Climate Solutions

Humans are causing some, most or all of the climate change. This is bad; we should reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Electric vehicles and renewable energy like solar and wind are a good idea. The science is now mostly settled and it´s time to focus on solutions.

I want to suggest we have this thread for those of us that agree with all of that and want to talk about solutions/actions (if anyone does).

If you don´t agree with what I said above, then fair enough, but this isn´t the thread for you. You wouldn´t go into a Christian church and start reading out a Buddhist manuscript. That doesn´t mean that there is anything wrong with the Buddhist manuscript. It just means you are in the wrong place.

By all means talk about climate science and alternative viewpoints on other threads instead. I´m hopeful this will reduce the arguments we had in the past and be good for the forum.

Some things I could give an update on, or we could discuss here:

—What actions I/we took to reduce our “carbon footprint”, what we learned etc.
—How to live a low carbon life in Chile.
—Current make-up of the Chilean electricity grid and the current political debate about Chile´s coal phase out.
—Current status of electric cars, buses and other vehicles in Chile.

Update on living with solar.

Lead acid (gel) batteries I bought for my solar system weren´t very good. You are advised to set the minimum voltage to 48V to preserve lifetime. However when I set to 48V the amount of energy I was getting was pathetic so I set the minimum voltage to 46V, which means I use more of the capacity. However, this was a mistake. The batteries died after only 2 years!

I´ve now bought lithium batteries instead. The lithium batteries are expensive, but are better value when you factor in that you can use all the capacity without damaging the lifetime, that they last longer, that they can deal with heavy power without needing support from the grid, that they have less efficiency losses and charge easily to 100% whereas the lead acid were so slow to charge after 80% that they often got stuck around that level.

I bought two Pylontech US2000C lithium batteries for 1.8M (0.9M each) which brings the total spend on the solar system to 6.3M (million pesos) so far. The batteries are 2.3KWH usable each so 4.6KWH total.

At times the solar system has been quite annoying. One of the two new Pylontech batteries beeped and flashed and manual said it was over voltage which required me to turn the system off and back on again. This caused a power outage to the house for a few seconds while I rebooted the system. This got pretty annoying to the family after it happened 10 or 15 times in a couple of months so I took the battery back to the shop and got them to replace a part under warranty. OK since then. I suspect we have been unlucky here as solar systems are generally quite reliable and I managed to find a lot of positive reviews on Pylontech before I bought them.

On the plus side, the panels save us about 600,000 per year on electricity so we have saved about 1.2M after two years. The new batteries have enough capacity to last all evening and all night, even in winter.

Also on the plus side, we have seamless power in a power cut without the noise and messing about with a generator.

Update on electric car.

I now have had the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq BEV (pure EV) for 2 and a quarter years.

So far, this has been a great success.

For the calendar year 2021, I measured exactly how much electricity the car consumed and worked out I paid about 137,500 for 6877km - petrol is currently about 5 times more expensive per mile. Actually that is what I would have paid if I didn´t have solar panels. Because I got about 90% of my juice from solar panels, in reality I paid about maybe 14,000 for a whole year´s family driving!

I got an annual service at Hyundai for under 100,000, whereas the equivalent petrol car service costs 350,000.

So far maintenance, repairs costs of 5,000 in two years (a puncture).

With the prices of cars increasing, it´s still worth more than I paid for it.

If it wasn´t for the permiso de circulacion, it would be a free car! Sadly, the permiso de circulacion is higher for EVs - I paid 363,420 this year- since it´s judged on up front cost. However this bad policy will likely be fixed by next year.

It´s also the best car I´ve ever had. It´s lovely to drive, at low speeds much smoother and easier.

I have been to the Copec fast chargers 15 times. 14 times they worked fine and once it didn´t work. The chargers charge the car in about 20-40 minutes depending on how much you need. When I signed up, they were only accepting credit cards not debit or foreign cards. Signing up in an app was a hassle but after getting past that it worked smoothly.

I´ve never had to wait to use a charger, so far they have always been unoccupied.

The Copec chargers are charging 250pesos/kWH so when I say petrol is five times more expensive per mile that is assuming you can charge from home. If you were relying on Copec chargers, it´s more like three times more.

So far I have only been within 250km from my house, but I am hoping to take the car to Villarica in the summer.

Please reply to this thread if you are interested in climate related posts. If no-one replies, I will discontinue the thread or post very infrequently. The next post would be on what´s going on at the national level.

