Solar/Photovoltaic/Hybrid Demonstration Projects

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Nullius
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Solar/Photovoltaic/Hybrid Demonstration Projects

Post by Nullius » Wed Nov 03, 2010 4:08 pm

A previous and very mixed-topic thread had discussed, with some occasional and unnecessary acrimony, the developments in photovoltaic-related projects in Chile. There has been past interest by several forum members in off-grid living so I hope this can evolve into a thread of some utility.

Since the first postings on the subject, I've looked into updating the original proposals for the active-solar house outside Osorno. I see that insolation and latitude factors even further south didn't prevent some photovoltaic installations in Chiloé .

It turns out there is a guy called Franco Aceituno Gandolfo (what a great name!) who is in charge of Chile's rural electrification demonstration projects. Their "most basic" project is on a scale much smaller that our Osorno project -- not even enough to power a refrigerator or sewing machine. But hey, it's a demo, a proof-of-principle program. We don't have enough information on the components to know how scaleable this approach might be.

I swiped some images from a powerpoint presentation but the restriction of 500 pixel width makes the details hard to see. The first illustration is misleading from a technical standpoint because it does not show the inverter (nominal ~12-13 VDC charge to ~220 VAC line power). The inverter cost is shown as about 30 percent of the component costs for the most basic system, or about USD500. These demo systems do not tie into a grid or network.

Note that these projects and costs are provided by government subsidies and are not representative of the costs that the rural inhabitants pay (in effect, taxes on copper exports pay for these projects). These "most basic" installation component costs run about USD1600-2400 and use a single small battery for storage, which allows low-wattage lighting and limited use of other AC appliances. Labor, transportation, and engineering costs were not identified.

Image

Another remote-rural electrification project was cited in Aceituno's report, using an off-grid small-community hybrid system including solar panels, battery bank storage, and diesel-electric backup generation. The system serves 18 families and costs USD90,000 (hardware), or about USD5000 per family, plus operating and maintenance costs (diesel fuel, maintenance, battery replacement, etc). Unloaded cost per kW is about USD 0.40 but this does not account for investment/debt-service and maintenance costs.

Info only. Other opinions and observations will vary.

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Re: Solar/Photovoltaic/Hybrid Demonstration Projects

Post by admin » Wed Nov 03, 2010 4:30 pm

This site for all things solar and lots of DIY projects:
http://www.builditsolar.com/

One that I am fascinated in trying are the solar composting greenhouse water heater. It is basic yard waist inside essentially a greenhouse with tubes running through it.

Way too much information on the subject here, but you can get the idea:
http://mb-soft.com/public3/globalzb.html

This is likly the most direct and simple explanation of it with photos, and it was done in Portland with similar climate to the South of Chile:
http://www.appropedia.org/Composting_gr ... riginal%29

They have been used to heat greenhouses for growing, but also for hot water, and even radiant floor heating.

A 5,000 square meter lot, mowed say every 3 weeks, likly produces sufficient yard waist to 0 the energy use of an insulated house. There was one done in Wisconsin also I seen, that they brought their winter heating bill to 0.
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Re: Solar/Photovoltaic/Hybrid Demonstration Projects

Post by nwdiver » Wed Nov 03, 2010 4:48 pm

For alt energy info check out:

http://homepower.com/home/

it is the best source available online. If you are interested subscribe to the magazine or get the DVD of back issues, they have hundreds of schemata of real world installations.
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Re: Solar/Photovoltaic/Hybrid Demonstration Projects

Post by admin » Wed Nov 03, 2010 6:11 pm

Down south I would go with a combination of all of the above and then some. When the sun is not shining, you have wind. When you have no wind or sun, you got geo-thermal, and so on.

I am more about being cheap and reliable, than being green. Green for me is more a fascinating intellectual exercise than an ethical one. I just find it fun to work out better mouse traps.

Besides that if you live in a rural (or urban) area where storms or an earthquake for instance might leave you with no electricity, or cost of energy overall might go up in the future it all makes sense.
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Re: Solar/Photovoltaic/Hybrid Demonstration Projects

Post by Gringo Pillo » Wed Nov 03, 2010 6:39 pm

Interesting ideas

Composting is not new to me because in Finland nearly every house has an insulated compost (mandatory to separate biological waste)

However the use of this heat to warm water is interesting. Probably the gasoline consumption to mow a 5000 m2 yard is more than the energy you get from the compost.


http://www.heliplast.cl has prices of many equipment including windmills and water powered generators.

Has the idea of making biogas at home spread in chile? in the south we have wood but this could be useful in the north?

http://www.careindia.co.nr/

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Re: Solar/Photovoltaic/Hybrid Demonstration Projects

Post by Nullius » Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:40 pm

Actually I was hoping that we might focus on what is available and happening in photovoltaic systems and materials available in Chile rather than what is going on outside of Chile. There is a wealth of material outside of Chile but what really matters is what we can find down here. If an inverter costs US$50 in California, and the same inverter is US$500 in Chile, then we need to know the local costs and availabilities.

Likewise there is material available on the politics of solar energy in Chile, government regulations and whatnot, that may be of use to potential builders here.

