Funny New Guy

I am in the process of building a new house (haven't started yet-- 2500square feet) here in Panama. Sadly, the nearest power pole is about 6 miles away. I have a very large piece of land and will be raising a few horses and cattle. I know absolutely nothing about solar stuff except that the technology is becoming more and more necessary where ever one lives. I need to learn how to calculate what power will be necessary and how big a system will be required. I have an interest in building a solar/wind hybrid because I have the room required for a wind generator.

All of my appliances are new and have the star rating---and the compact florescent lights are just about the only bulbs that are available here.

Any assistance from anyone will be appreciated.


  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    it starts by knowing how much power you require on average for each day as this isn't just about low power appliances, but it also involves how much you'll use them. once you know that then you can further check if there are any more ways you can conserve power usage as it is easier to save a watt than produce it. the power is measured in watts which is the voltage multiplied by the current. the factoring of time creates watthours. this confuses people sometimes, but i'll give an example for helping to understand this. say you have your tv and it typically draws 75w. you now factor the time by you using that tv 2.5hrs per day so the wh = 2.5x75=187.5wh per day. now if you don't know the wattage there are meters available such as the kill-a-watt that measure this for you. that meter also measures it over time and rather than listing watthours it is in kilowatthours or kwh and that is only refering to 1000 watthours. so 2kw is 2 kilowatts=2000watts and 2kwh is 2 kilowatthours=2000watthours.
    the learning part is a must and there is much good reading material here on the forum for you to be able to learn from. by the time you've figured out your loads in watthours per day averaged as well as made further conservation efforts you will know more and get a better idea of what it is all about and what is involved in achieving it. yes, you can still not understand something and you can ask here about any things you may need clarified somewhat.
    watthours per day averaged-clarified:
    this is the total watthours you would have over a week or a month (this is up to you on how long as you can do this for the entire year as well, but it would take longer to determine if you needed to measure it yourself) and divided down to a single day by the number of days the watthours reflect because some days will have more power used than others. many here in the states have used their electric bills to show this usage for one month. you have to know how much power you use in order to know how much power you need to produce. ideally, it should be the worst case timeperiod this is done for if such a timeperiod exists and for most of us it does.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,609 admin
    Here is a thread with some basic information on sizing components for an off-grid solar system (some basic plug-in equations to size your needs).

    How to Size thread

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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