solar power?

quaqualita

Member
Feb 4, 2002
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hi,
after living 8 years here in the DR, I'm getting tired of the power situation in this country and high electric bills. Now I'm thinking about switching to solar energy.
I allready got a propane water heater and a propane fridge. I also have a 1.5 Inverter with 4 batteries, which runs lights, TV and fans for quite a long time.
My thought is now to get solar cells to charge the batteries of my inverter instead they get charged with 'street power' (if there is any).
Does anybody have experience with solar power here in the DR?
Would be two 50W solar cell efficent enough to fully charge my batteries to run the whole house on it? Where is the best place to purchase solar cells? I live at the Northcoast and checked out allready a place in Sosua called Soluz - sounds pretty expensive, is there a cheaper place somewhere elso, maybe in Santiago or Santo Domingo?
Since the government announced lately to support solar energy, is there a way to get the cells cheaper now? and if yes, where?
I really would appreciate any comments before I make such a big purchase. Thanks!
quaqualita
 

sjh

aka - shadley
Jan 1, 2002
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my guess is you will need a bare minimum of 400 Ws of panels..

In theory you can import cells free of duty.


Any info on where to purchase in the DR and how much would be very useful to me too
 

Hillbilly

Moderator
Jan 1, 2002
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I think I might have some excellent news for you.
At first, I thought that your major problem was going to be one of cost versus life expectancy of the panals. This is not so much a problem any more.

Please email : e.fajardo@codetel.net.do or call him at (1)370 5225, he speaks English and Spanish...

You are going to be looking at solar panals that have a life expectancy of 25 years and batteries with a 7 year guarantee! this was unknown just two years ago...

You will have to know the consumption of your house, but let me say I applaud your initiative!!

HB, who has no bone in this soup!
 

AZB

Platinum
Jan 2, 2002
12,269
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Go to M&M ferreteria (hardware) store on Av. Bartolome colon in santiago. They have a solar panal setup there, complete with huge batteries and connections. Let me tell you, its not cheap but seems promising. They have a 50 W and 75W panals for about RD$12K each (75w).
I am not an expert on solar energy as I have never used it, ever in my life but being a former electrical engineer I can tell you that you would have to calculate your consumption during day and night time then get a set of panals which would exceed your current requirement when you have the load connected. If you have no load connected then you can charge the batteries with less power but remember, the weaker the panals or the sun light the less current would be produced and longer it would take for the 4 batteries to charge up. Theoretically speaking its a good idea but I am afraid it wont be as cheap or reliable, especially if you have no electricity knowledge.
 

quaqualita

Member
Feb 4, 2002
301
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solar energy

thanks to all of you for the great info.
HB, sounds very interesting I will call him. AZB, great I will check out this Ferreteria in Santiago. Here in Sosua at Soluz I could get for RD 9100.- a 50W panel ( I would need at least 2 I think), so maybe this is such a bad deal like I first thought.
HB, do you use yourself solar energy? If yes, what are your experiences? Did you buy the panel here in DR or in the US and brought them here?
My 'goal' is to get totally independent for my power source. But since we couldn't affort to switch to only solar power at once, we started step by step to replace household items with aternative power source. When we needed a new fridge, we got a propane fridge. Same with the water heater, we have a really great propane endless hot water heater. We installed a 850 Gallon waterball on the roof, however I still need a waterpump to get the water up there.
So now I'm at the step getting an alternative for the 'rest' : lights, fans, TV, computer and washing machine. I do not own a microwave and don't need a hair blower.
So, I don't think, that we would need that much solar panels, it should be affordable for us to go for solar now, I hope.

Let the sun shine!
quaqualita
 

sjh

aka - shadley
Jan 1, 2002
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here is an odd little fact i picked up on the internet... For some strange reason lead acid batteries go bad far more quickly when stored sitting on concrete.

The doesnt seem to be a clear reason why this happens and i havent proved it myself...
 

Tom F.

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Jan 1, 2002
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Solar panels retail prices go for about US$7/watt in the DR at Soluz. There are three other suppliers in the Capital and sometimes have product at US$6/watt, but most of the time they were close to the US$7/watt. If they are tax free, you should see a reduction in the future of about US$40 per 50watt panel. US$350 is what it costs to have them available in the DR. They are guarenteed for 10 years. You could get solar panels over the internet for under US$5/watt. I do not know what shipping would cost.

You have the whole system set up and can easily caculate how many solar panels you would need or just increase your battery bank so your inverter charges up a larger storage capacity. You may need a better charger to take better advantage when the power is on. Two 50 watt panels will give you about 400-500 watt hours of electricity a day. You also have to caculate the cost of the mounting materials and a good sturdy wire and a control box of some sort.

I used to manage Soluz. Prices are high, but quality is good and it is a reputable company. It is a difficult business environment when you play by the rules and pay all your taxes. They have been around for close to 20 years and have focused on providing service to the rural farmer. The expat market never really developed due to the need of large, expensive systems. Most of us are not prepared to spend US$10,000-$20,000 to be completely independent from the grid. Soluz has more than 3000 customers with purchased or rented systems which cost US$700. I don't know anyone getting rich selling solar services in the DR. Most are having trouble even making money.

