Tag Archives: AEE

Solar Power…or Not?

Posted by Cassie

The cabin is coming together nicely. We have been chugging through some of the tasks that we can tackle on our own like the tar paper, hurricane clips, lag bolts, collar ties, the stairway and making new trails.

Cool cabin
Cabin Currently with stairs and tar paper

We are always thinking and planning two or three steps out, however. We are trying to decide what to do for siding and windows and doors. But the big question that has been on our mind is should we go with solar energy or regular grid-tie energy.

When we first started building the cabin we thought solar was our only option since the cabin is so far from any road and tucked up in the jungle. Then we talked with the electrician who built our pedestal and moved the electricity from the old wood house to our cabana and he said he could do it. And all underground too! No unsightly wires hanging in the trees. So this gave us a second option. We have done some research online and visited some solar stores in Puerto Rico as well. But we are still having a hard time making a decision.

Solar panels
Britton checking out some solar panels in Puerto Rico

Each option has its pros and cons and they sort of cancel each other out.

Here are the pros for each option as we see them:

Pros for Regular Electric:
Cheaper to set up (at least half the cost)!
Can use as much electricity as needed without worry of running out
More familiarity
Easier to connect for expansion/building other things
Done by professional -one stop shopping and less hassle for us
Not as many parts to understand/fix if they break
No load on the roof for the panels
Aesthetics (no panels showing)

Pros for Solar:
Not dependent on the expensive energy of Puerto Rico which is currently around 30 cents KW -one of the highest costs in the U.S. and abroad
Make us more conscientious about energy usage if we only had so much
Off-grid living at its finest
Latest technology
Learning opportunity
Could be used in other applications as well
Never have to worry about power outages when everyone else loses power

We were actually just about set to do solar, but then we saw the price tag and how little energy it would actually generate. From Maximo Solar in Aguadilla we got a quote for about $6000 for 1.5 KW/day (assuming 5.5 hours of sunlight). This included pretty much everything including the batteries, inverter, panels, charge controller, and wires. But it did not include the mounting hardware or the battery rack and it did not include installation (which would mean a big learning curve for us).

The most energy efficient fridges use about 1 KW a day and all the other appliances (lights, fans, laptop, point-of-us water heaters, etc) would probably fall under the rest, but we would need to be very energy conscientious. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but leaves little wiggle room for a long stint of cloudy days though Rincon is sunnier than many other places on the island. We found other systems online that are slightly less costly, but the shipping to Puerto Rico is outrageous (a rant for another day!).

Hibiscus palm sun kissed
We could all learn more from plants: the ultimate solar energy converters

So we are still sort of weighing the pros and cons and thought we’d put it out there to see if there were any other perspectives we were missing. One of our friends said to do whatever it takes to get solar in order to get out from under AEE’s (the Puerto Rico Electric Company) thumb. But we really haven’t had that much of a problem with them. It’s a tough call. Hmmm. What do you think?

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Getting Set Up in Rincon

Posted by Britton

It’s been difficult to update due to the problems with our internet server back in Colorado.  It seems the power went out there and the internet has been spotty.  It appears to be working better for now so I figured we’d post up some pictures.

We’ve been doing errands to get set up with our house in Rincon.  We got the water turned on and we have the electrcity on and in our names too!  The water we were able to do online, but the electric we went into Aguadilla to the AEE offices.  Everyone has been very friendly and helpful with us.

Water Guy Leaving.

The timing of the water being turned on was awesome.  We were just about to leave and go to the beach where they have a public shower to hose off with when I heard a truck.  We spoke to him…Well Cassie did.  He waited for us to check the house and ensure nothing was leaking before leaving.  He was super nice.

Cassie and “Water Guy”

Then we headed up to the Puntas Bakery and I put a few hours of work in.  It is nice that I am able to work remote and help out.  It means I don’t burn as much vacation time and they get to have a part time worker when they are really busy. 

The bakery is pretty good for breakfast and it is just up the road from the house.  You can usually spot someone sleeping in the middle of the day in Puerto Rico.

What a life!

Hopefully the blog stays steady for a while.  It’s one of those things where you just never know what will happen when you leave.  The webserver has been difficult but thanks to my sister and mother in law it is functional.  It’s frustrating.  Kind of like when you try to run in a dream and you just cant..lol.

We have been staying in this small concrete studio apt that is also on the property.  It works out perfectly -our air mattress, a bathroom (now complete with water!), and electricity to watch a few shows we brought with us on the laptop before falling asleep!

Concrete Studio

One of the huge royal palms in the “backyard” 4 acres

We’ve got a lot of interesting stories building up due to internet being sparse and our blog being down.  Hopefully we’ve got steady access and can update more frequently now!

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