We have US3000’s pylontechs and all the rest of that main system is Victron based. The panels are Risen 400w monos in series

We also use a combination of GoalZero Yeti 3000’s and APC SmartUPS 2200 and 3000 vA units as secondary in case of a catastrophic failure in the main pylontech/victron system. They are charged from either utility power, victron/risen/pylontech, or diesel generator as last resort in that order

What are you using for the inverters, charge controllers, MPPT, panels, etc?

I will get back to you later on that mem.

For the time being, I just want to add a comment that I realized that it could be misleading that I said that I had a successful charge 14 of the 15 times I charged - to be clear that was specifically for Copec fast chargers typically found in and around Ruta 5 and the central coast.

For other low power chargers in the greater Santiago area, I´ve had frequent difficulties. You can see on a map there is a charge point but until you get there you don´t really know what you are dealing with. The one in Cerrillos I couldn´t use because you need your own cable which I don´t have, one I saw in Plaza Oeste mall didn´t seem to be set up yet. Another one marked on a map turned out to be a private apartment building with a charger inside. Today in Calera de Tango they said it didn´t work and hadn´t for 2 years. The one at the energy company in central Santiago was giving out free charge but I went a year later and they said it was now only for employees. This never caused a problem because my car has easily enough range to get to Santiago and back and I was always just stopping to take advantage of an extra boost or just to learn more about the charging network.

However, at the moment, you really need the ability to charge from home to have an EV in Chile, unless you are very adventurous and have thoroughly researched your local chargers. And never rely on a single charger.

Always have a plan B even if the plan B is just sticking an extension lead through the window of your friend´s house.

For travelling along the Ruta 5, what I do is the chargers are spaced out 100km apart so I stop at every single one so the range remaining is always >100km. That way, if you ever have a failure of some kind (occupied space or charger not working) you should still be able to make it to the next one.

We have

3.25kWP Risen panels (10 panels)
Batteries: Pylontech US2000C x 2 (4.5KWH total)
Inverter: Axpert MKS II 5kW (this inverter is more for off-grid systems and seems to be designed to work with lead acid batteries although I have got it working with the Pylontech but it´s not the obvious choice and it doesn´t have communication with the battery)

I don´t think there is a separate charge controller, I think that is part of the inverter and/or battery BMS. I don´t understand MPPT too well, and I don´t know if my system has that.

I am a beginner/intermediate with solar. I didn´t install the system myself. I just told the installer how many batteries and panels I wanted and a few other details and let him take care of the rest.

You have a pretty respectable home system there. I know of 1 other family that has one of the Axpert systems, but they are using AGM sealed leadacid batteries and they are pleased with it (not in chile)

Are you able to take advantage of excess energy sell back to the Chilean grid? Not sure if your Axpert model will do that as it depends on some technical details. I know of another Chile based family doing that in the south with CGE but dont know if you are served by CGE or not where you are

You have a nice spread of panels. The 325w Risens were a good choice. Are you in the city and still have the room for a 10 panel array? All roofmount?

My setup is again for energy security and that primarily for our mission critical food storage and computer systems. We use the Yetis to cart around for adhoc use (say to watch a movie and then its cut off). We have a ton of little rechargeable lamps and flashlights so the lights are not even on the main system.

We also dont have a transfer switch or try to electrify the house. The main system is an island with most of our electronics centralized in 1 room so as to segregate and isolate our EMF/Mf/RF so it helps to have the victron island in there. We use sodimac 40m extension cords as needed.

I sure am tempted to go whole hog with a transfer switch, but I also like the partition between the questionable house wiring and all the special gear

We live in the RM, but in a condominio in a rural area which has power cuts.

The electricity bills are sent out by the condominio rather than CGE. When I approached the administration about selling to the grid they were negative on it, and it looked like it would be a fight and time consuming, so I didn´t do it in the end. I don´t think I could sell to the grid now with my current inverter either.

For some people, you need to sell to the grid to make solar work economically. Because I have an EV and work from home, I can put the EV on almost every sunny day and use all of the energy.

We are still wasting about 1 megawatt of solar energy per year which at 70 pesos per kWH (the sell rate) is about 70,000 pesos per year that I´m losing. I´m not sure if that is worth all the hours and hours of tramites and follow up calls that are likely needed to get it going.

We are renting the house, and the owner was worried about the damage to the house, so in the end I put the panels in the garden. The downside here was that this increased the cost from 3.7M to 4.5M (million pesos) due to digging a trench to get the panels far enough away to avoid the shade of the house and due to the structure itself. However, it should make the panels slightly less expensive to move to another house later. It also makes them easier to clean and safer to install (you can fall off a roof). However, I think roof is the right answer for most home owners.

