Solomon Perkins

Sharing my opinions on the things I find valuable.

Off Grid Solar System - Second Year Anniversary

⊗ Sep 22, 2019 | read time: 5 min

"Off Grid Project"

Happy 2nd Anniversary Sunny!!

It has been two years since we installed my off-grid solar system. I’ve taken up the challenge of documenting the process from installation to the first anniversary. You can also view a few random updates I’ve posted using #spoffgrid hashtag. So far I’m happy with the setup, as it has generated over 1MWh of electricity in a short timespan (image above).

Did I Make The Right Decision?

Sitting back and reminiscing on the efforts put into the project, I believe it is once of my best project thus far.

For one, climate change is no joke. Reducing our carbon footprint is something I believe we can all get involved with to ensure they protect the planet and other habitats from becoming extinct. Having done this project it is a good step in the right direction. Based on EPA calculations, my setup has saved about 5.734 metric tons of CO2.

To fight #climatechange, there has been a wave of innovation happening in the renewable energy space locally and globally. Locally I noticed:

On an international level renewable energy has been crushing it: "Cost Parity of Renewable Energy"

  • On an economic level being more affordable than other forms (image above)
  • Battery storage providing more reliable backup than traditional systems.
  • Supporting remote areas with adaptable solutions.
  • Electric vehicle disrupting the transportation industry.

These and many more stories provide clear evidence that my installation was a very good decision. To this day, I continue to help folks plan their setup including sizing their system to sourcing parts. Please note I’m not a certified electrician or solar installer.

Potential Risks

As with any project, there are some known risks that you’ll encounter. Here are a few of those risks that I have to manage on a regularly.

Living in the Caribbean means that we are prone to hurricanes. My roof-top solar cannot withstand the heavy winds associated with such weather conditions. Panels can be transformed into flying debris which can have a devastating impact on life and property. Watching the weather closely for potential systems is something I do on a regular. In the event of an imminent system, the panels can be uninstalled in less than 20mins.

As solar installation increases, they will become less reliant on JPS for the majority of their energy need. In the medium/long term, I do foresee the government modifying the local tax policy to manage this change. A few things happening why I believe this change is coming:

  • The government has made some strides to divest their shares in local utility provider, JPS.
  • JPS has been seeing a relatively constant demand from their customers and also a reduction in peak demand. This is at a time when the country is experiencing some significant growth. This could be attributed to energy being obtained from other sources - renewables. "JPS Power Generation Data"

  • At any point in time, the system can fail due to a malfunctioning part. My batteries are being operated at the optimal conditions but that still doesn’t alleviate the potential for failures.

  • Last but not least, another obvious risk is praedial larceny. To this point enough said.

Happy 2nd anniversary sunny!

Tags off-grid renewable solar energy jamaica electricity