Some numbers released through the Chilean government agency on renewables in this country, regarding comparisons of cost for operation of various power generation sources over 20 year period:

Average cost per MWh of electricity:

Hydro USD 44.50
Wind USD 100.30
Solar USD 323.80


Price list for typical costs in Chile for components

http://www.heliplast.cl/lista_de_precio ... recios.pdf

Price for a single solar panel with nominal 5.6 amps at unregulated 17.8 vdc is about USD 470 each, incl IVA
10 amp regulator for photovoltaic system about USD 200
Inverter 500 watts 12 vdc to 230 VAC about USD 700
Pure sine wave inverter 12vdc to 230 vac about USD 250
Gel battery (AGM) deep cycle 105 AH 12 vdc nominal USD450 each

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Re: Solar/Photovoltaic/Hybrid Demonstration Projects

Post by pinguin » Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:09 pm

Perhaps, developing the means to produce our own parts, or import them from China, could help.
In fact, Chile should invest in developing and mass producing this technology. After all, it is a long term investment that will save the country a lot of money.

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Re: Solar/Photovoltaic/Hybrid Demonstration Projects

Post by Nullius » Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:32 pm

pinguin wrote:Perhaps, developing the means to produce our own parts, or import them from China, could help.
In fact, Chile should invest in developing and mass producing this technology. After all, it is a long term investment that will save the country a lot of money.
Many of those components are already made in China. I suspect that the major cost drivers are combination of high cost of transport, import tariff based on CIF, IVA, and retail markup of 150% or more.

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Re: Solar/Photovoltaic/Hybrid Demonstration Projects

Post by pinguin » Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:42 pm

A Margin that can be driven down by importing the stuff in containers brought by ships, rather than one by one by plane.

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Re: Solar/Photovoltaic/Hybrid Demonstration Projects

Post by Nullius » Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:26 pm

pinguin wrote:A Margin that can be driven down by importing the stuff in containers brought by ships, rather than one by one by plane.

Most of the suppliers already use ocean container shipment with resupply every few months. If an item is not in stock and needed by a customer, this company will arrange for expedited shipment at client cost.

More than anything else that affects consumer price on these item is the high markup at the retail level.

For example, the "Generador AIR X marine 400 Watt 12 Volt" wind turbine is listed for retail in Chile at about USD 2200. The shipping cost to Chile is about USD 100 by special order. The same item sells in the US at retail for less than USD 800 and the precio por mayor is about USD 500.

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Re: Solar/Photovoltaic/Hybrid Demonstration Projects

Post by admin » Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:28 pm

Gringo Pillo wrote:Interesting ideas

Composting is not new to me because in Finland nearly every house has an insulated compost (mandatory to separate biological waste)

However the use of this heat to warm water is interesting. Probably the gasoline consumption to mow a 5000 m2 yard is more than the energy you get from the compost.


http://www.heliplast.cl has prices of many equipment including windmills and water powered generators.

Has the idea of making biogas at home spread in chile? in the south we have wood but this could be useful in the north?

http://www.careindia.co.nr/

what appeals to me about it, and I know it is no silver bullet, is that it would be relatively easy to convince many people in rural areas to try it because they already have similar greenhouses. Very common in the Patagonia in fact. mowing a lawn is one thing, but imagine you live in a one room shack burning wood on a 1,000 hectare ranch down south, or even a 10 hectare ranch, raising sheep, cattle or whatever. The potential energy growing around you is nearly unlimited, relative to the needs to heat a house. Especially if you consider a call to the gas guy might take a month for a new tank of propane (most use wood for cooking and hot water by the way). so, simply the yard clippings from a relatively urban lot is sufficient, down south where larger properties are the norm has big potential. Large properties, lots of biomass available, easily built, easy to understand (we are talking often people with 8th grade and below educations but experts in farming), works in wet and cloudy environments (temps do not get Wisconsin cold accept in the mountains and way down south).

the first thing I thought about when I read the descriptions was all the piles and piles of rotting hay I see in Southern Chile that they can not feed to the cows for whatever reason. Mostly because it was harvested wet. That is perfect, cheap, and free fuel that once broken down at 10 times the rate of rotting in the field, can be used as fertilizer.

I thought combining one of those systems with a simple pre-solar water heater (likly best on the way in to the house, to add another say 50 F over ambient), and then sinking the pipes outbound from the the house about 5-6 feet under ground (50-70 F constant geo temp), would likly bring a constant return water temp of over 200+ F without a lot of work or materials for the life of a house. Most of the experiments I looked at said that a constant 130 - 150 F could be reached with adding materials about every 3 months, and some up to 6 months. combined, it should be low work high return.

Regarding imports, all the solar panels, winmills, and so on are all sold in Chile. You just got to do your homework. There is a place on the highway south of Puerto Varas that specializes in renewable energy including windmills and other solutions. As I understand a gringo owns it (will investigate).
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Re: Solar/Photovoltaic/Hybrid Demonstration Projects

Post by pinguin » Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:39 pm

Nullius wrote:
pinguin wrote:A Margin that can be driven down by importing the stuff in containers brought by ships, rather than one by one by plane.

Most of the suppliers already use ocean container shipment with resupply every few months. If an item is not in stock and needed by a customer, this company will arrange for expedited shipment at client cost.

More than anything else that affects consumer price on these item is the high markup at the retail level.

For example, the "Generador AIR X marine 400 Watt 12 Volt" wind turbine is listed for retail in Chile at about USD 2200. The shipping cost to Chile is about USD 100 by special order. The same item sells in the US at retail for less than USD 800 and the precio por mayor is about USD 500.
Here you got a business opportunity, then. Quite interesting.

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