So you are on grid but don´t trust the grid, is that it?

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I am impressed your only solar surplus is 1 MW with an array like that even with the EV. An possible upgrade in the future is an automatic solar tracker on a ground array pivot joint…but not needed unless you added either more high demand 24/7 duty cycle applicances to the home or more batteries to be able to capture the excess and extend your longevity without new input.

Another intriguing innovation in panels are the double sided ones that do not require solar/lunar tracking but perhaps not as good at soaking up juice like the moving trackers.

A fine choice and kudos to you for having the guts to put in a system in a rental. For so many they dont even bother because they are renting, but especially here it is a very astute decision

Yes I am on the grid and yes it is not trustworthy…but that is not saying much. In Chile…i would wager anywhere the level of grid power delivery is untrustworthy.

To elaborate it is both an issue of quantity and quality.

  1. quality - voltage delivery is wildly variable. I did not know how wildly variable until I installed some APC SMT3000i units that have automatic voltage regulation(avr). You can configure low and high automatic transfers thar audibly click to notify you and ensure the attached loads dont get damaged from under or over voltage. The voltage is supposed to ve 230v 50hz. Yet all day long i see variance usually down to 200 or 190v, but sometimes as low as 160v. Computers, freezers, fridges, dishwashers, laundry machines, tv’s all of it can be damaged or in general the life of the appliance is shortened through the abuse of voltage they take. Ive had repairmen out to fix south korean made appliances that tell me the problem is undervoltage is messing up the unit. A typical surge protector is useless one needs either a serious UPS with AVR and battery support or at least a nonbattery enabled power conditioner with large capacitors

  2. quantity - we lose power if it rains too much.
    We lose power if it snows too much.
    We lose power if its too cold outside.
    We lose power if it is too hot outside.
    We lose power if it is too windy.
    We lose power on certain public holidays because drunk drivers crash into power pole lines somewhere nearby.
    We lose power if it is tourist season because of burst grid demand
    We lose power due to “planned cuts” that we often dont get the memo on. Sometimes the interuption is 20seconds to 5 minutes. Others are on the order of hours.

However we have been blessed in being in a location that has relatively quick grid restoration. Even during the worst outages we usually are back up with utility grid cge power in no less than 8 hours (where we live now) but prior we were in a condominio that had outages up to 26 hours. We are always living rural but there are other rural areas where people have gone more than a week with no power. Recently there was snow and our wood guy couldnt deliver becasue he was snowed in and had no power for over a week. Subzero temps, but they had wood heat to survive thankfully

  1. quantity We have a lot of equipment to power and some of the equipment is imported and precious and requires the highest level of voltage stability. Its all too much to run on solar alone without grid. We have 3 classes of stuff. Non critical, regular, and critical. Grid outages longer than 20 minutes all our non-critical stuff just cuts off instantly no ups nothing. Basic stuff either cuts off or goes to ups for graceful shutdown after. Critical is all on the main battery system all the time so if grid dies overnight we dont lose critical stuff. Once we know the grid outage is going to be extended we start to move over things to the battery system manually with extension cord reels. For example our super automatic delonghi is on grid direct as non-critical. But during long outages i will attach it to the yetis or the victron or a ups that has some juice in it to make coffees then power it off when done and disconnect.

We use all of the solar with no waste + grid supplementation to keep the pylontech and yetis and ups’s charged optimally. When grid dies our solar helps to extend the pylontechs before depletion. We can run 2-3 days at best with just our critical stuff running off battery and solar and then only prudent use of that stored power for things like charging our phones, led lanterns and flashlights, incubators, etc.

When the power comes back on (and we know it will stay on) we go into temporary full grid mode…all appliances go direct to grid and we try to charge up our batteries as quickly as possible with no loads to compete with storing energy to be ready for the next outage which sometimes can come as quickly as the next day if its come and go crazy wind storms. I hate wind storms the most of all. The wind just terrorizes us and our outdoor farm animals.

A couple questions for you:

  1. are you not using grid at all with your setup?

  2. do you have high winds? I have been shocked at the strength of wind we have endured. Virtually hurricane force where you think the roof might come off even with hurrican straps. Is your solar array just sitting bolted on concrete pavers?

“An automatic solar tracker on a ground array pivot joint” do you mean panels that rotate? It sounds awesome, but it wouldn´t make financial sense for us. I assume most of the extra energy would be in the summer half of the year (when we wouldn´t even use it), since in winter the sun spends most of the day in the south anyway.

