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Demand for Solar-Storage Systems Explodes in Puerto Rico

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Demand for Solar-Storage Systems Explodes in Puerto Rico

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Wed 03 Oct 2018, 10:30:34

Demand for Solar-Storage Systems Explodes in Puerto Rico
A solar engineer describes his efforts to help residents produce and monitor their own power—but the grid’s instabilities are still making it hard to get ahead
By Maria Gallucci
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When I first met Gabriel Rivera last year in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the engineer was driving around with solar panels in his car. Hurricane Maria had ravaged the island on 20 September 2017 and knocked out the entire grid. Rivera was building household emergency kits, consisting of a solar panel hooked to a battery, to help people power their vital medical equipment. His own apartment was damaged in the storm, so when we spoke, he was in the process of moving the panels to a safer spot.


Remainder of article is at: https://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/renewables/demand-for-solarstorage-systems-explodes-in-puerto-rico
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Re: Demand for Solar-Storage Systems Explodes in Puerto Rico

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Wed 03 Oct 2018, 18:19:54

I thought the idea of the smaller, cheaper projects to run a minimum of household essentials to get by sounded like a good one, since most people (in Puerto Rico) can't yet afford to buy a full blown system and pretty much get rid of the power company.

With any luck, this would be similar to having a small generator, except it would be pretty much automatic, vs. having to buy and lug fuel, etc. for the generator.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Demand for Solar-Storage Systems Explodes in Puerto Rico

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Wed 03 Oct 2018, 18:32:31

Yeah, but we are talking about PR without A/C, which is going to be hard on older folks and sick people. But it's strictly in the rural areas where the grid has not been restored, the cities got power back very quickly. Food refrigeration, lighting, well pumps, and entertainment/internet are what the small systems provide.

In the mainland USA, the power grid is so reliable that we don't need battery/inverter setups. The bulk of our distributed solar is sans batteries, and software is being developed to integrate this seamlessly into the grid.
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Re: Demand for Solar-Storage Systems Explodes in Puerto Rico

Unread postby GHung » Wed 03 Oct 2018, 19:05:44

John Kimball at Sun Electronics in Miami has put together some small off grid systems for hurricane impacted areas that are very affordable:

http://sunelec.com/prsystems.pdf

Under $2000. Combining two of the last system on his chart could allow someone to live pretty well with intermittent grid reliability including lighting, a smaller fridge, TV/internet/laptop and a small 5000 BTU A/C like I use in our bedroom. It only pulls around 540 watts on full cool, about 55 watts when the compressor isn't running. With good management, a 12 volt system for around $3500 would provide most necessities. Train people to install and maintain these simple systems and they can add to them over time as I did.
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Re: Demand for Solar-Storage Systems Explodes in Puerto Rico

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Wed 03 Oct 2018, 20:22:08

The problem with permanently installed kits is skilled labor and roof space needed. There are also portable units such as the "Wagan Tech Solar e Power Cube 1500 Plus", which is basicly a wheeled suitcase weighing 124 lbs:
Image
Take it out of storage, wheel it into the sunlight, open the panels, and plug in USB, 12v DC, and 115v AC appliances and electronics:
Image
There are 80w of panels built in, and if that does not charge fast enough for you, another 300w of panels will plug into the unit for a 380w charging rate. The built in battery (100AH@12v) is also plug expandable using automotive style gel cell batteries. The basic unit is $1206 on Amazon.
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