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Thread: Changed to solar and...... Wow!

  1. #1
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    Default Changed to solar and...... Wow!

    Saving about U.S. $450 PER MONTH off Edenorte bill.

    Sorry... long.

    We put in 4 solar panels and a controller about 3 years ago as our back-up system for when Edenorte went out so we would not have to start our generator. Worked fine and at times I could cut off Edenorte and go on solar during the day only but Edenorte still did the bulk of the battery charging.

    The thing is, we could never get our Edenorte bill down to anything reasonable. We would have both our guest apts occupied with full kitchens and all going. Our bill would be between $20K to 22K D.R. With the apts empty, shut down and only my wife and myself on the property we still had a problem getting down to 18K. NO one could explain why we are using around 65KWh per day.... even when I turned Edenorte off during the day the bill still showed the same averages and price.

    With the new “Smart Meters”, it became very easy to run around and turn things off and on and check the meter. I take readings every few hours and noted that with an 8 hour Edenorte black-out we had racked up 8KWh while Edenorte was off-line.

    We installed 4 more solar panels so are primary power is from them and now Edenorte is our stand-by system with inverter pass-thru only when the batteries get low; no charging the batteries. If we do not have Edenorte power and the batteries are low, the generator takes over the load and charges the batteries. When the batteries are charged, the generator shuts down. The only thing that Edenorte powers is the pool pump for 5 hours a day (est. 1.5Kwh per hr.) and a wine cooler that will be switched over to the solar system soon.

    We went solar the last week of last month the same day that the new “Smart Meter” went in. With only ONE WEEK our Edenorte bill went from $20K to $8,500. That's a savings of about U.S. $308. (we think that Edenorte made a mistake and took the “Smart Meter” reading and figured the whole month on that not knowing that we had changed to solar.)

    I've had to read and re-read the Xantex and Outback manuals over and over and change setting countless times along with generator settings and getting more info about batteries. I ALMOST know what I'm doing.

    So far for this month; August 17th, we have used 202KWh at a daily average of 11.5KWh vs the old +-65 per day. IF we can stay at our daily Edenorte usage, we should be around 345KWh for the month. That comes to less then: U.S. $63.00 vs the U.S. $515.00 old average. About a $452. savings PER MONTH. The 4 new panels should pay for themselves in about 8 months. NOT including the other 4 panels, controller, wire and installation but that should be paid for in another year NOT counting what they have provided already.

    We did do other changes. Keep in mind that our Solar is for the 120VAC ONLY so Edenorte is still needed for the 220VAC pool pump. (Working on that too.)

    12 AC unit breakers turned off.... at the breaker in the box.
    Guest pool emptied for the summer, not needed. Our main pool is still in use.
    ALL TV cable boxes and TVs put on a power strip that turns off completely with a button/switch.
    Hot tub emptied for the summer and breakers off. To hot for the hot tub.
    Guest micro waves, radios, clocks, WiFi units all unpluged. Nothing is on in the apts.
    We don't use the ceiling fans anymore, only small portable ones that work fine. Turn off when leaving room.
    Garden water pump breaker off, but we can still use the house pump that is on solar and we have just enough Coraplata to water the lawns with one hose.
    Adjusted the coffee maker to turn off when coffee is made.
    Unplug the cell phone and tooth brush chargers when not charging.
    Puter screens dim after 1 minute and off after 5.

    We really went around to squeeze every amp we could find to establish a base usage. (ede is NOT helping with the pop-up power usage that we DON'T USE.)

    We have NOT really changed our life style much. Push a button to watch TV. Turn on a breaker if we need AC that we have not needed.

    What we have:8 solar panels: Peak watts 210. Peak volts 28.7 Peak amps 7.32 EACH. (That is NOT what you will get.)

    The last 4 came to about U.S. $3,500 installed. We already had the Outback controller ($700 ?) and all the wiring from before.

    The controller gives all sorts of info and we are getting around 25 amps at noon. The inverter tells us that we are using 3 amps so the rest goes to charging the batteries. Avg. about 50 volts in the batteries at the end of the day and around 8Kwh for the day has been produced.

    We do have a small AirX marine wind generator that also helps and paid for it's self a a few months. But not near enough amps to keep the batteries up. Just a trickle charge.

    Xantrex 5548 plus inverter. (not made anymore) This controls everything and is a great unit.

    4 banks of 6 volt batteries. 32 total batteries. Batteries are about 4 years old and I moved some around and took one back off line due to some bad cells. So 3 banks in service now.

    Our Generator is a 50Kw that can suck up the fuel just fine and with the price of fuel @ U.S. $5.00 a gallon so we don't want to use the Generator unless absolutly needed. Even with a very lite load it uses 1.6 gallons per hour. Max is 4 gallons per hour.

