This isn’t your typical solar article, designed to reiterate the commonplace, ubiquitous theme that solar saves you money and YES - it’s great for the environment. Everyone already knows that. Don’t they?
I respect the sun, however we are all so busy it’s easy to forget about the sun and the vital role it plays in everything we do.
Each second, it fuses approximately 600 million tons of hydrogen to helium, converting about 4 million tons of matter to energy. How do we harness that energy for our busy lives?
The primary solar technologies we employ in Cabo are photovoltaic (PV) systems and solar water heating for pools and household use.
The typical picture people get when solar is mentioned is a PV system. These technologies include solar pool pumps, on grid solar systems without batteries that reduce your CFE bills, off-grid solar systems for areas like the East Cape, and cutting edge solar hybrid systems with on and off grid capabilities.
PV systems gather electron flow from the sun producing direct current (DC). This flow is called electricity and then an inverter converts direct current (DC) into alternate current (AC) that is usable by your household appliances. Similarly, solar water heaters, or collectors, are black polypropylene mats, filled with water which capture solar radiation and with a forced recirculation water gets heated. Think a water hose that has been sitting in the sun. The sun-heated water is pumped into your pool, heating the pool, and alleviating you from purchasing propane.
In fact the above solar collectors are perceived as quite ancient and a more modern and efficient solar water heating option uses top of the line heat pumps attached to a photovoltaic system that will produce the electricity that the heat pump consumes.
The history of solar helps us understand how we currently harness the suns energy. The first solar energy invention was a solar collector, and as humans become more technologically adept, scientists developed the fundamental variables, integral to PV systems.
1767. Horace-Benedict de Saussure created the first solar collector; an insulated box covered with three layers of glass to absorb heat, reaching 230 degrees Fahrenheit.
1873. The Photo Conductivity of Selenium was discovered. Today, a solenoid (CIS) based solar cell is one of three mainstream thin-film PV technologies.
1883. First solar panel was built. It was 1% efficient. Today’s typical market panels including the ones we use in Cabo, are 16%-21% efficient.
4)1888. First solar cell patent was given in the US.
1905, Then there was Einstein, notwithstanding the theory of relativity, he also had a hand in the solar energy revolution.
1918. Method to grow single crystals of metal, yes crystals can be grown, decades later to produce single-crystal silicon, or Monocrystalline silicon, which is the base material for silicon chips used in virtually all electronic equipment today, and 36% of all solar panels.
1947. Solar Popularity in the US grew rampant after the Second World War.
1958. Voila, in comes NASA in 1958 using Solar power in power space exploration equipment such as satellites and space stations. This was the first commercial use of solar energy.
9)The rest is history, peppered with efficiency enhancements that led to rapidly decreasing payback periods. In Baja Sur, photovoltaic payback is a little over 3 years and solar water heating between 1 and 2 years.
1977. Governments embrace solar energy.
1981. First Solar Cars and Aircraft
Concerns about global warming driving demand, pragmatic solar solutions like solar cars, solar buses (like the purple Desert Line we have here in Cabo!) and Solar aircraft.
2009. Innovacion Solar installs first net meter in Cabo effectively ensuring that CFE accepts Grid Tie solar and CFE will credit solar energy on CFE bills.
2015. First Round the World Solar Airplane Flight
2013-2015. HOAs in Cabo allow solar with innovative designs only.
2015. Innovacion Solar reaches over 100 projects in Cabo, including projects in Pedgregal, Palmilla, Querencia, Puerto Los Cabos, and Chileno Bay.
Understand your Residential CFE bill and Solar:
By law, residents are penalized for consuming over 10,200 kWh per year
CFE puts you in a DAC category (high consuming home) where you are charged $4pesos/kWh, instead of $2pesos/kWh
Government subsidizes 20%-50% of your CFE bill. You lose any subsidy in DAC category
Between 2 & 10 solar panels can get you out of DAC. It does depend on your energy consumption and how many panels you need to consume less that 10,200 kWh/year
Many residences with CFE bills above $70,000 pesos/year have already dropped to $12,000 pesos/year, or less, after installing an on grid solar system with no batteries required.
Real Estate Editor’s Note: Homes fitted with solar augmented power not only is a selling point, but a permanent feature affecting value upward. They also can be designed for power after natural disasters or power outages. A good investment that will pay off in a resale..
By Chris Mihm, MSEM, 624-122-6562, ChrisM@InnovacionSolar.Mx, www.InnovacionSolar.com, facebook.com/InnovacionSolar