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jwander

Aug 26, 2016, 6:48 PM

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Solar Energy

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Thinking about buying some property in the Yucatan that has no electricity available. Anybody have any experience with solar energy as their sole source of power ? Any information would be helpful as we have no experience with solar power. Thanks


Jeff



soylent_green

Sep 1, 2016, 10:50 AM

Post #2 of 6 (4530 views)

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Re: [jwander] Solar Energy

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I have solar in my place in baja.

you need to really reassess your energy needs unless you want to spend a fortune. Get rid of that electric coffee pot, hide your wife's hair drier, LED lights, energy efficient refrigerators, etc. One of my bigest energy hog is my dish network box - it uses more turned "off" then my refrigerator running. True.

Pretty much you will count out air conditioning or electric heating.

a good resource on youtube is from the solar retail company Alt E
https://www.youtube.com/user/AltEStore Check out some of their videos to get a good education.
They also have pretty good prices on their stuff.



Just some of my tips.

Don't under panel - add more than you think you need. Panel prices have dropped quite a bit -

Charge controllers (regulates power from panels to batteries) . MPPT type works good because you can use more readily available residential solar panels with higher voltage, and step it down for your batteries. Do not over draw much more than 50% of batteries - the lower you draw, the shorter the lifespan.

Batteries. Go 24volt or 48 volt system. AGM sealed batteries work good if you do not have the time to do a lot of maintanance but they will cost almost 2x other deep cycle batteries cost.

inverter. don't get a cheapo, buy one that has the ability to back charge your batteries with a generator.

--
my charge controller and inverter are from Outback. Id recommend them too.

My smallish system probably cost around 6-7K USD.


(This post was edited by soylent_green on Sep 1, 2016, 11:29 AM)


YucaLandia


Sep 1, 2016, 4:52 PM

Post #3 of 6 (4504 views)

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Re: [jwander] Solar Energy

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We have a 3.5 kW grid-tied solar system in Merida, and I agree with all of soylent green's points.

I would go with at least 20% more panels than you expect to need, because: ~ the panels put our more energy in their first year, and then taper off; ~ the panels get dusty & bat-crap/bird-crap stains that reduce energy output; Yucatan's HEAT easily raises the panel temperatures to 60 - 65 C ... which reduces energy output during the key hours of solation. ... ~ plus we have about 3 general sun positions for semi-adjustable 'fixed-mount' panels.


Unless you are super-aggressive about keeping the panels clean & dust-free...

and are super-aggressive about pointing aiming the panels to the North for May 1 - Aug 15 (10-15 from horzontal - aimed toward the Northern) ...

and pointing them south at about 25 to the South during the winter-time (Oct 15 - Feb 15)

...then pointing them roughly horizontal (10 tilt to the south) during the Feb 15 - May 1 ... and again for Aug 15 - Oct 15

If you choose just one panel orientation for the whole year... without using 3 positions for Yucatan ... you can expect to lose at least another 10% - 12% loss of energy.

Really, the sweetest setups are 'daisy-head' designs.

In other words ... you may need to buy an additional 30% more panels than for your minimum estimates, because of all the typical energy losses.

Another Yucatan specific note: Our weather does include periods of 3-5 successive overcast days ... when solylent green's advice to NEVER draw your batteries below 50% (because it permanently damages them) fits perfectly.

How do you plan to deal with those prolonged overcast periods?

We have passively heated solar water for our apartment building (where customers will NOT tolerate cold showers), and we had to choose between buying 3X of the normally required solar capacity to have enough reserves to get through the 10 - 15 successive-cloudy-day events .... or ... to add a backup-water heater to cover the cloudy days events.

You might want to consider a small diesel generator as a backup for the multiple-cloudy day events... because discharging batteries too deeply has serious permanent consequences ... ??

We also can have some prolonged no-sun-day events, like during hurricanes... when the leading edge of the storm gives 2-3 cloudy days +plus the 2 days of storms, + plus another 2-3 cloudy days from the back-side of a slow moving storm => a possible 6 - 9 days of poor or no solation.

Final note: Some people report that using rechargeable golf-cart batteries, or rechargeable fork-lift batteries are the most economical storage batteries here, but I have not checked on this in the past 3 years.

There is at least 1 very good solar suppliers here in Merida I would contact... like Eric Briehl.

Happy Trails,
steve
-
Read-on MacDuff
E-visit at http://yucalandia.com

(This post was edited by YucaLandia on Sep 1, 2016, 4:56 PM)


Gatos

Sep 2, 2016, 4:19 AM

Post #4 of 6 (4481 views)

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Re: [jwander] Solar Energy

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We have a solar system which is tied into CFE (we have a bidirectional meter). Our system is about 2 years old now. Our inverter is from Fronius (Austria). We have 10 monocrystalline panels (Mexico) which are pointed due South year round. We have them hanging off a short wall (with a deep drop) so they are very easy to keep clean. It is just the 2 of us but we can use as much electricity as we want and really pay it no mind. We don't have A/C but we do have a pool. We have been running a credit balance with CFE since installation. System should pay for itself over 7 years time.

Since CFE is increasing rates - the guy who setup our system is extremely busy with new installs...


(This post was edited by Gatos on Sep 2, 2016, 4:21 AM)


playaboy

Sep 2, 2016, 7:04 AM

Post #5 of 6 (4469 views)

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Re: [jwander] Solar Energy

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If the property is on the water you might consider adding wind turbines to your solar system.


jwander

Sep 13, 2016, 2:41 PM

Post #6 of 6 (4361 views)

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Re: [YucaLandia] Solar Energy

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I think we're going to look for property with electricity available and use solar as a supplement. Thanks to all who took the time to reply. We have lived full time in Mexico for 5 years but have simple fallen in love with the Yucatan. Merida is a great place but the surrounding area is quite something.
 
 
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