Solar or No Solar?

It has been a mixed week, as I guess it is for most of us, on Thursday the Electric Bill arrived, this included a week of the Solar system, and yet the bill had actually risen, and the Kilowatt hours were similar to previous usage, so it was time to look into it some more, there was always the possibility it hadn’t been read, and they had guesstimated it, which does happen.

I went and read the meter, which is due to be read again next week, and sure enough there was similar usage, and no sign of any reduction, as I had been suspecting, we were not running on solar at all, but still on the Power Company, so Marcela spent the afternoon talking with the Company, the Engineer who had installed the system was on holiday, so it was a case of talking to whoever was available, which wasn’t ideal.

The advice, was to isolate our electric use for forty eight hours, using only solar, apparently we should have been told to do this from the start, this kicks the batteries into use, and ensures they are fully charged, however although I still don’t understand the screen information on the Invertor, I believe it is telling us that the batteries are at 100%, which after a month, they should be, especially if they have not been providing power.

The only problem with this, is that the Solar system, is not strong enough to power the showers, which are 6.5Kwh each, and the system is 2.5Kwh, so as soon as the shower is turned on the system trips, I decided that for two days, I would switch back to the Power Company in the early morning whilst we showered, and then back to solar.

However what they were telling me was the battery indicator, and states ‘Load’, to me is the power transfer from the panels to the batteries, and is backed up by the fact that when the sun was out, the numbers shot up, when a cloud passed, they went right down again.

I decided that I would get the ladders out, and see if the panels needed cleaning, those that know me, know I hate ladders, I have known too many people who have had accidents, so if I can avoid them I will, but up I went, and started dusting them, with an extendable window cleaner, suddenly it dawned on me that we have a major problem.

The panel on the top left, is totally frosted, in other words broken, producing nothing, and maybe why we had been getting the wiring fault light, from day one, which the Engineer had insisted wasn’t a fault at all, unfortunately by the time I had found this, the Company have closed down for the week-end, so we will see what they say on Monday.

This isn’t the only problem, I still believe the wiring is not correct, because we were told that we would be running on solar, and only if the power used was greater than the system, would it automatically switch to the main grid, and then back again. At the moment, the only time we use solar, is if I turn off the connection to the main grid in the street, and then I have to turn it on again for showers, or to work in the workshop… not ideal, and will have to be sorted, if the Company honour the guarantee, and there lies the worry, as Marcela suspects they wont, I hope she is wrong.

The work in the guest bedroom is coming on slowly, on Thursday, I cemented the holes I had used to inject the damp proofing, then Friday, I repainted the wall, and yesterday, put in the new shelving, cleaned up, and it’s ready for use.

Now I can get on with the stairs for the Bunkbeds, I went with the trailer last Wednesday, collected a load of treated timber, to use as framing, I wanted treated, so there is no insect problems, it wont be seen, so I wasn’t bothered how it looks, and it’s a shade of green.

I’ll have to ensure before I start that is has dried out sufficiently to use.

When I returned with the trailer, I had literally just pulled in through the gate, when I was cornered by the organiser of the local Residents Association, it goes by another name here, but in effect that is what it is. Our access road, if you can call it that, is little more than a mud and gravel track, in some places wide enough for two vehicles, but in the wet weather it suffers.

With the heavy lorries delivering Building materials, the local Bus etc, there are many times when a 4×4 is needed, or at least easier, so he had arranged for a Dumper of gravel/mud mix, which had been dropped off at strategic points, but unfortunately not quite as close to each pothole as it could have, so he needed help, I grabbed my barrow, pickaxe, shovel, and rake, then joined him, we worked solidly for a few hours, I had thought after doing those outside our house I had done my bit, but no, he needed more help, unfortunately walking to and working on the second stretch, finished me for the day, I couldn’t walk another step with my knees.

I honestly don’t think he realised, what he had done to me, my neighbour, who knows me well, says I should have explained and refused, but I need to do my bit for the Community, and that’s my bit done for now.

Published by Phil Sale

I moved to Colombia from Spain in 2012, and I am happily married to a Colombiana.

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