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Renewable Energy

Panama - Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is something that the country of Panama has made use of for a long time. As there are a large number of small rural communities, renewable energy sources were much more practical than other types and there are many organizations which make use of different types of renewable energy sources for their lighting and heating as well as an increasing number of individuals who are opting for this type of energy for their homes.

Solar energy is one of the most popular types of alternative energy source used in Panama. This is not practical in all areas of the country as in some parts of the mountainous regions there is not enough usable sunlight, although some of the islands and parts of the mainland will have three times as much usable sunlight, so you are opting for this type of energy it is advisable to check in advance if it is feasible in your area.

The location of Panama means that the way you angle the solar panels is important. They should be almost horizontal with just a small slope to prevent rain water accumulating on the panel. However, the company installing the panels should be able to deal with this for you. You should also be prepared to have a mosquito net added around the equipment to stop all manner of bugs from making their home there, so it is not simply a case of installing the equipment. Homeowners need to think about long term maintenance.

It is possible to purchase the equipment and install it yourself but you do need to take into consideration warranties on the equipment. Many Panamanian companies will only offer a guarantee on equipment that they have installed and you should be prepared to arrange for the equipment to be serviced every six months or so. If you are in an out of the way area you can expect the delivery and installation process to take a number of weeks and you also need to ensure that the equipment is out of reach, as theft of solar panels is common.

The main issue with installing solar panels in Panama is cost. There are no local manufacturers and while there are a number of companies that will supply them, the import duties are high and this is reflected in the price to the customer. Many companies will not hold stock due to the high cost so you will need to wait as it is ordered from abroad but this is set to change as demand increases.

Many people in Panama can now see the benefits of using alternative energies, particularly as more and more expats are moving to the country and investing in this technology. There are currently no incentives for people to install renewable energy sources at their home but as demand increases it is hoped that the government will introduce measures such as reduced import duty and grants, making it a much more affordable option for the everyday user. This will be of particular interest in rural communities where there is no mains power and there is a need to supply electricity for homes, schools and clinics.

For the production of electricity for city users the government has a number of hydro-electric power plants so there are already greener sources in place than the use of traditional power stations. There is also several wind power farms in operation and more planned for the future to increase electricity production and meet the increased demand. One area that has been largely unexplored in Panama is the use of geothermal energy, which is a possibility but as yet there has been no investment or research.

Companies such as Sustainable Earth Panama will import, supply and install the units as well as offer maintenance services to both commercial and domestic users. Panasolar International specializes in the street lighting for both small and large communities and Arox Almar Caribe SA supplies solar panel systems and energy efficient lighting systems for homes large and small. Greentech Panama also offers a wide range of services in the supply of solar panels for both homes and businesses, and can help to train individuals to carry out installations themselves. They also specialize in advice for energy efficient homes.

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