Solar PV in Chile

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fraggle092
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Re: Solar PV in Chile

Post by fraggle092 » Fri Oct 16, 2020 12:08 am

Britkid wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:46 pm
If you need to be 100% sure that you will never, ever have a power cut even for 5 minutes during the night after 2 weeks of the darkest possible skies then you need either an lot of batteries, a lot of panels, or a or a noisy, polluting diesel generator. So to go from "I can accept two power cuts a year" to "I can´t accept even one" is a big cost add.
Yeah. I can agree with that.
I had been mostly questioning the government scheme referred to initially, which didn't impress me much. Since I see that in fact you already have installed this bigger system that includes storage, I will look more closely through the comprehensive info provided. Appreciate it.
Bienvenidos a Chaqueteo City.

Après moi, le déluge

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Re: Solar PV in Chile

Post by admin » Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:54 am

yea, I am aware there would be all sorts of regulatory blocks to just selling to some random nieghbor, but we technically own the house next door. the titles on both houses are in my wife's name for asset protection reasons.

besides, rural south. I am sure both the prosecutors and electric company both have better things to do than pick a fight with us over what we do with excess eletricity from our solar panels. pretty certain it would not end well for them.

funny story. years ago we rented a house. first couple months we got the electric bill, and it said we used zero eletricity. thought that was strange, but o.k.

second bill with zero charge, I went to investigate. discovered the previous renter had jammed a piece of wood in to the meter wheel.

so we reported it to the regulators and the electric company. took them three months to get around to sending someone out to look at it. they documented it, took photos, etc. never heard another word about it. they never fixed it.

we moved out of that house, having never paid an electric bill. as we had properly reported it, was not our problem.

so, yea, they dont even seem all that concerned with people outright ripping them off, so doubt they are too concerned about people generating their own juice.
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Britkid
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Re: Solar PV in Chile

Post by Britkid » Sun Oct 18, 2020 5:11 pm

I thought you would say something like that!

I would some up the pros and cons of solar like this:

Pros
Climate change/pollution
Probably cheaper in the long run
Avoiding power cuts (if specified as such)

Cons
Have to pay up-front
Some hassle/time/stress invested at the start

It is a bit more complex than I thought. Having done it I reccomend to do a fair amount of research, or use a very trusted and well reccomended installer, or both.

Let me know if anyone has any questions about solar either now or in the future.

I will perhaps update this thread next year as well when I have worked out how much I saved in the first year and from there my estimated break even point can be calculated.

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Re: Solar PV in Chile

Post by Britkid » Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:12 pm

We have just completed one year exactly today since we turned on the solar panel system. See post of 15th October on previous page for info on system specs.

During that time (6th June 2020 - 6th June 2021):

We used 3800kWH of electricity and at a grid cost of 140pesos/kWh that would have cost us 532,000 pesos if we didn´t have solar PV.

Of that 616kWH (16% of total) was provided by grid electricity so we only actually spent 86,000 pesos.

That leaves 3200kWH (84% of total) was solar at a value of 446,000 per year (the extra money we would have had to pay from grid if we didn´t have panels).

The value of such a system is 3,780,345 pesos as stated in earlier posts so that gives an 8.5 year payback period i.e. break even point.

However we can increase this to 9.5 years incase there is any maintenance required or the batteries have to be replaced.

Later I will explain certain specific things about our situation so that anyone installing a system can work out their payback period from this given different situations.

It has been good to have a lot less power cuts. We still occassionally had a power outage for different reasons but they were solved by turning the inverter and a few switches off and back on again. 3-4 5 minute outages in a year is a big improvement on the huge number of power cuts we had before some of which go on for hours and hours or all day. We don´t even notice that there is a power outage in our area until we hear the sound of neighbours' generators or see them complaining about it in the whatsapp group.

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gringalais
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Re: Solar PV in Chile

Post by gringalais » Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:41 pm

Thanks for that info Britkid. We get pretty frequent power cuts here despite having underground cabling in the condominio. I know there are a lot of complaints about CGE in general. I'm thinking maybe you have CGE there too? I have been interested in exploring the solar panel option. My husband less so, but if it can help avoid outages that would be a huge selling point.

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Re: Solar PV in Chile

Post by admin » Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:47 pm

Britkid wrote:
Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:12 pm
We have just completed one year exactly today since we turned on the solar panel system. See post of 15th October on previous page for info on system specs.

During that time (6th June 2020 - 6th June 2021):

We used 3800kWH of electricity and at a grid cost of 140pesos/kWh that would have cost us 532,000 pesos if we didn´t have solar PV.

Of that 616kWH (16% of total) was provided by grid electricity so we only actually spent 86,000 pesos.

That leaves 3200kWH (84% of total) was solar at a value of 446,000 per year (the extra money we would have had to pay from grid if we didn´t have panels).

