Off Grid Solar Power System in Costa Rica – Living in Costa Rica

We are so deep in the rain forest and jungles of 
Costa Rica that the closest electrical line is   10 kilometers away. So on the off-grid 
homestead the most important thing   for us is to have some sort of power and 
we're getting all of our power from solar.   Now we're gonna kind of back up a little bit 
but it's been two months now and I've been   monitoring this solar system and today 
I'm going to tell you the good the bad   and the ugly about what's been happening 
with our solar system.

Let's find out. All right daddy Caesar up there and 
Caesar's putting the solar panels on top   of this uh building that the owner has so he's 
allowed me to put those solar panels up there   and they're in the perfect 
position to get sun. Hey Caesar… So Caesar's putting up our solar 
panels. He's agreed to come back on   Friday to finish the rest of it since I don't 
quite have enough time to finish up the walls   and he really wants me to have the 
walls and a roof on to protect all of it   because it looks like it's going to rain. 
So we're going to have to pause for now. The cloud forest of Costa Rica sure can paint 
some awesome views and it's not too often that   we get to enjoy a sunset but every once 
in a while, we see something spectacular.   All right so as you can see…

Our solar 
installer is here and he is installing   everything that we need on the inside on 
that wooden wall so that it can monitor   the inverters the chargers and that way we will 
know what's happening in our solar system. The   batteries will sit there on the on a battery 
rack and so we got stuff going on right now. It looks like Caesar's got it going 
on. So far it's looking pretty darn   good but we're missing one component and I had 
to run and go buy that one thing I didn't have.

Dead now today. Our plans are to finish 
the installation of our solar system. Today   we've got Caesar with dc solar and Caesar has 
been helping me to install our system. Now if   you remember, we've already put up six solar panels 
on that stables over there okay… Six solar panels.   As you can see we got two batteries he 
has most of the system set up however I   didn't have our breaker bots. So in reality, we 
have power we don't have any way to access it.   So we can't get power until we install our breaker 
box is that right? Right yeah. So when we put up the   breaker box and then we put in some plugs we can 
then plug in what we need and we'll have power   from solar.

All right, so now what you're 
telling me this solar system is a small   one because it's for a small house. The more 
batteries you have, the more solar panels,   the more power. Is that correct? Yeah it's 
correct. But I think Caesar is a pretty good   guy. We're gonna find out when it's all said 
and done how good is it. Let's get after it. Oh the solar system is all set up and to get 
a kind of better understanding right, here's   our batteries sitting down at the bottom. Well 
if we take a look, here's the whole solar system   and on this side we have the power coming in from 
here so these solar panels generate all of this   power and comes inside to this breaker box. So 
the solar panels come up here, the power comes   into here and into the charge controller. The 
charge controller, tell me if I'm correct…

Makes   sure that there's not too much power. Correct? Yeah. 
It's correct. Okay so it controls all of the power.   Well after it goes into the charge controller then 
it comes down uh and the solar panels comes back   through and charges the batteries. So the batteries 
are full but it comes back up and it comes out   into the inverter and the inverter it changes it 
from "dc" which is a direct current coming from   the battery and it has to be converted into "ac" 
alternating current and so it gets converted here   once it gets converted it comes out and goes into 
our main breaker box. Our main breaker box is now   full of 120 and it's going to give us the power 
we need like right here to operate any tools or   anything that we need. Now however if for some 
reason, we have too many cloudy days or it's   a storming in and our batteries aren't charging. 
Well it's very important for our batteries to   maintain a good charge. So for some reason we see 
this as dropping and it gets down to one bar.

We   now need to turn on our generator. Well in order 
to do that we go outside, we crank up the generator,   we let it run about three minutes. After it 
runs about three minutes just so that it can   be established okay, that power comes in through 
this line right here and it comes to here then   all I simply need to do is turn it on and it will 
automatic. This is automatic it will automatically   start charging the batteries and I don't have to 
do anything else. when I see the batteries are full   in a couple of hours then I can simply turn it off 
and go cut off the generator. Correct? Yeah. Perfecto!   All right well it's been a couple of hours we have 
everything installed. He's even put in a outlet   there because hey without an outlet we can't test 
it so this is the defining moment.

Will it work?   Will it work? Yeah. Are you sure? I'm sure. You 
sure? Yeah I'm sure. Okay, so all we have to   do is plug it up and I got the extension cord. 
You got the other end. Got the extension cord.   All right. Give me the power. Let's see. All right! 
Wait… Let me see… Wait… let me get out there, wait.   Okay we are plugged in. Do we 
have power? Hey! We got power! It's alive! We'll fast forward a couple of months in time 
and I've been testing out this solar system   to see how it's been working.

Today is a kind of 
cloudy overcast day. Everyone smile the   sun peeks out but in most part it's been overcast. 
But let's see how our solar system's been doing   over the last couple of months. So if we take 
a look at the monitor and I've been watching   this as closely as possible. So let's quickly 
take a look at the panel and I'm going to go   to the solar panel. So right now it's showing that 
solar panel is actually charging the batteries it   just went from four bars to five showing that we 
got 29 volts okay which is 20 amps right now and   it's kind of a cloudy day and I've seen it go 
up as high as a little more than 30 amps okay.   Showing 267 kilowatts and see four bars and
now five bars depending on whether it's sunny or   cloudy okay and we've got six panels out there and 
fortunately with those six panels I have hardly   ever seen this thing drop below three bars okay. 
Now I watch it closely you know as I'm trying   to learn the whole system and right now keep 
in mind we have a deep freezer a refrigerator   a couple of bulbs, we have a router all of our 
computers, Rebecca's got her laptop, her monitor,   she has her other devices that she's charging from 
time to time, my computer, two monitors and Alexa   devices that are running so we're running quite a 
bit of stuff but I can see that those solar panels   generate enough power for us to give us everything 
we need and we're operating pretty much all day   long.

