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Off-Grid works just fine

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  • Off-Grid works just fine

    In 2004 we built a small Eco-hotel in the south of Mexico. The entire 8 room plus house are all off the grid. The system has worked very well providing sufficient power for TV, DVD and refrigerators in each room. Also powers satellite Internet and communications.

    Our system consists of a 180 watt x 18 =3240 watt array and an Outback Charge controller. The system is supplement with a Southwest wind Whisper 200. Which charges an array of 16 Rolls 6 volt batteries in a 48-volt array. Power is converted thru 2 5,000 watt Xantrex inverters putting out 240 volts.

    For back-up on cloudy days and for battery equalization a 25,000 watt 4 cylinder liquid cooled Kobota diesel generator. The generator is 1 and years old and has been run only 200 hours.

    Most of the experience has a lot of trial and some error. But overall the experience has been very good. Our guests are mostly unaware of where the power comes from.

    At 18 degree north latitude and located on the Caribbean it is an ideal location for both solar and wind power. Plenty of cloud free days and winds that average 12 mph all the time.

    Had considered a larger wind turbine (Bornay from Spain) on a 75 foot tower. But, have talked myself out of that hurricanes. At over 200 pounds a bit too much to lower from a tower by myself. But, may supplement with additional solar panels.

    The most important thing is power management. Use only CFL's and LED lights. For the guest rooms, refrigerators are on a power management system use Z-wave modules and computer program to run a 'rolling blackout' of the units while everyone sleeps.

    The entire inverter system is tied into my computer network and all functions can be monitored via internet via Maui Solar software.

  • #2
    Crocs,

    This is an amazing overview of your solar & wind system. Can you share some pictures? We truly appreciate your input and your experience here.

    I agree with you 100% that in addition to Alternative energy, we need to look at reducing energy consumption through the use of

    • Energy Management
    • Low consumption appliances and light bulbs (LEDs are the lowest cin consumption and best for that purpose).
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    • #3
      Pictures

      I'll dig up a few pictures and post.

      Also mention that I salvaged a few solar panels that were blown from the roof during a direct hit from Cat 5 hurricane Dean. Hurricanes are not to friendly to roof mounted devices such as PV panels and wind turbines.

      Used a salvaged panel (180 watt) to power all of our low voltage lights for path and parking lot ( had used a plug in transformer before). Actually it is a very good small PV system to learn the basics. One solar panel - One charge controller specifically made for light control (Morninstar), and 2 deep cycle batteries. Custom built all the path lights using Hella sealed LED marine lights in amber - use less than 1 watt each. Power up about 20 of the path lights plus an 120 LED floodlight for our sign and the best is the 18 watt low pressure sodium light which runs on 12 volts DC for th eparking area. Much better than those stick in the ground LED path light from the Home D Store.

      You can check out our current wind and solar radiation (watt/M2)
      Weather Station History : Weather Underground

      PS - if look real close on the bottom left of the picture is my 2.4 meter satellite dish (gotta have the toys too).

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      • #4
        Sounds wonderful

        Can I come stay at your place. :)

        How did you ever decide to make that transition? Plus I would love to see the pictures also.

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        • #5
          Oh yeah, how do we find out more about your hotel and availability of rooms?
          Web store: Sadoun Sales International

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          • #6
            Transition

            Well, the decision was easy as there are no utilities outside of town. It was a business decision - to offer all the good stuff any other place might have. The town ( about 3 miles away) was just provided with grid power a fewe years ago.

            I look forward to grid power only to be able to sell back excess power - net metering. Electric runs about $0.33 per kwh - so pay back is fairly good.

            While not alternate energy - all of our water is collected from rain water. All of the roof surfaces drain into cisterns - 2 cisterns of about 15,000 gallons and one of 8,000 gallons. The cisterns have only been full twice in 4 years. Once was after huricane Dean - but we had to pump them dry as the water was contaminated with salt water.

            I will post some pic as soon as I figure out how to get them in here.

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            • #7
              Did you make the cisterns yourself or bought them? Glad to see you posting here. Welcome.
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