The value of such a system is 3,780,345 pesos as stated in earlier posts so that gives an 8.5 year payback period i.e. break even point.

However we can increase this to 9.5 years incase there is any maintenance required or the batteries have to be replaced.

Later I will explain certain specific things about our situation so that anyone installing a system can work out their payback period from this given different situations.

It has been good to have a lot less power cuts. We still occassionally had a power outage for different reasons but they were solved by turning the inverter and a few switches off and back on again. 3-4 5 minute outages in a year is a big improvement on the huge number of power cuts we had before some of which go on for hours and hours or all day. We don´t even notice that there is a power outage in our area until we hear the sound of neighbours' generators or see them complaining about it in the whatsapp group.
👍
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Re: Solar PV in Chile

Post by admin » Sun Jun 06, 2021 9:16 pm

so looking at your numbers, it looks like with a small increase in capacity of more panels and possibly battery, would add some bang for the peso, now that core system is installed.
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Re: Solar PV in Chile

Post by Britkid » Sun Jun 06, 2021 9:30 pm

Gringlais, yes, we have CGE.
Remember some solar systems won't work in a grid power cut, even if it is sunny! Make sure you specify what you want if you ever get one.

Admin, if we owned the house, I would expand the system and/or add a solar hot water heater. I won´t do it now because we are renting and at least for time being I don´t want to invest too huge an amount incase I end up having to sell off the system cheaply one day at a loss.

As I mentioned, my payback period or break even point is estimated at 9.5 years. Use the below notes to figure out roughly whether yours would be higher or lower.

1. We require about 335kWH pesos per month electricity. (47,000 pesos per month at 140 pesos per KWH). If you use much more (say >70,000 per month) reduce your payback period by 1 year because you can use excess summer energy and because bigger systems have better economies of scale. If you use much less (say <20,000 per month) then your economies of scale are worse so add 1 year to the payback period.
2. I have an electric car and it´s usually at home so I can just plug it in whenever it´s sunny. If you don´t plan to get one before 2025, increase your payback period by 1 year because some of the excess in the middle of the day is wasted or used or sold inefficiently.
3. I can´t sell to the grid, so some energy is wasted. If you can sell to the grid (I think most can) but at a worse rate than buying, reduce your payback period by 1-2 years. If you can sell to the grid for the same rate as buy, reduce by 3 years.
4. We are at home during the day and that´s when we vacuum, wash clothes etc. If you are mostly out during the day time (and assuming you can´t sell back to the grid at the same rate as buying), increase your payback period by one year because you will have to run the appliances in the evening so you will need more batteries.
5. I can always see the sun. Apart from a few minutes before sunset, it is never blocked off by trees, building or anything else. If your sun is blocked off for a portion of the day, your payback period will be higher.
6. My battery backup is enough for hours or 1 day of power cut in winter. Add 1 year to the payback period for each additional day of backup power required in cloudy winter weather. That´s assuming you are using 3kWH per 24 hours in emergency situation just for lights and fridge and phone chargers and internet, but with most appliances unused.
7. My electricity cost is 140 pesos/kWH. Adjust for your electricity price. If yours is only 100 pesos your payback period will be longer by a factor of (140/100), which could be 3 years longer.
8. I am not benefitting from any government subsidies or preferential rates. If you can get on the Casa Solar program or any future program, things may be better.

This is still for central Chile though. You can also do a separate adjustment for other locations. I´ll perhaps write about that another day.

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Re: Solar PV in Chile

Post by admin » Tue Jun 08, 2021 4:36 pm

Chile now has the first thermo solar power plant in latin America.

https://www.biobiochile.cl/especial/aqu ... 24-7.shtml
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Re: Solar PV in Chile

Post by admin » Tue Jun 08, 2021 4:39 pm

the strange thing about that project, is I recall reading a couple years ago that it was badly under water because the price of other renewables had come down so much. There was talk that it had been abandoned or changed hands a few times.

They started it like back in 2002, lot has happened since then in the energy markets.
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Re: Solar PV in Chile

Post by Britkid » Tue Jun 08, 2021 8:14 pm

Thanks for the news.

https://globalsolaratlas.info is a great resource for location specific info. Click anywhere on the map and it shows you how much solar power you would get per day or year. Unfortunately, it doesn´t work south of latitude 45.

At my location, I get 1730KWH/KWp per year.