Solar is still a good option if you are caculating the 20-25 year life span of a solar panel. You can always start out with 2 panels and work your way up to 8 or 10 if you have the funds. At that point, you may need a larger invertor. Most 6 volt batteries go for 3-5 years. Where did you hear about the 7 year guarentee Hillbilly?

I used to live with about 300 watts of panel and a solar refrigerator using 150 watts. Had plenty for music, lights, washing machine but limited use of the fan. I only had 4, 6 volt batteries, which limited my capacity to store some energy when I was away for a day or two.
 

Hillbilly

Moderator
Jan 1, 2002
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The new panels have a 25 year life and the batterys are supposed to be 12 year deep cycle, so the company gives a 7 year guarantee. All this is the latest technoolgy from Europe and these folks are the importers, so they have good prices...I knew you were around and hoped you would get in on this....This is a new company with lots of new stuff and all alternative energy--Wind and solar...
I am going to look at a couple of the patteries for the cigar factory and see how much and so forth...Since I know the folks -one for nearly 40 years and the other since he was born, I think they might be pretty good....Both are engineers...civil and electro mechanical and very solid...
As for your question quaqualita: Our place at the beach is independant of the Ede Norte. Solar for everything. BUT we are not there 24/7...I am hoping to get a 12 v and propane fridge so we are even better equipped...

HB
 

Barnabe

New member
Dec 20, 2002
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Hello everybody here.

I was last month in SD and reading the Listin diario I came across a paper about SolarTec from Sd setting up solar panels in rural areas.

They were quoting (unbelievable..) RD$7000 for a simple house, including TV. And I was not drunk...

I know these people are on the Kennedy.

Barnab?
 

mondongo

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Jan 1, 2002
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Hillbilly, I would be interested in learning more about this company from Europe. If the information becomes available to you, would you mind posting any technical details regarding these solar panels (maybe company name)?

thanks,
mondongo
 

Tom F.

Bronze
Jan 1, 2002
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This is Tecsol. It is a Spanish company who has partnered with the owners of Meteoro battery. Four years back, they were going to assemble panels in the DR with imported Spanish parts. The offer made to the rural communities is an attempt to increase the ability for rural families to use the technology. They need a minimum number of interested families to begin installing and then there are additional payments for a period of time. Soluz uses the lease/rental model. Less money up front by the user. This takes more capital. We did have to take the battery out of the package and hold the user responsible for their storage.

Solelec is also in the Capital and is French. Nice guy manages the company and they have good product. Oscar Torres at Cogram is the other supplier in the country. He respresents Siemans in the country and is also very good at what he does.

All four have good products and if you go buy 2-6 modules(panels), you will find their prices similiar. Solelec and Tecsol seem to find ways to undercut the prices somewhat.

Hillbilly, Sounds very interesting. Soluz is part of a group called Global Transition Group led by Richard Hansen. The idea is to set up a model without the need for government subsidies to use worldwide. Right now the Honduran model shows more hope primarily because of the cooperation of the government. He is involved with the World Bank on financing renewable business activities around the globe. The DR has been a tough place to do business.
 
T

TiberiusMineola

Guest
Solar generated electricity as a supplement to public power? Feasible?

This thread is most interesting. There is a solar energy supplier in Puerto Plata - Castalex Inversiones, 27 de Febrero # 12; 586 3371. I don't know anything @ this co; I read its recent newspaper ad. Any experiences with Castalex? Also, is it possible to use solar power as a part time substitue for public power when the solar is available? Does this reduce the power bill? Does the technology exist? Feasible? Practical? Experiences? Suggestions? Thank you.
 

Hillbilly

Moderator
Jan 1, 2002
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Mondongo: I will certainly post as much information as soon as I get it. As this thread developed, i called this collegue at the university. Just about two weeks ago we had met in the halls and he told me about his new company...When I saw the thread, i called him for more info. I'll talk to him tomorrow and see what's up...
HB
 

BushBaby

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Jan 1, 2002
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Hey HB, please keep me in mind for update info too. Should be getting a bit of spare in a month or two & would LOVE to do EdeNorte out of their excessive profits!!!
BTW, what happened to our meeting today?? Went to the course & no HB to be seen!! Decided to play badly just to annoy & get back at you!!! Back to 94 again!! - Grahame.
 

Chris

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Oct 21, 2002
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I see a few references to propane refrigeration in this thread. Where does one buy a propane fridge? And hot water cylinder? We're also starting the investigative process to move to solar and propane in order to get a little independent.
 

quaqualita

Member
Feb 4, 2002
301
3
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solar power and propane fridge

hi Chis,
in Puerto Plata is a store, where they sell propane fridges (just after the Brugal factory on the right hand side). However, when we checked, they had only one propane fridge there and it was a little damaged on the outside from transport. And, still very expensive: 27.000 RD$. We were lucky and got a used propane fridge in a very good condition for less than half of that price.
Thanks to everybody giving me here so much information on my solar power questions!
quaqualita