Costa de Cocos, Mexico

Eco-Tourism Resort, Diesel Retrofit
Costa de Cocos (Coast of the Coconuts) is small scuba diving and fishing resort in Southern Quintana Roo, Mexico. Costa de Cocos is 5 km north of Xcalak, which has a large wind and solar hybrid system for the community.

Costa de Cocos has been built-up over the last 15 years by Dave and Maria Randall who moved down from Minnesota after several years of vacationing in the area. The resort now consists of 12 cabanas (each with a full bath), a restaurant/bar, a dive shop, and a workshop. It's remote location and its proximity to the famous Chinchorro Reef (second largest reef system after the Great Barrier Reef) make Costa de Cocos a popular destination from September to May.

The resort was powered by a succession of small (5-20 kW) diesel generators that provided electricity ~ 4 hours each evening. In 1992 they installed a 2.5 kW Trace inverter and a small battery bank, which extended power availability to ~10 hours a day. In 1996, with partial support from NREL, they installed a Bergey 7.5 kW turbine, a 48 VDC battery bank, and two Trace 5.5 kW inverters, which supplies the resort with power 24 hours a day.

The tower is a 24 m (80 ft) guyed Tilt-up with the Enhanced Corrosion Option supplied by BWC. The system was installed under BWC supervision in November, 1996. The wind system and one of the guest cabanas are shown above on the left. The electrical controls, conversion, and storage system is shown above on the right. The batteries are located behind the electronics a specially designed integrated rack assembly.

Since installation the wind system has operated without any problems. One inverter did fail after 2 1/2 years due (we believe) to a wiring problem on instrumentation added to the system to track its performance. However, there was no downtime for the system because the second inverter was able to carry the load while the first one was being repaired. The operation of the system is thoroughly monitored by researchers at NREL and the Southwest Technology Development Institute.