We also have some voltage variations in grid but usually only on specific days when something has gone wrong. On one day it was about half what it should be! Most days however it´s very stable, only varies by plus or minus a few volts.

We get tens of power cuts per year to the grid supply of which some are minutes, some are hours, and maybe about once a year there will be one 12-48 hours. The power cuts have often been associated with wind or rain.

Our demand/use is about 13-14kWH/day year-round. In summer we have more swimming pool filter and watering sprinkler system, but in winter we have some electric heating (although majority is wood) and we use the clothes dryer, so it evens out.

We do use some grid because our output is average 10kWH/day in June and July so we use 3-4kWH/day in those months. We could in theory not use any grid at all from September to April (i.e. survive an 8-month power cut) with minimal changes. .

So far since installing the system 16% of our electricity has been grid, but now I have the Pylons instead of lead acid we might be able to push this down to 10%.

We don´t have any winds close to hurricane level but we do occasionally get winds that have gusts that might be approaching gale force and can blow a chair over. I seriously doubt it´s a problem for the panels which are set in concrete at each of the four corners – one of these is visible in the photo.

The lead acids only gave us 1.5-2.0kWH in practice so in power cuts that lasted hours I would have to ban TV use and heavy electrics in the kitchen. With the Pylons that isn´t necessary any more as we have a real 4kWH+ that covers what we use from sunset to sunrise.

@Mendoza - Either here or through a PM, would you mind letting me know who did your installation? I live not too far from you. My husband and I have been discussing installing solar lately.

It was my friend Demetrio Vera who did it
You can call him/whatsapp on 9 6431 8140
If you want you could come to arrange to meet me at my house and Demetrio lives 5 minutes drive from me so you could visit him as well, he has also has solar for himself
It’s very easy to get here by car and rarely any traffic on the way, but tricky without a vehicle
Although obviously he would need to see your property at some point
Remember that many solar systems don’t work in a power cut even if it’s sunny, if you have power cuts make sure to specifically specify that you need that type of system

Thanks for the info. We are just starting to look into it, but it’s good to have a personal recommendation. We don’t have that many power cuts. We have underground power lines here in the condominio, which helps somewhat. Last summer we did have a week with several cuts when it was really hot. I guess everyone had the air conditioning on!

Electric car update. (See also post 3.)

Summary as may be too long for some: I have been north of Vallenar and south of Concepcion with EV recently; all fine, chargers work fine.

I have now used the Copec fast chargers 35 times in total. It was fine 33 times and there were 2 times the charger didn´t work: with no solution/fix from the staff when this happened. The real solution is to always stop with enough range to get to the plan B charger. That´s why I have been stopping about every 100km even though the battery is often 50%-60% full when I stop to charge.

My car´s range averages 240km (even on the motorway) but varies with conditions. This assumes 100km/h on the motorway however, not higher speeds.

A good thing about an EV is you can charge anywhere there is an electric socket. I have also charged successfully at 4-5 different people´s houses by passing a cable through a window.

Slow charging is at 1.5kW with my car so it can take 20 hours to charge from 0% to 100% (!) so slow charges are not for a full charge unless overnight. At a 50KW Copec fast charger it takes minutes to charge.

I have done two long road trips from the RM recently. One in August to Saltos de Itata and Laja and Concepcion; and another one in September to Vallenar and the flowering desert.

Going north, the last fast charger is at La Serena, so I charged in a hotel in Vallenar (Puerto de Vega) that had a courtyard private parking and they reserved me a space next to the socket. From there it was possible to do a 200km circuit seeing the flowering desert and return to the hotel.

The longest gap between charging points on the network is 145km between Los Vilos and Socos. On the way up I left Los Vilos with 93% and got to Socos with 29%, driving at 90km/h average to save energy. On the way back I left Socos with 93% and arrived at Los Vilos with only 13% which was a surprise - implies 183km total range, compared to the usual 240km. I think the winds in that section were an issue (those of you who have driven it might recollect it is full of wind turbines), but the variations of range under various conditions are something to keep an eye on.

From La Serena to Vallenar is 200km so I just drove at 80km/h rather than 100km/h with the air con off to be absolutely sure of making it. It used 87% of the battery on the way there (uphill) and 76% on the way back (downhill). On the way there I pulled off at La Higuera and plugged it at a store on the town plaza for a few hours just to make sure.

