Over the last five years, the owners of this property have developed the gardens with attention paid to making it an easy and enjoyable garden to maintain. There are many banana plants and ginger plants on the property and ample space to include a herb garden or to expand on the plants presently growing, or alternatively, you can just enjoy the garden in its present low maintenance mode and focus your attention on other projects.
Dock and Bodega
Dock & Bodega
The dock is 400 square feet in size and includes an independently solar powered boat lift. The boat lift is a very useful addition to the property allowing you to raise your boat out of the water ensuring ease of cleaning and maintenance as well as preventing sealife growth on the bottom of the boat which reduces it’s fuel efficiency.
The dock is constructed of wood and leads directly to the storage Bodega. Inside the bodega is the power system of the house including Inverter and battery bank.
Power System Specifications
The house solar system consists of 20 – 205 & 210 Watt panels in strings of 5 ea for a combined total of 4160 Watts. The panels are fed into two combiner boxes and two Outback FM-60 charge controllers. The Charge controllers are connected to a disconnect switch and then to the battery bank.
The battery bank consists of 16- 6 Vdc 225 Ahr. batteries for a total of 450 Ahrs. of reserve power. The system was designed for 1.5 days of reserve, but I like to charge the batteries every day. Note the batteries are two years old and should last another 2 to 3 years.
The batteries feed through another switch to the inverter. The inverter is an Outback VFX 3648, which supplies the house with 120Vac at 3600 watts.
To charge the batteries when there is no sun there is a Yamaha EF6600E generator. This generator will charge the batteries and power the house with ease. The generator has been modified to run on the propane here in Panama as well as gasoline. When on propane the fuel cost is about $0.88 per hour and operated with gas the cost is about $ 2.32 at current prices or 0.8 gal/hr.
There is a large disconnect switch which allows you to feed the house with the inverter or you can isolate them and power things from the generator directly.
The system has two additional devices, a Mate 2 on the panel which monitors and allows programming access to the charge controllers and the inverters and a battery status indicator located in the house which monitors the battery usage remotely.
Water Collection & Storage
The water catchment system consists of 4 water tanks and one pump and control system. There are also two water filters.
The house came with two 500 gal tanks for 1000 gallons under the house. Added to this system are two 1250 gal tanks on a cement pad at the back of the house. All tanks can be fed into the 1/2hp supply pump separately and the large tanks can be used to fill the smaller tanks. The rain water is collected from the roof at a rate of about 1200 gallons in a 1 inch rain.
The pump as stated is 1/2 hp and has a control box mounted on it which has both pressure and flow switched as well as a one way valve. The pressure switch controls the pressure at 40 psi and the flow switch prevents the pump from running dry and burning it out. The check valve stops back flow out of the system.
There are two filters to remove particulate matter before entering the house.
There are two instant water heaters installed, one for the kitchen and laundry room and the other is for the two bathrooms. There is a bypass between them so in case of a problem either heater can supply the house with hot water.