Solar Blog

by Solar experts

solar energy plant installation

DC and AC cables are an important part of Solar PV rooftop system, used in solar power plant for generating solar energy for home/industrial/commercial roof top or ground mounted. The 25 years life of Solar PV rooftop system can be expected only when the cables used in solar power plant for generating solar energy for home/industrial/commercial roof top or ground mounted are of appropriate size and quality. In this blog we will be talking on DC and AC cables size and quality.

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solar energy plant installation

A Solar PV Rooftop system will give its optimum performance only when the string sizing has been done correctly. In this blog, we will be talking on correct methods of string sizing.

Now let us first understand what a String is. When we connect Solar PV panels, used in solar power plant for generating solar energy for home/industrial/commercial roof top or ground mounted, in series, then it is called a String. String sizing means, what should be the minimum and maximum number of Solar PV panels to be connected in a string, so that system operates at its highest efficiency.

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solar energy plant installation

Recently our team was involved in a project "Design, Installation and Commissioning of 50 kWp Solar PV Rooftop Power Plant". Out of the total capacity of 50 kWp, 40 kWp was installed on an industrial site at Faridabad and 10 kWp was installed at residential site at Sainik Farm at New Delhi.

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solar energy plant installation

The Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education (SAICE) of the Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry is perhaps the first educational institution to become self-reliant by meeting all its energy requirements through solar energy. Grid-tied solar power plants have been installed on the rooftop of the Centre of Education building, Salle d'Art, Library and the Dining Hall with a cumulative capacity of around 130 kW. These rooftop power plants produce over 16,000 units of electricity per month. The four buildings themselves consume less than half of the electricity generated and the excess electricity is exported to compensate for the electricity consumed by other Ashram buildings thereby avoiding transmission and distribution losses. The Ashram did not avail any Government capital subsidy and instead opted for the Group Net Metering facility, a unique feature of the Solar Energy Regulations of December 2014 by the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) for Goa and Union Territories. These Regulations provide for the surplus solar energy produced by a consumer to be adjusted in the electricity bill of another service connection of the consumer within the State or Union Territory. This provision facilitates optimal usage of rooftops that are suitable for solar energy in cities where land

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solar energy plant installation

When we are talking about 25 years of life for a Solar PV Rooftop Power Plant, Module Mounting Structure plays a crucial role. In this bog we will be discussing on Module Mounting Structures Quality and Design.

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solar energy plant installation

Net metering is a critical dimension on the early and effective implementation of which depends the success of the grid-connected solar rooftop programme. SERCs of 19 States/UTs have notified regulations for net metering/feed-in-tariff mechanism, namely, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and West Bengal, Andaman & Nicobar, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep, Pondicherry, Goa, UP, Rajasthan and Odisha. However, its implementation has so far been tardy which is impeding project development and deployment. The following issues require urgent attention and action on the part of the discoms to expedite installations:

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solar energy plant installation

Islanding occurs when a solar rooftop system continues to supply to a load even when the grid is down; this can be very dangerous. Therefore, when the grid is down, the inverter, used in the rooftop system solar power plant for generating solar energy for home/industrial/commercial roof top, stops supplying power. This is a technical requirement for inverters strictly mandated by CEA and MNRE. However, in view of frequent grid outages in most States, particularly in industry, commercial and institutional establishments, the rooftop system should be able to disconnect from the grid and continue to supply solar power to the loads of such establishments using a battery storage system or in synergy with the backup diesel generator, else the solar power will be wasted. This is possible through additional advanced features to be provided in inverters – the hybrid inverter which could work in the off-grid mode and continue to charge batteries which power certain loads, or the inverter can continue to function in grid-tied mode in synergy with the larger backup diesel generator. For most industrial, commercial and institutional establishments, the second option is more feasible as they have large existing backup diesel generators for their loads. Such backup

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solar energy plant installation

In the competitive market of Solar PV Rooftop industry, installers may quote aggressively in order to get the order but this reduction in prices may not be from the margins rather from substandard system components. Customer concentrates mostly on quality of panel and inverters. While it cannot be denied that quality panels and inverters should give higher generation of power but for better and trouble free life & working of the solar power generation we cannot ignore quality of Earthing and other Protection components. These components of the total system mean a lot for the well being of solar power generation. Any compromise or low quality standards, for Earthing/SPD/ACDB/AJB etc can be fatal not only for the power system but also for human life.

