We were using roughly 15.5 KwH / day in our town house or 465 KwH / month. That was costing us ZAR1.18 / KwH or ZAR625.52 / month (incl. V.A.T.).
With that in mind I took a snap of the Owl electricity monitor at exactly three months use (to the minute LOL - no, I'm not OCD - I just wanted to give you an apples for apples comparison, and "to the minute" was exactly when we arrived on the farm on the 29th June 2012.)
|Our Owl shows that we :|
are currently using 139 watts of power at 20.44h
the internal temperature is 16.5 oC
- and - most importantly,
we have used 150.88 KwH since we
arrived on the farm on the 29th June 2012
|Our Cotek 1000 watt inverter, although small,|
is sufficient for now, but in hindsight we should've
purchased a 2000watt inverter. All green lights =
input load is sufficient, battery charge is sufficient
and output load is good :)
As far as replacement costs are concerned, the solar panels have a guaranteed lifetime of 25 years, and the 6 X 2volt batteries for 7 -10 years (depending on how you take care of them (top up the water when required, watch the output load, etc)). When it comes time to replace these items, their costs will, hopefully, have come down quite substantially. Solar panels currently cost ZAR11 - 14 / watt in South Africa for poly crystalline panels. Apparently. those in the solar panel manufacturing industry are aiming to get the cost of solar panels down to below ZAR8.20 ($1.00) / watt!
What we purchased was this:
5 X 135watt solar panels
6 X 1188Ah 2volt batteries which we have linked in series to give us 12 volt
1 X Outback 60Amp charge controller
and add all that to our existing 1000watt Cotek inverter
We subsequently returned the 3 X 85watt solar panels which we had purchased for our neighbour, and which he didn't want, and exchanged them for another 1 X 135watt panel, which we are going to use in conjunction with the 4 X 130Ah Deep cycle batteries and a water pump - to occasionally, and when necessary, move the water from our rain water barrels next to the house, up to water storage tanks which will be located at the top of our property. More on rain water storage later...
|Our 6 X 1188Ah 2 volt batteries are wired in|
series to make up the 12 volts we require.
Please note that this is how we were advised
to wire up our batteries. Please check with
your local solar power agent regarding your
specific wiring requirements
Which reminds me, my Sun Cook solar ovens order is on it's way from Portugal, so, not too much longer to all of you who have ordered one... :)