SOLAR ENERGY

Solar electricity

The Sartenejan region has many advantages for the use of solar energy:

  • the highest level of sunlight in mainland Belize.

  • a low transmission efficiency through the 45 mile long power lines from the nearest large town.

  • low power usage per household.

The power usage in most home in Sarteneja at night is for lighting, fans, refrigerators, televisions, and computers, as stoves are generally gas.

Air conditioners are not yet generally used in Sarteneja and are not the preferred option for house cooling. Good house design can negate the need for air conditioning.

The use of direct solar heating of water avoids high electricity usage.

The ability to sell solar electricity to the mains supply during the day would greatly increase the economic potential and pay off time of solar energy installations in Sartenejan region.

Solar water heating

It is economical and practical to build simple water solar heating units that can return the required capital investment in between 2 and 4 years. The time period will be defined by the balance between the required capacity and the capital cost using the most economical, reliable, and locally built unit.

Such units would basically consist of a solar heater panel or coil that is optimally designed for the climate and capacity, a storage tank for the solar heated water. Water can be fed into the house through gravity or through pumps. 

More sophisticated designs can include a mains pressure exchange coil within the solar collection tank to supply services. This enables the solar collection tank to be used to store very hot water for supply over extended periods of cloudy weather.

A heating coil can be included in the units design to boost water temperatures during periods of heavy use or during rare cold cloudy periods.