Collected Solar Data

Solar Data collected by the little white box on the pedestal set up on the lawn above the pool area. The data is from June 28 – November 12, 2011  (thanks Duane, and William, for setting it up.)

What it means: There’s not a whole lot of solar potential during the rainy season. It would take about twice as much panel area to make the same amount of electricity as in the dry season. Typical data published for Puntarenas in general (e.g. Palmar to Quepos, etc.) looks like about ~4.5 – 5.5  KWH/day on average. Since the data collected here is for the rainy season only so far, hopefully the sunnier drier months will bring it up to the expected average.

Good water flow in the streams for micro-hydro during the rainy season, good sunshine for solar PV during the dry season. For progress on micro hydro click here

UPDATE: 7/30/2012

Here is pyranometer data for Jan 16 2012 – May 16, 2012:

Things to notice: First of all, there was more sunshine during these months. Note that this is input data. It measures solar insolation in Watts/M2.  I also have output data for the same period — i.e. actual energy production from a single 230W panel connected to an enphase microinverter. By measuring both input and output I should be able to do two things: (1) determine conversion efficiency (sunlight in to power out), and (2) correlate the two, so that I should be able to estimate power production potential in the future without installing panels, but only by measuring input and applying a correlation factor.

Dividing the output by the input (and normalizing to 1 m2), it looks like the average efficiency for these panels is about 10%.

Optimum Tilt of Solar Panels

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