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I recently saw a sale on EcoFlow products (in this case, an EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra Starter Kit) so I decided to contiue researching ways to power up my small apartment without having a rooftop full of solar panels. I live in the Caribbean so we have tons of sun. I also know very little of this, so I prefer something out-of-the-box.

I had posted a similar (but more specific) question, but I realized that I don't have the know-how or the time to finding a solution for powering up one thing. So this question is more of a solution to power-up my whole apartment.

We really don't use much electricity: my bedroom A/C is on about 5 hours/night and the fridge is the only appliance that's on 24/7. We use the washer and dryer once a week. Everything else are smaller appliances (ie. laptop, TV, microwave, coffee maker, toaster, etc).

My ideal solution would be to purchase some type of product that's charged with 2-3 panels and connect this installation to my electrical breaker box.

Any thoughts?

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We really don't use much electricity: my bedroom A/C is on about 5 hours/night and the fridge is the only appliance that's on 24/7. We use the washer and dryer once a week. Everything else are smaller appliances (ie. laptop, TV, microwave, coffee maker, toaster, etc).

You have a major hole in your understanding.

An A/C that's on is a massive power consumer.

Whereas a refrigerator may consume about 40-50 watts when on, an AC consumes 600-1000 watts maybe.

With solar, you generally want 3 days of independence to compensate for possibly cloudy days. So with your consumption of 5000 watt hours for A/C and 1200 watt hours for refrigerator, you want 6200 watt hours per day or 18600 watt hours for 3 days of independence. An EcoFlow that stores 1000 watt hours costs around 1000 euros, so you have there already 18600 euros in batteries.

Also you need solar panels to charge those batteries. Solar has a capacity factor of maybe 15% in your Caribbean area. This means you need to produce an average of 6200/24 = 258 watts of energy. At 15% capacity factor, this is 1720 watts of panels. And I didn't even consider efficiency losses. To take into account those, you should really have 2200 watts of panels.

Solar power produces 200 watts per square meter so you already have there 11 square meters of panels. So sorry to bust your dream, but 2-3 panels ain't gonna do it. A 200 watt panel is quite big, and you need 11 of those. Maybe with bigger panels you could do with 7-8, but not with 2-3.

We use the washer and dryer once a week.

I didn't include those in my calculations, but a dryer is a massive power consumer too. Maybe 3-4 kilowatt hours per week there or ~550 watt-hours per day more. This adds 9% to your 11 panels or yet another panel for a total of 12 panels.

And I didn't even include cooking, computer, TV, etc!

I believe that for your use case, grid electricity would be a major bargain. Please use it, it's cheap, the investments you need aren't big as with solar power.

Your solar costs 7000-8000 euros for panels alone, batteries over 15000 euros if you choose EcoFlow, or if you select the cheapest LiFePO4 and buy a separate inverter maybe somewhat cheaper.

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  • If it's cloudy, you probably don't need as much air conditioning.
    – Mark
    Jan 15 at 22:44
  • @Mark The question stated that the A/C is on during the night. During the night there's even less solar power available than when it's cloudy. So I naturally assumed the climate is such that temperature is uncomfortable during the night, and A/C is needed then, and not during the daytime since nobody wants to sleep during daytime but sleeping during a hot night is practically impossible without A/C.
    – juhist
    Jan 16 at 17:27

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