Hills just aren´t a big problem because you use double or more on the uphill but no net energy on downhills due to the regen braking. At one stage I went 32km downhill and at the end the amount of energy in the battery was the same! Driving north there are monster hills but I am still getting 250km effective range at 100km/h with air con/heating off or low.

North of Los Vilos is adventurous but Los Vilos to Temuco is not. Going south is more relaxing as the chargers are closer together. I got all the way to beyond Chillan without ever going below 48% battery level. And that was only with the Copec network. There are two other networks on that route - Shell and Enel X that I haven´t even tried yet.

Check out the map of charging points here: Mapa Electrolineras | BMW Chile

Amazingly, in all the 35 times I´ve been to fast chargers (the majority this year), I´ve never had to wait for another car to finish (although I do deliberately avoid the very busiest days). Only two times was there anyone else there and both times they were just leaving, both were vans/small trucks. One time a taxi pulled up just as I was leaving. I´ve never seen a private car at any of them. It´s usually completely quiet. Electric car sales have not even reached the 1% level yet, very slow growth.

Both the 1198km return trip to the south and the 1745km return trip to the south cost me 39,000 pesos in electricity. The reason the shorter trip was the same cost as the longer trip was because on the shorter trip I generously offered a hotel 10,000 for an overnight charge (far more than the value of the actual electricity) whereas on the longer trip the hotel in Vallenar didn´t charge me for 3 days of charging. Most of the cost was at Copec, which is charging 250 pesos/kWh. When charging from home at normal electricity cost you can travel over 1000km for more like 20,000 pesos!

The journey from the south RM to La Serena took 8.5 hours including all the time stopped at chargers. The same journey is possible in a petrol car in 6.5 hours including one stop for a meal and to fill up the tank.

Excellent news! Glad to hear it is working well… Question: The same EV chargers that are all powered by fossil fuels? From a battery which holds metals that were extracted by machinery which use fossil fuels? Which when old will be discarded and leak toxic liquids into the environment? To a car which nearly if not all was entirely produced by using fossil fuels? To be delivered on a truck to the car dealership using diesel? To repeat the cycle? Just trying to put the pieces together is all… :thinking: I do not understand the EV fad. It is the equivalent of throwing a deck chair off of the Titanic in hopes it will not sink. Perhaps I am wrong…

Fatcat Brit rues his decision:

I arrived back in Tunbridge Wells at 7.45pm. A completely wasted day. The journey that should have taken four hours, took close on 11.

Curtez, Do you agree with this statement?
“Electric cars are better for the environment than petrol or diesel cars, with lower overall impact in terms of both pollution and climate change.”

If you confirm you agree with that first of all, I’m happy to then answer your questions after that. Alternatively just go and look on the cache for All Chile that was posted here once where I already answered all these types of questions multiple times.

If you don’t agree with such an obviously correct statement (not a single major government, car company, fossil fuel company, scientific study or respected expert disagrees with it), or won’t give a clear yes/no answer, then I am not going to debate with you at all, at least not on this particular thread. We need to move forward with solutions, not get stuck arguing things that were settled in 2010.

As I said at the start of the thread, “Electric vehicles…are a good idea.
I want to suggest we have this thread for those of us that agree”

Of course, your freedom of speech means you can chose to ignore that suggestion and come on the thread and comment what you like but likewise I am free to not respond to questions that don’t align with what I proposed the thread as being for.

Electric cars are also just better. Better acceleration, quieter, less smell, nicer to drive, ability to pre-heat and cool the car, less repairs and maintenance and servicing (time and cost) ability to charge from home and not have to go to a petrol station. These advantages cancel out the downsides in my view, even before you get onto a discussion about climate change.

Opec - basically a meeting of sexist dictators - has just announced in the minutes since I wrote that post that they are cutting production of oil. In other words, they have just decided that the current price you are paying at the pump isn’t high enough for them. They are going to price gouge you more.

They have decided to ask you to pay more money to their evil regimes, and you will comply. Since the government has not subsidized electric cars, most people don’t have much choice.

The next time you at the pump paying 1300 pesos per litre there’s 5 pesos they’ll spend throwing feminists in jail in Saudi Arabia, 5 pesos for Iran to spend planning a terrorist attack against Israel, 5 pesos to Putin to pay more his precision targeted attacks against Ukrainian civilians, 5 pesos to the Venezuela government to go after political opponents, 5 pesos for Nigerian corruption, 5 pesos to a dark money think tank in the US, 5 pesos to the Chinese to brainwash the Uighers, etc etc.

Electricity is almost entirely produced locally. Much better.