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solar energy plant installation

Site Assessment & Shadow Analysis - An important step before Rooftop Solar PV Installation.

According to MNRE, approximate 10 sq. meters "Shadow Free" area is required for 1 kWp Rooftop Solar PV Installation. The term "Shadow Free" is very important and in this blog we will be discussing about "Site Assessment and Shadow Analysis for Rooftop Solar PV Installation".

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Poor performance of solar projects has become a cause of worry recently. As a benchmark the large field based projects were expected to generate around 1500 kWh of electricity for each KW of solar panels installed in the Northern India. However the performance of these projects has not been satisfactory. The table below shows the actual number of units generated per kW of solar panels as recently announced by the Agencies for different Northern India states for the year 2012-13.

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solar energy plant installation

With the ever growing temperatures and the persistent humidity, ACs have become a necessity today; as have the room heaters with the chilling temperatures of winters.
And while these make living easier, they do increase the cost of living. The ever increasing electricity rates don't help the bills either.
There sure are the green methods to lower the electricity bills, for e.g., LED light sources, the energy efficient appliances, and the latest, solar power; and then there are also some easy tricks and minor adjustments in the way we use our appliances which can help cut down the energy costs. These don't require an immediate big change or investment, and yet help cut down on the costs.

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solar energy plant installation

Crystalline silicon photo voltaic (PV) technology has given consistent performances in Indian conditions over the years. Limited experience with thin film technology has provided good performance in Rajasthan but slightly lower in other Indian Northern States compared to crystalline technology.

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solar energy plant installation

Sizing a battery for off grid solutions is quite complex from overall system design point of view. If we oversize then we carry the risk of battery not being fully charged and if undersized then we run the risk of not servicing the intended load for the planned duration.

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solar energy plant installation

The results of an analysis have been reported of generation for 2014 from solar power projects installed under the two Batches of Phase I of the National Solar Mission. The average net exported power under Batch 1 projects in the Northern States of Haryana, Punjab, UP and Uttarakhand ranged from 101-127 kWh/kW and was higher at 152 kWh/kW for Rajasthan. In most States generation was higher for crystalline technology compared to thin film technology. Under Batch 2, projects have come up only in Rajasthan in the Northern Region and the generation is slightly higher for thin film projects at 158

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solar energy plant installation

Solar roof top is expected to get a big push with the new scheme launched by IREDA to provide access to easier and cheaper credit. This scheme is expected to get funding from the current sources of IREDA, new lines from international funding agencies like KFW and the tax free bonds to be raised soon by the Government. As such the corpus available to support this scheme would be significant and has the ability of taking the rooftop solar to a much larger level through attractive credit.

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solar energy plant installation

Financing has been identified as the key barrier towards accelerating solar rooftop deployment. Towards easing the burden of high cost funds, the Government on 8th July, 2015 launched a Scheme of Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) for providing loans @ 9.90 – 10.75% for solar rooftop projects with a repayment period of 9 years and moratorium of 1 year. Loans can be provided upto 70 - 75 % of project cost and can be availed under Aggregator category or Direct category for a minimum aggregated capacity of 1 MW with minimum sub-project size of 20 KW. Interest rates are linked to credit rating of borrowers. The Scheme is backed by credit lines from KfW and JICA. The Financial & Operational Guidelines of the Scheme which is open to Industrial, Commercial & Institutional projects have been released by IREDA.
IREDA has pioneered and has so far been lending to large multi-megawatt utility scale renewable energy projects for which it has considerable experience. Lending to distributed or decentralized projects is a relatively new domain. The project/loan size will generally be smaller and gestation will be shorter. New documentation and processing/appraisal procedures will be necessary. The conditionalities and security requirements including collateral/bank

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solar energy plant installation

In off grid systems the main issue experienced is regarding the battery back up recommended by supplier . This issue as well the life of the battery guaranteed by the supplier makes a lot of difference in costing of the solar power off grid systems.

