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Solar Power at Reserva Las Tangaras

June 28, 2016

A part of the charm of Reserva Las Tangaras comes from the remote location and off-grid aspect of the cabin. Here you are removed from the noise of cars, dogs barking, and roosters crowing. You fall asleep to the sounds of frogs calling and the river flowing, and wake up to the chorus of songbirds in the forest just outside. Dinner is eaten by candlelight, and evening activities and chores carried out by the light of headlamps or flashlights when necessary.

Despite the romantic and tranquil atmosphere that comes from being off-grid, a certain amount of electricity is necessary in order to keep the reserve functioning well. Managers need to keep laptops charged for data entry, cameras for documenting species sightings, and the reserve cell phone in order to communicate with potential visitors.

Previously, all of these tasks and more were accomplished using an efficient gasoline generator. While the generator will still be necessary to run power tools, all other charging tasks can now be accomplished via solar power!

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The first successful phone charge via solar power!

We were able to install a 120 watt polycrystalline solar panel on the roof of the cabin. This panel, connected to a charge controller, deep cycle battery, and inverter, supplies noiseless and environmentally friendly power to meet most of the needs of the reserve. The panel can even produce power in cloudy conditions and during light rainfall (though at a lower rate).

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The newly installed 120 watt solar panel, soaking up some sun.

Installing solar power is the newest of several sustainability efforts that are ongoing at Reserva Las Tangaras, including maintenance of a fruit orchard, composting biodegradable waste, recycling and reusing a variety of materials, and encouraging a sustainable level of tourism to the area. We are happy to have been able to contribute to these efforts, and though we are sad to be leaving we hope future managers and guests enjoy harnessing the power of the sun here at the reserve!

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