Solar energy in Dominican Republic

Those numbers are better but still 30-35% of the electricity produced is lost in transmission due to equipment and poor management.  Never even making to the consumer and so having NO CHANCE of being billed or paid for

Bob K

Call me naive, but part of the Dominican's appeal is that it is akin to the wild, wild west.

Ooops.... meant to ask, how do you get on a flat rate?

I believe you need to be a poor Dominican and use minimal electricity. 

Bob K

You need to live in the poorest barrios.  They are flat rated but slowly the  distributors are putting meters on everyone.  Here is a story for you: Friend of mine and his family  live in a very poor barrio but he does reasonably well.  He has a flat rate of 350 RD a month. That is nothing. he has an inverter and 4 batteries (electric goes out  8 hours a day -  2 four hour cycles)  and he has a fridge, washing machine and a  12,000BTU air conditioner. When they have electricity everything is running! 

They are starting to meter the area.  I told him to shut off the a/c and get used to not having it.....LOL  right. So he got put on a meter. His first monthly bill was over 16,000 RD!!!!!   That was the cost of what he was using! He was shocked - he should not have been, we had that discussion but he did not want to believe it. NOW everything is turned off! Yup, he didn't pay the bill - can't afford to - and he is disconnected!   He does decently  but that is about a month's salary!

Yikes.... Since entering this conversation, I've really begun to pay attention to all the electricity we use and take for granted.  For instance, I always leave outside lights on at night as it deters burglars, so they say.  I also leave low voltage under cabinet lights on in the kitchen, generally throughout the day and night regardless if anyone is even home.  Then there is the DW that gets run every morning and the 8-10 loads of laundry that are washed and dried each week, and the 50 some showers we take with my son's running at least 30 minutes each. Or the outdoor fans we leave running just in case we go out there it'll be cool.  My husband and I talked about it last night and we can't wait to see what kind of impact our son's leaving for college will have on our electric and food bill.  I appreciate you guys bringing this to my attention so we can start making some changes now.  I'd love to hang my clothes outside, but it is SOOOO humid here during the summer, they'd probably never dry.  Maybe I'll give it a try this fall, but I'm still throwing them in the dryer for the wrinkles.  Can't bring myself to the thought of all that ironing.  Also, I'm willing to try cutting back on the a/c during the spring and fall, but our summer's are brutal and that's not even a consideration at this point in time.  I was in the DR in February and I could definitely go without the a/c during the day, but when it came to sleeping, I needed some air.  Not sure how their summers compare to ours, but I do think they get more wind than we do,  Here it's just stifling and still.  Many people do not even go outdoors during the summer unless they have a pool.

It will greatly depend on where you live!   If you are close to the coast then often there is a good breeze  Other places, not so much.

I am climatized but I still want my a/c at night. I run it 4 or 5 hours only then turn it off. The ceiling fan does the rest.

One thing you may not realize is how inexpensive help is here.   A full time person doing the major cleaning, laundry and ironing will cost you about  US 200 a month  with today's exchange rate.  And that is a decent pay for this type of work. You can and many choose to pay more.

Leaving fan on is foolish & a waste.  They cool by evaporating the sweat. If you aren't there, no sweat & no coolimg. Here power is mucho bucks. A small place can cost almost $200 a month using A/C. I can't afford it. Spend most of the day outside & use fans when inside. I also don't wear clothes indoors. Summers average in the high 90's w/ an index over 100.  Humid too!.   To me, the DR is much more livable then central Florida.  Oh, Mammy take me home!    A German Shepard will keep burglars away too.

All true Gypsy.  I got me 2 new Rottweiler puppies, they are now 9 weeks old and crazy.....   they are not purebred and hopefully no health problems!

AND apologies for going off topic.... back to electricity and solar....

Herding those damn cats again :D
Congrats on the puppies

Bob K

Thanks Bob..... ;)

Well, this post is growing old with no real added value information about solar energy so let me share.  I am in the Punta Cana area and have engaged a well known reputable contractor in the area to convert my entire house over to solar energy.  It will be an on-grid system.  The system will produce more than double my normal consumption.  A special meter is installed that measures energy going into your property and coming out.  Any additional energy I consume I will pay the normal rate to CEPM (the local electric company), any excess production goes to the grid (CEPM) who in turn gives you an energy credit on your account.  They do not give you back cash, the credits are not transferable but you are allowed to accumulate the credits.   If your system is down or you are not producing energy for any reason , you will be able to use the credits you have accumulated.  There are no batteries in this type of system so if the power goes off, so does your power.  You could always add a partial off-grid component for emergency backup.  I believe without receiving any tax credits the system will pay for itself in 4-5 years.  If you are a company, the Dominican Government will give you a tax credit against any taxes that you pay.  Hope that helps...

DCMike; I get where your headed, but don't see the numbers. 4-5yrs is a quick payoff.
Please share!

Great info. And yes i would like to see numbers as I cannot see a 4 to 5 year payback.

Consumption before changeover?
Cost of installation? Including everything!
Cost of maintenance?

If you only get electric credits how are calculating use of these credits? Are you purposely going on the grid to use them?

By the way you jumped back onto a thread almost 2 years old.