Here are how those KWH/Kwp figures vary by location from north to south:

1800-1900 - Coastal cities in the north of Chile; Iquique, Arica, Antofagasta
2100-2200 - Inland north of Chile
1500-1600 - La Serena/Coquimbo
1600-2100 - La Serena region inland
1600-1650 - Vina del Mar/Valpo/Coastal RM
1700-1800 - Inland RM/Santiago
1600-1700 - Maule/Bio Bio
1200-1500 - Araucania/Los Rios/Los Lagos
800-1200 - Patagonia

Therefore, I said I had an estimated break even point of 9.5 years on the initial investment with a value of 1730. You could adjust the break even point in proportion with the energy shown on the map for your location.

e.g. Frutillar is showing 1258, so if I magically flew my house, car and solar panel system down to your garden, and if points 1-8 from my previous post remained true (can´t sell to the grid etc), then the payback period estimate can be changed as follows 9.5 x (1730/1258) = 13 years.

However, this is likely slightly optimistic because we also have to factor in that solar energy in Frutillar is not distributed as evenly throughout the year.

In the RM my summer: winter ratio is 1.6:1.

In Frutillar, your summer: winter ratio would be nearer 3:1.

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Re: Solar PV in <another place>...

Post by greg~judy » Sun Jun 13, 2021 4:38 am

greetings from afar, all allchileans...
i recently came upon this thread and might offer some opines...
g~j installed an off-grid pee~vee system that has worked quite well for us over the last 2+ years...

peevee.jpg

we have 10x 200w panels...
we have 4x 200 amp/hr <traditional> lead-acid batteries...
we have a <magic> mpp controller to make it all work...

btw - we would have preferred some lithium batteries...
but at the time, they were not locally available...
the lead-acid work fine, but will need replacement after <hopefully> 4-5 years use...?

it might be argued that total costs are ?somewhat? comparable betwixt here and there...
anyway, this system <grid-free> cost us about $4500...
at the current kwh rate from our local utility - and given our somewhat miserly consumption habits...
the payback time might arguably be 10-12 years...

ok, maybe that's too long - but, those are the tangibles costs...
you can never put a value on the intangible benefits...

i.e. just last week, the local utility did some major "servicing" and power was out for 12 hours...
g~j sat - smugly superior - through it all, as is our wont...
---> our fans still running, beers still cold, freezer still freezing, modem still working, pumps still running, etc...

fwiw, our controller is set up for SBU priority...
solar capacity (day hrs) is used as the sun/cloud may auspiciously provide...
the batteries kick to share the load in late p.m. when solar drops...
batteries can thence be used all night...
utility will kick in <if/when> the batteries discharge to a preset level...

for a few months, we went totally off-grid to experiment = certain caveats became apparent...
care and attention must be given when running only on solar/battery...
one should know exactly the load that any appliance/tool will draw...
(pumps, fridge, fans, washer, electric cooker, power tools, etc. - our shower is the biggest load)...

on a nice day, around noon, the system will put out 1000w and run anything w/solar (while the batteries maintain float charge)...
on a cloudy day, the larger loads will be shared between solar and battery...
we never run any large load in the later part of the day to ensure the batteries are fully charged before sunset...
there are no large loads we ever use at night - just house water pump, fans, lights...
our battery capacity easily handles the nocturnal load and charging resumes at sunrise...
once again, no large loads first thing in the morning...

to wit - if one wants to be totally off-grid, you will play a delicate game between in-coming and out-going...
of course, we could install twice as many panels and batteries and double our costs <and payback>...
but one needs carefully evaluate their current and anticipated power needs to choose the best compromise...

too few panels/batteries (under capacity) and you will always be back-sliding to the utility...
too many and your overcapacity will just take a longer time to pay-back...
for g~j - we put in the minimal system that allowed us to be off-grid <given our average monthly consumption>...
we just need to be mindful/careful/cognizant of what "big" loads we need to use and when...

we could be off-grid all the time, but we keep our connection to the utility...
even when we use 0 kwh from the utility - we get charged about $0.32 per month <to keep the account open>...
these days, we keep our utility connection on at night, so the batteries remain charging 100% overnight...
so we start with full charge when the solar kicks in in the morning
the lead~acid are not as "deep-cycle" as lithium - so now we like to keep them topped up (a shallower cycle) for longer life?...
this is usually at a measly cost of a few $$ a month...

btw - we cannot "sell" our excess power to the utility...
our meters cannot run "backwards"...
so on a sunny day, after all loads are figured, and the batteries are fully charged...
any "free" power is just "wasted" = que sera, sera...

to end my opines...
for any/all considering a system of only panels, no batteries...
please consider those scenarios when the grid goes down at night <or in an earthquake?>...

a battery~bank <appropriate capacity> is an essential component...
i.e. to keep you smugly superior as you withdraw those lovely watts/amps that were day-deposited in your bank...
whilst watching your neighbors revert to the "dark" ages...

dyodd, dudes...
:idea:


postscript...
now what to do about those <future> cme's and emp's...?
nasty~nasty stuff for grids <and any electronic circuits>...
another "carrington event" is getting overdue...
hmmm...?
is your solar system shielded/protected...?
you will among be the survivors...?
:|
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.
― Daniel J. Boorstin

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