    We STILL see unexplained Edenorte spikes with nothing on. I'll turn off Edenorte at the generator transfer switch and STILL I'm using power. Seeing 4KWh show up with nothing on. This morning 11KWh showed up with nothing on. After a black-out, extra Kwh's show up with no power. I also can compare the meter readings with my generator output meters and my inverter meters. Funny how my generator and inverter figures match but the Edenorte meter is WAY off. Not too Smart.

    Keep in mind that this is summer with strong sun and long days. Winter will up our Edenorte needs with more pass-thru elec needed since the batteries will not fully charge. Also winter guests will increase our power demand.

    Now we are working on how did we EVER use 65KWh per day? Our atty and others are working on that AND the pop-up Kwh's that we are still getting. “Smart meters” may NOT have been the smart thing for Edenorte to do; but I'm starting to love mine.

    OK Windeguy. Have at it. I know you will find some boo boo's but the bottom line comes out the same. Lol.

  2. #2
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    I will have a look at it in the near future. The savings from only 8 solar panels seems quite remarkable. You are down to around we use for our apartments if it holds up. Are your wind generators doing much for you? Most people don't have as good a location for wind power as your spot.

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    Ringo,
    Do you have Solar Water heaters?
    And with that string of batteries that has a bad one - you can replace it with a "similar" good one - just done it for Whirleybird.
    Four years old you are doing pretty well on the batteries!

    Olly and the Team

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    Hi guy. I'm glad that you saw the post. I respect your input. Wind does what it does but it is a very small generator. I would NOT do more wind even with us on the ocean.

    YA. The change is amazing but part of the point is.......... were we really using all that power that Edenorte said that we were using? We just got very tired of giving them money. I can only provide info that I have and I have never thought that we use what E. says that we use. But you can not change them, challage them or win.

    So I changed the game. Nice to know that I'm now near someone that has a close set up to me. (you) Amazing?

    thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by windeguy View Post
    I will have a look at it in the near future. The savings from only 8 solar panels seems quite remarkable. You are down to around we use for our apartments if it holds up. Are your wind generators doing much for you? Most people don't have as good a location for wind power as your spot.
    Have the rats got at the cable - megger it. Typically now solar has 2 year payback period here in DR - with the new lower solar prices. My bill was approx 2,200 peso a month - with solar 1,200 a month. More solar should get it to zero. More energy efficient equipment available every day.

    yapask1

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    Thats a good endorsement for solar - and quite a bit above my head/abilities !!

    I can speak to your pool issue.
    We ahve a separate system for the pool. only runs when the sun shines. No batteries, etc.

    My friend envied it b/c her pool was costing her about $350US/month , she said.
    She converted and was paid of in way less than a year... it was a no brainer (my brain cannot remember her install cost)

    I am totally solar - we built it that way, Just a generator to charge the batteries.
    2280 watts of panels and 36 deep cycle gel batteries w/ Outback system.
    3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths big fridge, wine cooler, all LED bulbs and LED TV

    Yes, chargers draw even when not attached to the device.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ringo View Post
    Hi guy. I'm glad that you saw the post. I respect your input. Wind does what it does but it is a very small generator. I would NOT do more wind even with us on the ocean.

    YA. The change is amazing but part of the point is.......... were we really using all that power that Edenorte said that we were using? We just got very tired of giving them money. I can only provide info that I have and I have never thought that we use what E. says that we use. But you can not change them, challage them or win.

    So I changed the game. Nice to know that I'm now near someone that has a close set up to me. (you) Amazing?

    thanks.
    I have to suspect that someone was tapped into your line. You were seeing completely unreasonable power consumption. Turning off all of the breakers on unused items also tells me that there may have been some potential wiring faults. For example, our house used to share power with the house next door. Then the lines were cut when we purchased and the cut lines just buried in the ground. Well, those buried lines continued to draw power while trying to "warm the earth" . We only found this out when people noticed they were getting a shock in a certain part of the yard, far from any breaker box. Finding those buried lines and stopping the short to ground helped quite a bit.

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  11. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by yapask1 View Post
    Have the rats got at the cable - megger it. Typically now solar has 2 year payback period here in DR - with the new lower solar prices. My bill was approx 2,200 peso a month - with solar 1,200 a month. More solar should get it to zero. More energy efficient equipment available every day.

    yapask1
    As for the "data points in life" you will always be an outlier.. ( I mean an out lying data point as in a Physics experiment where one point (you) makes no sense in relation to the remaining data (the rest of humanity) and not that you are an out and out liar). I suspect that not even the founders of Greenpeace would take conservation of energy to your level. Solar Cook On.

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    Windeguy and Ringo,

    The two things I have found here that cause high un-expected consumption are Solar water heaters (- they have electric heaters in then too!) and Taped underground connections heating the earth especially on the feeders from your meter.

    You might want to look into those items too. The solar water heater are obvious - look for wires underneath them and cut them!

    The other one is more difficult and I would not recommend walking around barefoot along the path of the line to find it!

    Olly and the team

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  15. #10
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    Olly. We indeed had an underground "taped" connection that caused a problem. Discovered by "shocking" evidence and confirmed using a current meter.

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