Now at night time it gets dark about six 
o'clock and so the solar panels aren't charging   anymore, so we're having to use nothing but battery 
power and so I've watched this thing go from   you know if it's fully charged from five to 
four if it's been one of those cloudy days where   it didn't get a full charge it might drop down 
to three bars before I go to bed. Now go to bed,   wake up in the morning, I get up early and then 
I take a look at it it's still at three bars.   Keep in mind at night time we're not using a whole 
lot of anything but the freezer is still running,    the refrigerator and then of course you know 
whatever things are being charged during the night.   So right now those six solar panels have been 
doing a phenomenal job and those two big batteries   a great job of holding the power we need.

pexels photo 6113446

I get up in the morning it's got three bars   as soon as the sun comes over the mountain 
immediately it starts charging really really   quick. So let's just take a quick look. Right now 
if I go back there's this solar panels 29 volts.   22.8 amps, 20,267 kilowatts showing that the battery 
currently has 27.3 volts. Okay that's great    batteries at 24.5 amps, 32 degrees celsius and 
then it's showing load. Now right now it's showing   no load and that's because we're not drawing 
any load or dc current from this into dc   appliances or dc things okay, so we're not drawing 
any load from here we're actually drawing load all   from our inverter.

So let's take a quick look 
again. So we're not drawing any load and then   it goes back showing the solar panels or charging 
everything up at night time instead of a sun   icon it shows the moon and then it shows that 
there's nothing going there. Now if we take a   quick look over here, I mostly just monitor this 
little panel to see. Right now it's telling me that   the battery is supplying all of our appliances 
so it goes from the battery comes over here   converts it over here to all of our appliances, 
and right now it's showing 25 of 100.

Not quite   sure what that means I think it's saying that 
we're only using 25 of its potential 100 percent   power. So right now it just means we have plenty of 
power I think. So it doesn't tell me a whole lot on   this box that I understand but it's important for 
me to know that hey it's taken all of our power   from the battery to all of our appliances.

Now in 
the event we get too many days where it's just a   lot of rain or just not a lot of sun coverage 
and I see that the batteries are dropping low.   Like I said I've never seen him drop below three 
bars but if it were to drop then I can kick on   the generator so let's turn on that generator and 
then we'll come back and see what that looks like. You can probably hear the generator 
in the background and according the   season I need to give it two or 
three minutes just so that it gets   steady and it's giving us the same amount 
of current okay regular current flow. Now   that it's been going for two or three 
minutes. I need to just flip the switch. I flip that switch. And what I love about this is I flip the switch 
and everything is automated this inverter   immediately starts reconfiguring and it realizes 
hey the generator is on let's take power from the   generator instead of our batteries and if we take 
a quick look we can see we have a generator sign   right here.

It's actually charging up the batteries 
as if you can see and it bypasses the rest of it   goes into all of our appliances. Now this is 
really cool! All I had to do was flip the switch   after I turned on my generator and now like 
I said here for some reason which we've not   had that problem since we've been here. We've 
those six panels have kept those batteries   full and now but let's pretend that we've had a 
storm the sun just did not come out for days and   the batteries were getting low and it's never good 
to let your batteries get real low. Now there's a   big difference on batteries that's a whole nother 

But I've got some good lithium batteries,   they can go down to real real low but it's always 
good to keep them charged as much as possible.   We now have the generator back up so that we 
can keep those batteries in good condition   that way our deep freezes don't fall out, 
nothing in our refrigerator ruins and we   continue to work because way out here, we've 
got to have internet and we can't have internet   without power. So as you can see it's doing its 
job makes it real simple. So all we got to do is   see that it's charging those batteries back 
up, once those batteries are charged back up   I just continue to monitor then I come back in 
and all I got to do now is flip the switch again. All right I flipped that switch off and obviously 
I need to go turn that generator off but we can   see it goes back into autopilot and if we 
take a look at it it's no longer taking any   power from the generator.

Obviously, it's 
getting all its power from the battery   and it's running all of our appliances all of our 
equipment so this thing is amazing. Even though   this is a small off-road system we've got two 
really great batteries, we've got six solar panels,   this system works on autopilot, if for some 
reason we don't have enough solar we do have   a backup generator so this thing has been working 
great. In a total of two months we've had one   minor problem and I don't know what caused 
the problem I probably caused a problem. Who   knows but for some reason some of the 
configurations changed in here and it's   the solar panels were doing its job but for 
whatever reason the batteries weren't getting   the charge and the batteries were getting lower 
and lower and lower and I wasn't monitoring it   like I was supposed to all of a sudden my power 
goes down right before alive and we couldn't do   the life. Well I called Caesar in just a couple of 
days he was out here now he had to travel all the   way from San Jose which was a total of three hours 
from San Jose to Buenos Aires and then two more   hours up the mountain but he came out here and 
it was guaranteed work.

Didn't cost me anything   it only took him a few minutes to reconfigure the 
settings in this panel, we were back live with no   problems and those batteries charged in I think 
just a simple day of good full sun and we were   back up and running. so I can say that Caesar seems 
like he's going to be a great guy, he put together   a great solar system so if you are thinking about 
an off-grid system or you just want some solar   panels to offset your electricity costs, I would 
say check out the link below in the description,   contact Caesar, get you some information about an 
off-grid system or a solar system for yourself.   Hey, that's it for this video in this 
episode. If you enjoy this information,   give us a lot of thumbs up, give us some likes make 
sure to subscribe so you can get more information   as we go a little further and we talk more 
about the off-grid homestead in Costa Rica.


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