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Puerto Jimenez, Osa Peninsula
Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, Punta Nicuesa, Puerto Jimenez, Osa Peninsula 60701
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Sustainability
TripAdvisor

Solar Energy updates at Nicuesa

Posted by: PLAYA NICUESA RAINFOREST LODGE
24 May
No
Solar Energy updates at Nicuesa
Solar Energy updates at Nicuesa
What was done?
The solar panels have been replaced, as well as the batteries that were in place since the lodge opened its doors in 2003, both of these had a limited lifespan.  The new technology implemented is much more efficient.
Why were these changes made?
The amount of energy captured by the panels as well as the energy stored by the batteries was no longer the same, and as the days went on we were more dependent on the diesel generator.  When they were installed they were cutting edge technology and supplied hotel needs well, but as time went on they deteriorated, as was the case with the batteries.  What happens with all rechargeable products is that the battery life is designed to last a certain number of charge cycles.  Once this lifespan is met and exceeded, the batteries need to be charged more often, causing the generator to be the energy supplier and not the panels themselves.  As for the solar panels, their capacity to capture solar radiation started diminishing as years passed in spite of the constant maintenance provided.
How did you proceed?
We evaluated options presented by several companies in order to find technologies that provided smaller panels that more efficiently captured solar energy.  In the case of the batteries, we sought a higher storage capacity.  Once the technology we thought was optimal for the hotel was selected, the structure’s renovation began.  The new panels needed a moveable base in order to adjust their angle depending on the solstice and equinox, thus maximizing the collection of solar radiation during the entire year.  There are two very marked times a year when the angle of the Earth varies causing the number of daylight hours to change in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.  Costa Rica, being so close to the Equator, is not as affected by these changes of number of daylight hours a day, but the angle does vary and it is better to ensure the panels are optimally capturing necessary rays.  Once the new base structures were in place and a total of 22 panels installed, 11 on each structure, the new batteries were purchased, 24 in total.  The power inverter was also replaced by one that provides a better, more precise reading.
What have the results been so far?
We have noticed an improved efficiency in the solar panel usage reflected in the average number of hours the generator is in use, they have been cut in half.  Generator use comparison follows, first months of 2015 versus same period this year.
Average number of hours Generator is in use
Year/Month
2015
2016
January
10
6
February
11
6
March
11
5
Energy Consumed (kW/h)
Year/Month
2015
2016
January
47,8
62,7
February
48
58,21
March
50
57,69
Is has also been determined that this efficiency has allowed for higher renewable energy consumption for maintenance work such as upkeep of boats and dock, insfrastructure improvements, and others.
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