Are Solar Panels Practical for Costa Rican Homes?

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    The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Solar panels are acclaimed as one of the primary options to encourage responsible energy consumption in homes. However, the process to achieving a 100% successful energy solution with this technology is not as simple as many believe.

    The largest solar panel can provide 400 watt of power instantaneously, but only if you are in Liberia, Guanacaste in midsummer.

    Sergio Morales, assistant coordinator of the Electronic Systems Laboratory for Sustainability Technological Institute of Costa Rica (TEC), said that a typical kitchen can consume disk at time 2,000 W.

    “You can do the calculation. If you have ten 70 watt bulbs in your house, than these lights consume more than the panel can produce. That’s why we see solutions where panels have many positions to produce an acceptable amount of energy,” quoted the expert.

    In relation to power, not so much the voltage, making a decision to install a solar panels is about cost, which is between $2,000 and $5,000 (between 1 and 1.5 million colones).

    “In the morning it produces much less power than in the afternoon. All that will influence what is called instantaneous power. It all depends on the location, weather conditions and the time of year,” said Morales.

    For instance, if you have a photovoltaic system in Guanacaste during the summer, between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm, it would be producing 400 watts instantly. However, if the panel is connected to the outlet where the clothes iron is being used, the energy produced would be consumed in just five minutes.

    “We recommend that the house lights must be changed to incandescent fluorescent lighting as a first stage. Try this for two or three months, to determine how much the electric bill goes down and make note of the other devices in the house. After that process, re-evaluate how much the electric bill goes down,” says the engineer.

    “Many buy for fashion, not so much because they need it or because they solve a problem. Sometimes it is advisable to make a small investment to change lighting and then think about investing in a photovoltaic panel,” concluded Morales.

    The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (Aresep) will have a proposal later this year that will allow people to have solar panels on their homes to sell surplus energy each month. (Crhoy)

    The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

    San Jose, Costa Rica

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