Frequently Asked Question for Alternative Energy in Nicaragua
Is home solar power a good alternative in Nicaragua?
Solar for home or especially business is an excellent solution for Nicaragua. The power grid is unstable and inconsistent so running a home or business on solar, especially critical items like lights and computers, is very advantageous.
Can I use all of my normal 120v appliances on a solar system?
Yes the system can run both AC and DC appliances and gadgets.
What are the components of a home solar system?
- Solar Panels – turn sun into energy (DC)
- Charge Controller – Regulates charging of batteries
- Batteries – Stores energy
- Inverter – Converts DC electricity to AC (typical type of electricity in houses)
How long do the components of a system last?
Panels have a life of 30-50 years, Charge controller 10 years or more, Wiring depends on conditions but 15 years or more is typical, Batteries last 5-10 years depending on use, conditions, proper maintenance and type of battery, inverters last 10 years or more.
Can I sell excess electricity to the power company in Nicaragua?
At the moment NO but Nicaragua is moving toward a payback scheme. Legislation is currently (2018) being processed to allow grid-tied payback.
Will I save money with a home solar system?
You will save money in various ways. First the cost of electricity. Payback time depends on rates and system cost but is typically 5-10 years for a home system, 3-4 years for a pool system and 1-2 years for a water heater. The second way you save money in Nicaragua is by protecting your appliances. A solar system delivers clean and consistent energy unlike the power grid which fluctuates often.
What kind of maintenance is required for a system?
Once a month the panels need to be cleaned and batteries checked for fluid loss unless they are sealed maintenance free batteries. Checking voltage levels is suggested also. Solarlogica can provide that service (maintenance contract).
Is lightning protection/ power surge necessary?
Yes, lightning protection is required and built into the system.
Can I use solar energy to pump water from my well?
Pumping water with solar is an excellent solution. A well configured and installed system will give you consistent water. No inverter or batteries are needed so the system is affordable and payback is usually 2-3 years.
Is solar power a good solution for a pool pump?
Yes, and it is also a great solution since no inverter or batteries are required so the payback is 2-3 years and the systems work automatically without and hassle.
How does wind power cost/benefit compare with solar of the same capacity?
Solar panels have become cheaper and are currently the less expensive way of generating alternative energy. Wind is also falling in price and has advantages of generating when the sun isn’t shining. The future looks bright for alternative energy as components become cheaper and distributed energy systems become more prolific and connected.