Living With Solar

Living With Solar

The solar panels have to be washed weekly. There is a huge amount of dust in Niaragua, and it settles on everything.

Other than that, the "planta" functions without much attention. I add water to the batteries every two weeks, more than I expected -and I could probably stretch it out to a month,, but we exercise them aggressively. We've been doing a lot of welding (240V @ 30 Amps) and metal cutting with a power saw. We don't have 220V coming into the house, but the inverter provides both a steady 120V, and a non-varying 240V for my Saeco coffee machine, --and the welder when we need it. This is cleaner power and a much more consistent voltage than I could ever hope for from Disnorte.

Buying that much inverter costs on a daily basis however: The inverter consumes about 250 watts just to "live". Multiply that by 24, and it's more than many Nicas use for their total power needs. It's all a trade-off.

Days have been surprisingly overcast as well, so I had to buy C$ 504 (before subsidy) from Disnorte last month. When the sun shines from a clear sky I make a lot of juice, more than I can use since I limit the upper rate of battery re-charge.

I read my meter regularly, and am staying under the 150 KW limit for the "Subsidio consumo menor 150 KWH" which earned me a total deduction of C$ 315.80 this month,, leaving me a net of C$284 to pay Disnorte. I plan on buying a conventional KWH meter when I return to the US, this will give me a handle on exactly what I am actually using:

http://www.ebay.com/bhp/kwh-meter

I DO like to bring the batteries back up to full charge every day, giving Disnorte a few dollars greatly extends the life of the batteries.

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Great stuff...thank you

Interesting details. I need to get the pool water pump onto solar PV.

Doors of hope fly open when doors of promise shut. -Thomas D'Arcy McGee

That Would Be

a great application. If it's overcast one day and you didn't get as much run time as you wanted, you'd get it the next day when the sun shined. Pool isn't going to care .. .

Plus you could use the pool

Plus you could use the pool pump to wash the panels. Another thought; drip irrigation on a tin roof should cool down the interior considerably.