with actual solar panels and worked with information from NASA to determine if there was enough of a benefit to invest in these panels. The data returned was very promising, as in Costa Rica around the area of Jaco, they found that the average amount of sun was more then sufficient to supply energy savings that outweighed over time, the initial investment.
After over a year of research the VLP Board presented its findings to the General Assembly. Now that they knew solar would work, the other problem was how to pay for this significant investment. The cost was close to $300,000 and as we were an HOA with no tangible assets, we could not obtain a loan from the bank. The only way to pay for this was for the Home Owners to make it work themselves. Determining that this investment was not a guaranteed investment the Board decided to allow owners to invest in “Tranches” of $10,000, and those who invested would receive an interest return of 7.5% /year until the project was completely paid off. The Board also had the chosen Solar Panel installation company invest $30,0000 in the project so they too would become a partner in the project, providing everyone involved an extra incentive to achieve the best possible results.
As of today, Vista Las Palmas in Jaco Beach has enjoyed 5 months of Solar Power Saving; they have been able to reduce their total Common Area bill by an average of $4,500 per month and expect to have our total investment paid back in 6 - 7 years. The lifespan of the solar panels are 25 years, so the total amount to be saved over the life of the project is enormous.
Living in a beach town with only one government owned electrical provider, and having a building to be the first in the area to make a major investment in Solar, has started a domino effect, and as electricity rates continue to climb, the wisdom of this decision only becomes more apparent.
For information on real estate sales and rentals in Vista Las Palmas contact David Karr, 8718.7216 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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