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Can you get a solar power installation for your home to totally power all your electrical needs (including AC) in CR?

 

Any idea as to price and is it advisable given the weather (I'm looking on the Pacific coast) and the apparent potential for thieves?

 

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There is a large condo building in jaco that's adding solar. If you message me with your email address, I will send you the information I have.

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Take time to visit for an extended period, seeing what areas may suit you best before making any decisions

It is important to check out in person, any property and location before making a purchase. It may be hard to get enough run a home including AC on solar power. Potential thieves live all over the country...no place is exempt.

.

Just saw the comment regarding existing buildings adding solar, as the cost of electricity can be very high when AC is used....especially on the coast.

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It is almost a certainty that you can produce enough electricity through photovoltaic panels to provide a home's electrical needs. The only question is whether there is enough exposed roof or surrounding real estate for the panel installation.

 

The issue is whether you're prepared to make the necessary investment in PV panels and an array of batteries to store electricity for nighttime use. The cost of solar panels has come down considerably, but still an installation large enough to meet a home's entire consumption needs, including air conditioning in a coastal area, won't be cheap.

 

Just what that cost might be will depend upon too many factors for anyone here to conjecture upon. You'll have to figure out what your demand will be, add in a "fudge" factor, and then go shopping.

 

We have a "grid-tied" system which works very well for us to reduce our cash cost for electricity. If you're interested in some of those details, please let me know.

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I agree with david c murray in with a possible exception of AC. we are doing solar and have researched this like crazy. we are having AC wired, but not installing it up front and we can see being neutral to a little negative on our usage. where you are, what you are running and how much space (and $$$) you have available is key.

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Savannahjo, my point was that if you have unlimited space, money, and solar exposure, you'll be able to do it all. Question is, are you prepared to make the investment up front?

 

The guy who has installed and upgraded our system (twelve PV panels grid-tied) has done installations of at least thirty-two panels. That'll make a lot of electricity and probably enough, in most areas, to support air conditioning . . . if you've got the bucks up front.

 

I'm not sure there's a practical limit to the number of panels you could install (except for that pesky cost issue).

 

 

Edited by David C. Murray

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I believe that installing solar energy systems to be a good and practical thing, and even eventually a perhaps necessary thing.

 

But in these discussions I have never seen any discussion for how one will be going to protect their solar installation from having portions of the system from being stolen, what with the proclivity in CR for items to just up and 'disappear' mysteriously.

 

Regards,

 

Paul M.

==

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Solar panels would hardly be a lucrative target for thieves. First, they're usually pretty inaccessible up on the roof, and they're bolted down. Second, they'd be unwieldy to handle and transport. And third, the "resale" market for them would be very limited. The stolen panels would have to be installed by someone who had a clue about what he was doing, and if grid-tied, ICE or another utility would have to be involved.

 

Sure, it could happen, but I think there are lots of much more attractive targets for thieves.

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Perhaps so, David, but what about the battery (storage) banks? Wouldn't they be an attractive target?

 

And if one were located in an isolated area -which could be why they did the solar installation- and had to leave for a week or so suddenly without time to arrange for a house sitter, well.....

Anyhow that is the way my mind was running.

 

Regards,

 

Paul M.

==

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A bank of storage batteries would be a similarly unattractive target. Devilishly heavy, who'd want them anyway? And how would thieves transport them?

 

Going up on a roof to unbolt and disconnect a heavy, cumbersome and relatively low value panel so that you could then somehow get it off the roof in one piece, would be a daunting task. Thieves may not be the superstars of the intelligensia, but they're not utterly stupid. They're much more likely to go after your TV, computer, and other stuff that's high value, light, compact, not bolted down, and for which there is a likely demand.

 

Of course, if you're just looking for something to obsess about, this or Fukishima(sp?) or Putin unleashing his nuclear arsenal will do equally well.

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..... if you're just looking for something to obsess about .....

 

No, not really, but it is a different culture and a different cost of living, so the value of such things could be worth the effort in CR.

 

Actually I did see what might be considered a similar example: There was a vacant house across the street rom Casa Canada where ARCR's offices are downtown. This was about two years ago, but I had occasion to visit ARCR four or five times over the space of about a month. During that time the vacant house across the street was very slowly cannibalized, bit by bit. Each visit there was a little more of it gone. On the last two visits to ARCR, when it didn't look like there was any thing else worth taking from what was left on the one visit there was an old guy pulling wooden lath off the walls and on the last visit it was wiring that he was pulling out of the walls. Once he got a great big bundle of stuff he hauled it off on his back down the street. No one seemed to pay any attention to him.

 

Then I left CR and came back about a month later and eventually visited ARCR again. By then all that was left of the house was the foundation. And now that lot has been made into a paved, fenced parking-lot, which is convenient to Casa Canada across the street from it.

 

Just FWIW . . .

 

Paul M.

==

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You can eliminate battery banks and the cost by installing a grid tied system. This basically turns the meter in reverse. In our system our goal was to bring our overall electrical cost down . If you look at the kwh cost on ICE or other electrical providers you will note that residential power costs less for the first 200kwh. We live in a climate where we do not need A/C, so it is easier to use closer to the 200 kwh per month Then the price per kwh goes up after that level of usage. In my opionion the most cost effective first step is solar water heating. Then efficiency of appliances and lights. Much depends on what limitations you have with house and systems designs.

Security solution? Make sure that your property is occupied at all times. Good neighbors. Motion sensor lights. Secure walls or fences on the property perimeters. Luck.

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We're with you, chunchie2. We, too, have a grid-tied system. Aside from the environmental benefits, its real attraction is to reduce our billed usage to or below that 200kwh threshold per month and it has. Without making any lifestyle changes, last month's bill was under c17,000 but understand that, like you, we have neither A/C nor heat.

 

An engineer I know who builds some homes here has a customer who has done some in-depth research. He's concluded that it's better to put your money on photovoltaic production versus water heating and to use you grid-tied PV system to power on-demand electric water heaters. Wish I'da thoughta that! It would have eliminated a bunch of plumbing and gotten rid of the storage tank in our bodega.

 

Our solar water heating system cost about $2,300 to install and we've had a couple of repairs. At today's prices, $2,300 would buy about four 250 watt PV panels to add to an existing array. Another 1,000 watts of energy would supply all the hot water you need and, if you don't need it, your electricity bill would be lower still.

 

Wish I'da thoughta that!

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We have a 40 gallon electric tank which is the storage for the solar water panel. I built it using basic technology. The electric tank is turned on when we have several cloudy days. One important clarification is to know the entrance water temperature. If nothing else having a storage tank that preheats the water from the entrance temp to room temperature will improve the efficiency of any system. Our tank is in an insulated closet with an insulated cover on the tank. The collector is just outside on the roof at a lower level. It is a convection flow system .

 

To s attempt to stay around the 200 Kwh/month level we use led lighting. We hang out laundry in an specially desinged laundry room, and use a Tico style washer. We pay on average C30000. My family consists of 5 people and on our system we have a small guest house which is occupied year round by one adult. Our solar photovoltaic system cost about $1200. Our water collector/panel cost about $150 The water electric water tank we purchased used for $40. I will be adding more capacity to the photovoltaic system to get us closer to the 200 kwh monthly use.

 

We had the advantage of being able to direct the desing of our home. With the guest house we have 250 M2, which includes 3 bathrooms.

Edited by chunchie2

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