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No electric in the middle of the Spanish countryside

Discussion in 'Electrics Outside of the UK' started by andemz, 24 Jun 2010.

  1. andemz

    andemz

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    Hi all, I'm thinking of buying abroad and need some advice on permanent electricity. I am considering solar, wind (hydro is out of the question) and generator.

    With regards to generators - i take it you can have a permanent supply from this source (what are the running costs roughly to run a house) 3 beds is this not practical - i've heard of diesel generators, propane generators, kerosene - any advice welcomed. the house would probably be 200-250m2. 3-4 bed.
    there will not be elec cooker or any elec fires.

    cheers
     
  2. bongos

    bongos

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    Hmmm. I guessing the idea is that the setup you decide on requires as little attention as necessary.

    If you rent it out the last thing you want is someone having to start up generators, check oil levels etc etc. What if they can't getit started? Added to the fact that someone may pilfer your fuel supply!

    How far is the nearest house? Is it possible to get a mains supply? Have you spoken to the energy supplier?

    I understand that houses in Spain tend to have a smaller supply than those here in the UK. This may aid your generator idea. But generally speaking it's just alot less faff to have a main supply...
     
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  4. ericmark

    ericmark

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    Having lived in the Falklands and been involved with my sons narrow boat some pointers.
    1) Modified sine wave inverters are far cheaper than true sine wave inverters but some equipment will not work from them. Also they are very easy to damage. We got a 3000W with 6000W starting peak and to run that at 12v the 330Ah of batteries were not enough. It would work better at 24v plus reduced amps.
    2) The higher the voltage the lower the amps but above 24vdc everything is special so 24vdc with centre tap seemed to be about best compromise.
    3) On same point as solar panels raise in voltage so does the danger and the amount needed and charging units seems to be biased on 24vdc. The better quality chargers are MPPT and these squeeze more power out of panels.
    4) Generator noise is a problem with the slow revving diesel so it was common to have a generator shed away from house with pull cord to switch it off. Normally the start would not be extended as by going to shed oil was also checked. In the main they were air cooled. However on narrow boat the main engine is not too much of a problem and by having water cooled the engine heat also heats domestic water through a heat exchanger called a calorifier.
    5) To reduce fuel usage the engine speed can be reduced and two methods are used. The first is a current sensor which takes the engine from tick over to run speed as soon as current is drawn not really any good for a house the second is an inverter built into the generator and the engine speed is adjusted according to load. Using the latter and really reduce the bill.
    6) Because petrol/gas react quicker than diesel the variable speed engines tend to be latter type. I don't know fuel costs for Spain or how it is supplied. My son can fill up with diesel easy but petrol and gas needs to be carried onto boat so diesel is main fuel.
    7) There are specials like the Wispergen which could be sited in the house similar to central heating boiler with an external combustion engine but they are expensive.
    8) Although grid tie inverters in theory could reduce generator output in practice near impossible to set up for a single house.
    9) As a result the use of extra low voltage (24vdc) lighting direct of batteries the use of 2D lighting or ex-bus lighting seems favourite and only to use inverter or generator for high power usage seems way to go. The vacuum cleaner, microwave, was run off inverter. Washing machine generator but you also need to charge the batteries if wind and sun have not kept up. So a large wagon type alternator on generator seemed favourite. The 25 to 50 amp mains chargers are very expensive.
    10) Wind and solar normally use same regulator and are run to complement each other.
     
  5. plugwash

    plugwash

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    Another thing to consider is whether there will be any equipment that needs power when you aren't there (maybe something swimming pool releated). If so you will need to consider how to ensure this has power even when the weather isn't conducive to getting much power from solar/wind.
     
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  7. ericmark

    ericmark

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    There are some really good UPS units and using an UPS would be the best method so as soon as the generator is started it auto takes load and recharges batteries. Solar panels and wind chargers can all be connected to the UPS batteries and you could have a supply where you would hardly know you were not on mains.

    However the price is something else. For a 6KVA which is about the smallest that will run nearly all 13A appliances when start up load is considered will cost around £2000 then you need a generator same size another £2000 plus wind charger another £2000 and solar cells another £2000 and a battery bank so you very quickly realise you are looking at a £10,000 bill to set it all up.

    I may be wrong of course but I would think at those sorts of figures it would be far cheaper to get a mains supply?

    As the power requirement raises so does the price and we do need to consider although you can get a Briggs & Stratton powered 6kva generator for £800 and a 3kva with 6kva peak modified sine wave inverter for £140 these are not high quality items and they are likely to fail.

    As I found out the hard way guarantees for China are not worth much. To return a 3KVA inverter under guarantee still cost £100.20 in transport and customs so the original £140 price tag is not really that good. Yes they do honour the guarantee but not really worth much.
     
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