Basics of PV Solar


Should you consider photovoltaic solar power is the basic question. While I plan to address this in some detail, this is the very basic considerations. And, the one-word answer is YES.

If you have land far from the electric grid, what you will install is very different but the big answer is still yes. It’s practical in terms of energy produced and you can even find fair-priced equipment in Guatemala City.

The other situation is where there is grid power available and you basically want to use the grid to augment your PV solar. In 2008 Guatemala passed a very favorable law which basically says the electric utility must pay you retail for the energy you feed back into the grid up to a maximum of your usage. Let me explain that a bit. Let’s say you use 300 kWh of electricity in a month but your solar system produces 250 kWh. You only have to pay for 50 kWh. If you produced 350 kWh, you don’t pay anything.

To put this in perspective, it is typical (at least in the U.S.) that you buy electricity at retail but sell electricity to the utility at a much lower rate — sometimes as little at 25%. This difference combined with high levels of “sun time” are a big win.

What sort of “sunlight” is available will vary from location to location. This page will show you the specifics. But, if you want a general idea, a good rule of thumb is that you will get 6 watt hours per day for each watt of installed panel. So, if you had 1000 watts of panels, you would produce around 6000 watt hours per day or about 180 kWh/month.

The price of PV panels has been dropping for many years. I don’t have the current numbers but it is way under $1/watt these days. Checking one vendor I see they have a 370 watt panel for Q1400 which is around $.50/watt.

The one vendor I have worked with in Guatemala is SolarGuat. No payola here but I have bought product from them, know they sell to some of the more expensive vendors and know what they are talking about. Their web page is in both English and Spanish and if you have a Spanish handicap, ask to talk to David.

As I said, there is a lot more to cover but this should get you started.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Related Posts