A Backup / Emergency Power supply

  overloadedBelieve it or not the power goes out and it goes out often. The system is straining under the burden of rapid development and sometimes it simply breaks down. "picture 15 toasters plugged into one extension cord". The image I have shown here is pretty much where the electrical grid is in Panama at the present time.  There is nothing like coming back from a couple of nights in the city to find the power has been out most of the time you were away. The floor is covered with water and the fridge stinks. Oh and of course that stash of great meat you have/had in the freezer. Well forget it.

If you plan it all out during the design phase its easy to lay out the special circuits that you want to have covered by emergency power and build in the switching circuitry. A good automatic unit that should take care of essentials (not including the AC) will cost you in the vicinity of 4 - 5 thousand dollars. A little more if the AC and the TV are essential to your life style. There is a good chance that your builder and your electrician live in a 1 bedroom house without either AC or a big flat screen TV or a deep freeze. No they will not recommend a backup power supply.  They are savey enough to understand that if your budget starts to get "up there" they could lose a contract. 

We live differently and that's OK just plan for it and you will be much happier here. For me I want to have at least the AC in the bedroom available if I need it but it very much depends on where you live. Homes in the higher altitudes seldom need the AC and usually have a decent breeze so it is not a concern. Often the homes on the beach are blocked and do not have as much air flow so AC is a bigger concern. By the way if you have no power you will have no water and that can be yet another stinky problem (think mucho heat and no shower) :-( Why no water? See the chapter (Water Pressure/Supply). Think about it carefully like everything else I have listed. Its easier now than later. If you are pinching pennies then forget the whole thing and go home and pack groceries at Safeway and collect your pension. Panama is a wonderful place if you do it right but it can be pretty stressful if you screw it up.

Electrical Supply.

NO a 100 amp circuit will not cut it - again no matter what your contractor tries to tell you.  Minimum of 200 or more.  Yes it will cost more but pay it now or pay MORE later.  Think - Air Conditioning, Water pressure pump, pool pump, TV, Fridge, Freezer, 6 - 8 fans, etc etc. Remember to set up your panels for your auxiliary power system.  GET seriously competent help with this step.  It WILL save you considerable grief in the future. 

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So think about it
- Are you a handy kinda guy?  - if not, buy a condo.
- Nothing works without power
- No running water
- No microwave
- No toaster
- No hair blower
- No alarm system
- No pool pump
- No refrigeration
No Air conditioning
- No lights (think security) not to mention convenience
- No internet - no telephone - no television
- No ????