If you need the name of a contractor in the area I can give you that in a private message.  They will provide you with a detailed calculation for your particular use.  It's different in every case.  I currently spend about $1500USD per year on electricity (No AC).  The cost of the installation materials included is about $8500.00USD  The cost of electricity never goes down, only up and I plan on increasing my consumption since my system will produce about double ($3000USD per year) my present consumption.  If you have a small house I can see it probably wouldn't benefit you based on the amount of money that you have to put out.  The proposal answers all of the questions posted above so that you can make an informed decision.  This is an on grid system that I am installing so to answer your question Planner, you are always on the grid.  An off grid system is more costly to purchase and more costly to maintain as you need storage components (Batteries) but it would be suitable if you were not near the grid to begin with or your electricity was terribly unreliable.  Living in the Bavaro Punta cana area we have about 99%+ up time so the electricity is fairly reliable.

Thanks for this.  Your costs of install seem so low i guess because you are in grid. And your usage, without a/c is fairly high.

Makes some sense now, thanks

Just how big is this system? Wattage wise?

My system is producing an average of 700kwh per month.  To give you an idea of size there are 22 solar panels 1.0m x 1.69 metres in size.  Total coverage = 37.18 sq metres.

My guess is your panels are 220w plus each.. Close?

Of course the next question is: When you look at your bill folks and divide the Kwh used by final costs.. What is it a Kwh. I'm think your between .24-.28 a Kwh

Assuming this has been asked and I'm too blind/old to see it.. You folks have 'reverse metering' there?
If you have the 'old' style analogue meter (mechanical), you do and may not know it..
All ours have gone Digital now (in the US). So we now get charge for taxes and transmission fees of anything we send back.. I fought hard to not have this 'new' meter.. I lost..

Worst, shall I digress, is all those 'energy saving' appliances we all bought.. These new meters can now read the power consumption.. The analogues couldn't. Not so Energy Saving any longer..

As I started this latest discussion only a couple of weeks ago, I started by saying I have engaged a contractor...meaning actual charges are yet to come since construction is not yet complete nor in service.  Let's leave these types of questions for a couple of months or so and then we can see some real answers vs. prediction.  In the area we live, we have smart meters (digital) complete with daily readings of consumption with charts and actual numbers as well as predictive costs all available over the internet.  The electric company can also remotely terminate your electricity the moment you stop paying your bill.  For on grid solar systems there are 2 new meters to be installed as I understand it.  Yes, you have to pay for both of them.  One meter reads the energy being pumped into the grid, the other what I am consuming.  If I consume more, I pay the difference, if I produce more I earn energy credits at the same rate I pay.  More on this later...

We are paying approx. 15 pesos per kwh or $0.32 USD per kwh.

Panels are 260w each.

Your cost per Kwh is very high, so I'm with you for doing what your doing!
Please do not mis-understand my questions. I'm only trying to understand myself what your situation is and hopefully help others thinking of doing the same.
What you tell us is very important! You have 'first hand' information!

Sorry to hear your on the Digital meters.. I fought so hard to keep us off them.
If you do get 'credited' hour for hour, then that would be reverse metering,
I do hope it works out that way!

What I'm reading is: you have 22 x 260w panels. Is that correct?
That's a very nice system if I'm reading this correct.. Especially if you pull this off for $8500!

Power to you (All puns intended..afford and energy ) !
I think your under estimating the system, if I have it right..

Time will tell and your the guy right now to inform all of us.

Please do update as you proceed. problems for the questions, that's how we help people.  I just don't have all of the answers

What is your main concern with the digital metering?  So far it doesn't seem a problem here.  Naturally, the cost of electricity goes up to pay for the new technology but some things are too much effort to fight.  Better to look at alternatives in my opinion, hence solar energy.  The system is a reasonable price.  The panels alone without any installation are almost 1/2 the money.  Also you don't see all of the labour and other materials, only part of it.  I have a large property and they have to install new cables from my main panel to outside of my property.  I am upgrading all of my cables.  This is included in the price.  I am having a solar hot water heater (the one with the tubes) relocated from my yard to my garage roof...also included.

As I understand the credits for additional energy production is in kilowatts, not in money.  If I need to shutdown my system in several years, I should have a supply of credits built up to carry me over several years...

Yes, electricity costs here are extremely high and will only get worse as it is strictly regulated and monopolized.

"What I'm reading is: you have 22 x 260w panels. Is that correct?" - correct.

The old analogue meters actual ran backwards as the flow of electricity reversed. Hence reverse metering. These Digital one record the flow.

Up here we get credits per payment cycle only (monthly). That means for us, you use in the monthly cycle or lose them. Each month starts from zero.
I do hope it is as you say and carries over.

Again very nice system. I have you as 5.7kWh, that puts you well within your goal of 700kWh a month!
I have it as 775kW low side to 860kW plus high side (monthly). Potential is as high as 940kW plus in a month!

It will be very interesting what your 'real' numbers work out to!

5.72 to be exact. lol

Yes, time will tell.  The goal here is really to use what you produce.  Probably we will add some air conditioning to the mix now...

Hey Mike! We are looking at installing Solar as well.
Got a price  a few years back & it was around 11,000 US dollars.
Now that prices are lower, reconsidering.
Keep us posted on your progress please.
Do you have a HONEST supplier on the North Coast?
(originally from near Elliot Lake, Ont.)

Hi Tomas,

I can find out and let you know.  The installation is now complete except for the bi-directional meter.  Waiting for CEPM to do their thing...  Otherwise we are producing energy.  Looks like about 3-4 times as much as we are consuming during the daytime.  Unfortunately at night we are still buying from CEPM until they change the meter.  Hopefully it won't take too long.

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