Friday, January 24, 2014

Basic solar power system for the grid-deprived homes at RM6,500

Many villages in Tuaran (Kiulu constituency) are still without electricity and I wanted to find out if it was possible to install small "phone charging stations" at the community halls (Balai/Dewan Raya), and perhaps a couple of LED lamps to help the folks communicate via cellular phones.

The idea is to purchase solar panel to power up a converter with an output of 150W to 200W, provide battery for energy storage, a couple of USB power outlets and a switch socket outlet (AC power). Installation was intended to by DIY.

I made some inquiries last year to find out what would be the cost in Sabah; I know one can get a better deal in West Malaysia. This is what I got from an e-mailed reply:

Battery/charger/inverter in a single module offered by Green Electric. No mention of brand of the solar panel.

An All-in-One (battery/charger/inverter) 150W output system + 135Wp solar panel.
Battery: Lithium Ion, which is smaller and more environmentally friendly
The cost of the system is RM5,000 and the cost of a single 135Wp solar panel is RM1,500.

The 500Wh System specifications:
  • 666Wh lithium-polymer battery 
  • Battery charger with state of charge indicator 
  • Automatic switch-over circuit 
  • Note: Min. 1,500 full charge/discharge cycles 
  • 135W solar panel 
Total cost of the solar powered system: RM6,500

The local-based company claimed to have installed quite a lot of them in Tenom and Pitas. As price of solar panel falls further, you can expect to get better pricing this year.

RM1,500 for a 135W solar panel means that the cost per watt is RM11.10 which is pretty steep. I was looking at a mini display at City Mall, Kota Kinabalu the other day and the cost per watt is RM8.00; you can actually buy a 135W solar panel at RM1,080.

About the service providers

Green Electric Sdn Bhd which distributes the DIY kit have installed quite a number of the off-grid solar power systems in Sabah through its system implementer, Compugates Sabah Sdn Bhd. Green Electric acts as designer and consultant, and Compugagates acts as the installer and maintainer of the systems.

TheGreenMechanics: Tthe price offered is expensive. If I were to install a system on a DIY pet project, I would look at a total cost of slightly more than half the price quoted.


Wesley Yeo said...

It is feasible to get a comparable system (battery, inverter, charge-controller & panel separately) for the cost of less than half of RM6,500. You can now get 185W mono-si panel for < RM1,000. Of course the system would be as nice looking as the pictures shown in your blog.

Fay Jesselton said...

The kampung people must be shocked to see the price ^__^