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Post by lobita on Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:09 pm

I found this story about the rapid progress of solar energy in Australia to be interesting:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/07/solar-has-won-even-if-coal-were-free-to-burn-power-stations-couldnt-compete
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Post by Mainecoons on Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:29 pm

It works like a champ, particularly at night!

Actually, it depends on connection to a grid that has baseline power generation. Minor detail.

We have an 18 panel solar system and thanks to CFE providing power at night and baseline support when it is constantly cloudy, it is a real money saver for us. However, if a whole lot of people do this, they will have to start charging us for connection to the grid and night time power.

There's no free lunch in the energy world.
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Post by Rosa Venus on Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:22 pm

Only glanced at the article, but when we moved here in 2008, it didn't seem like there were any solar provider companies locally. Now it seems like there is a new one every month.
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Post by lobita on Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:37 pm

The article mentions local battery storage, for those people going off the grid.
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Post by Mainecoons on Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:22 am

Yes it does, but most are still on the grid.  If someone came up with some really good batteries, this could be the wave of the future.  All you'd really need to add are the batteries and some sort of emergency back up generator.

Renewable energy is great, as I noted, we have a good sized system.  But it is not nearly as demand flexible as fossil fuels or nuclear.  Weather can really screw it up, for example our power generation has dropped quite a lot as a result of all these cloudy days.

Obviously we believe it has its place, which is why we have a system.  Temporary cloudy problems notwithstanding, solar electric really works at Lake Chapala.
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Post by Mainecoons on Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:35 am

Maybe Pete Johansen will weigh in here, I believe he has a system with battery backup.

Eventually, a lot of people in sunny climes could go off grid.
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Post by Flamingo on Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:43 pm

I have been reading about interesting new battery technologies that are coming down the pike. Countries like Germany are converting at a mind-blowing pace so I expect innovation in related items such as battery backup will follow.

OutBack makes special hybrid inverters for just this purpose.

After 3 - or was it 4 - electrical outages in just the last month, I'd love to say adios to CFE.

https://gigaom.com/2014/07/09/at-a-big-solar-show-batteries-take-center-stage/
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Post by Playaboy on Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:11 am

I know several people that live off the grid in Qroo.  Their properties are on remote beach areas not served by CFE.  They use a combination of solar, wind, batteries, inverters, and generator.  There houses are wired differently than normal.  All the lighting is 12v.  The refrigerators are propane. Very little is 120v.

15 years ago I knew people living off the grid in northern California.  They never lacked for any of the modern conveniences in life.

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Post by Zedinmexico on Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:58 am

Batteries are expensive and require extensive maintenance unless you buy AGM batteries which are even more  expensive. I had three of four battery based systems on my truck ( for running vaccine fridge) and remote homes.  New smart chargers make batteries easier to deal with.  Wet batteries can have recovery caps installed that save half to two thirds of the water normally evaporated as part of cycling process which saves much work adding water. Decisions made on how far down you take the batteries can extend or shorten life of batteries. Not sure I want to play with batteries anymore.  Also for peak efficiency equalizing ones batteries requires a special charger which extends the life of the batteries.  I have a original AGM battery from Optima (AGM) which still had 90% of its maximum charge after 20 years due to proper use, moderate discharging and equalization so all cells have same voltage output. Be aware when charging wet batteries the cells output water vapor (moderately acidic) and hydrogen (boom)so wet batteries must be vented to outside. AGM batteries eliminate these problems for the most part. Avoid Gel batteries like the plague an example would be plane batteries.  AGM had all the advantages of Gels without the fragileness of Gels. To get an idea of cost check out Trojan (brand name) 6 volt golf car wet batteries which are usually wired to supply 12 , 24, or 48 volts DC to inverter for AC use or direct hookup  for use with house/vehicle DC system. A good judgement is you have half the rating of the battery below this you really speed up the loss of capacity over time. So a 250Ah battery has 125Ah for use to cycle up and down.

Yes batteries are great but require much more work than a grid tie system and last but not least batteries are very very heavy and costly.  My 12V 250Ah AGM battery weighed 161lbs for one!
I think I paid 400$ years ago for one.
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Post by CanuckBob on Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:26 am

Mainecoons wrote:It works like a champ, particularly at night!

Actually, it depends on connection to a grid that has baseline power generation.  Minor detail.

