In Santiago Solar-Powered Home was a Dream Come True

By Gregory Alexander

Shortly after Violet Alba and Dudley Bauer met, their conversations turned toward what they discovered was a common dream: to live in a quiet, peaceful place where they could enjoy each other’s company. They longed to enjoy what nature had to offer without putting a strain on her resources. This is how an Uruguayan and a North American ended up in Panama.

Knowing they wanted to spend the rest of their lives in Panama, they contacted a friend who lived in Santiago.  They visited — and loved it. They knew that this was the place to make their dream of a fully-functioning solar-powered farm a reality.

After plenty of research, they worked together with a local electrician, Mario Batista, to design and implement an entire farm powered by the sun. The building process took just eight months, and the couple moved into their eco-friendly home in 2009. They started raising chickens (up to 1,400!) and selling 40-50 of them per day in the local community of Montijo. Geese, rabbits, and a few cattle were gradually added to the farm family.

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Dudley and Violet built their dream home: a fully-functioning solar-powered farm

The farm has 28 solar collector panels with 16 storage batteries, which produce both 220V and 11V electricity. They started with 32 batteries, but they found a new converter that made half of those unnecessary.

It’s hard to say how much money Violet and Dudley’s solar panels saved them over the years, since they never had to pay an electric bill, but based on the power usage one might estimate a savings of $120-140 per month.

Sadly, Dudley passed away last year. Violet is grateful for the time they shared in their dream home, but it’s not the same without Dudley and she has decided to move on. She hopes the new owners will love and appreciate the solar-powered farm as much as she and Dudley did.

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