We have an 18 panel solar system and thanks to CFE providing power at night and baseline support when it is constantly cloudy, it is a real money saver for us.  However, if a whole lot of people do this, they will have to start charging us for connection to the grid and night time power.

There's no free lunch in the energy world.

I don't think you will have to worry for quite some time. Unlike Australia, the average Mexican citizen cannot afford a solar system or even come close at this point.
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Post by CHILLIN on Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:40 am

Optima batteries are only manufactured in Mexico now - but it doesn't seem to have lowered the street price too much.

I have researched micro hydro too - there is a lot of opportunity in Mexico even though many of the streams are seasonal. Even seasonal can quickly produce a big bag of CFE credits (which unfortunately you can't officially sell). These micro hydros have become a big, lucrative deal in British Columbia - lots of expertise around.
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Post by Zedinmexico on Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:12 am

CHILLIN wrote:Optima batteries are only manufactured in Mexico now - but it doesn't seem to have lowered the street price too much.

I have researched micro hydro too - there is a lot of opportunity in Mexico even though many of the streams are seasonal. Even seasonal can quickly produce a big bag of CFE credits (which unfortunately you can't officially sell). These micro hydros have become a big, lucrative deal in British Columbia - lots of expertise around.


Lots of alternatives to AGM than Optima these days. I bought a AGM battery twice the size of the group 27 Optima for the same price. For off road rugged use the Optima spiral construction is very good but for sitting in a room the normal flat plate construction will do fine and you get much more storage capacity for your bucks.

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Post by CHILLIN on Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:32 am

Here is an article in English about the potential of micro hydro in Mexico. Someone has to snag the interest of one of the many stock market funded micro hydro companies in Canada, someone with technical expertise, including how to sell CO2 credits. Then someone has to snag the interest of a Mexican political facilitator to work through CFE and Conaqua. A global, green project, funded with out of country money - win, win.

That's my green deed for the day! Can't wait for the good karma to roll in.

http://www.esmap.org/sites/esmap.org/files/Ariel%20small%20hydro%20MEXICO%20oct27.pdf

I forgot to add - the electric power to Guadalajara used to be supplied by two privately owned hydro turbines. When the first Lake Chapala water drop crisis occurred (1950's?), there was not enough water flow to run them, and there were outages in Guadalajara. This was a major disappointment to area industrialists, who were trying to promote Guadalajara as modern, fast developing city. This was when it was decided to wall the Lake with a 60 foot berm, reducing the Lake to about 60 miles across. This was passed by Presidential decree, but the Tapatios rallied by the Lake and the fact that so much of Mexico was going to private investors as well as corrupt politicians in Mexico City, the decree was crushed.
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Post by MexicoPete on Fri Jul 11, 2014 3:40 pm

I am a little late responding Mainecoons but the computer club meeting this morning and the need to do a few chores I didn't get to write same.

Here are the specks on the 8 six volt Trojan deep cell batteries that I purchased for my then new photovoltaic system in.  I looked on line today and the prices listed were $148 US per battery in the US before taxes. I have no idea how expansive they are, here lakeside.
Shown below are the statistics on these batteries that I copied from the web.

Length 10 3/8 inches
Width 7 1/8
Height 10 7/8
Weight 62 LBS
20HR Rate 225 AH
Voltage 6 Volt
Group GC2 Deep Cycle
Warranty 6/36 Months Prorated
Type Flooded Lead-Acid Wet Cell
Manufacturer: Trojan Battery
I bought them in 2007 and they are still OK because I take great care of them and hardly ever draw much power from them because there are not that many power outages at night when my solar panels feeding these batteries can’t provide any backup electricity
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Post by MexicoPete on Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:36 pm

I wanted to edit that I have had these batteries now since 2007, and I am happily shocked that they are still able to work. When I last checked the voltage level of each, they were all pretty close. It's been maybe since Dec, that I last checked. I think it's time to check again.

What I do check regularly, is the water level. I, of course add distilled water, that I buy at Super Lake. I also check the quality of the water using a hard water gauge that I bought from H2Ole Bob. So far so good.

Oh and because I have one or two too many solar panels, I sometimes do wasteful things like heating up the bathroom with electricity. Why? Because those extra solar panels create too many KWH during good months.
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