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solar energy plant installation

A definite interest is there with many building owners for the roof top solar projects as the prices have come down for the solar panels. The performance of the solar panels have been quite satisfactory across India under various weather conditions to give the confidence to the building owners that the solar technology is there to stay for long times to come.

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solar energy plant installation

Over 50,000 Petrol Pump stations in the country require electricity to run their Petrol Pumps and are paying heavy tariff charges to DISCOMs. Many of the petrol pump owners are also using diesel generators in areas where there are power cuts.

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solar energy plant installation

As per the approved tariff order of UPERC dated 18th June 2015, the tariffs for the consumers in the state of Uttar Pradesh are increased for all the consumer categories. The increased electricity tariffs varies from Rs 0.40 per unit to Rs 1.0 per unit depending on your consumer category (with the exception of Private Advertising and Sign Post) and the number of units consumed. A Unit is equivalent to one kWh (kilo watt hour).

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According to provisions of the Electricity Act 2003, the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) are required to fix a minimum percentage of the total consumption of electricity in the area of a distribution licensee for purchase of energy from non-conventional energy sources. The concept of Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) was thus born in the country. Consequently, the SERCs in various States have come up with 3-5 year trajectories for RPOs. The SERCs were later also asked to reserve within the percentage so made applicable, to start with, a minimum percentage of 0.25% for purchase of solar energy under a Solar Purchase Obligation (SPO), going upto 3% by 2022. Under the Draft Amendment to the Tariff Policy, now under consideration, the SPO is sought to be raised so that it reaches at least 8% in energy terms by March, 2019. This is being done with a view to accelerate solar deployment in order to reach the goal of 100,000 MW by 2022, which includes a target of 40,000 MW for solar rooftop projects. The applicability of RPO and SPO extends beyond discoms to Captive Generators and Open Access (OA) Obligated Entities (OEs) as well.

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In a far reaching decision, the subsidy for setting up roof top solar will be completely removed for the Commercial and Industrial consumers going forward pending the Cabinet's decision. The decision also clearly points towards the maturity of solar technology and its increasing affordability on its own for the widespread implementation.

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solar energy plant installation

The Delhi Jal Board shows the way in Delhi . . .

The Delhi Jal Board has installed a solar power plant on the rooftops of their underground reservoirs. The 50 KW plant comprises 200X250 watt solar panels and 2X25 KW grid-tie inverters. It is projected to generate 90,000 units of electricity per year, likely to give a saving of Rs. 7.2 lakhs in a year. Actual generation of 6,600 units and saving of Rs. 55,000 have been reported for a month. The solar insolation levels for Delhi at 5 kWh/sq. m./day are lower than Rajasthan or Gujarat which can give annual yields of around 1500 kWh/kW.

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Colleges are exploring the option of installing solar solutions for some time given the discussions going around about the attractiveness of solar technology these days. As the colleges as well schools generally have a peak load during the day time, the solar technology becomes feasible for them to consider. The case of solar is further supported by huge roof space available with these institutions which can be effectively used for installing solar. In fact, the colleges may have potential to generate surplus power which can be sold to the Distribution Companies at commercial rates.

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solar energy plant installation

With Indian government's target of 100 GW by Solar power, 40 GW is targeted through Solar PV Rooftop Power Projects. As we all know Solar PV panels produce DC power, while the appliances that we use at our home require AC supply. Hence there is a need of a product that will convert DC into AC, so that Solar PV power can be used by us. This is done by using Inverters.

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solar energy plant installation

The Union Cabinet on 17th June, 2015 approved the revised target of 100,000 MW for solar power for 2022. This includes the target of 40,000 MW for solar rooftop projects. The Government also proposes to provide subsidy for rooftop projects. There was a provision for 30% capital subsidy for these projects under the Grid Connected Rooftop & Small Solar Plants Programme of the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE), which has recently been reduced to 15% of the total cost or Rs. 12.00 per watt, or Rs. 1.20 crore per MW. It is not clear whether this has come into effect as yet. In any case, there is a huge backlog in clearing pending subsidy payments under the erstwhile scheme.

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The rooftop solar markets are expanding rapidly in India. On the back of government incentives and reducing solar prices, the number of installations is expected to go up significantly in the coming years in the light of the national goal of 40,000 MW by 2022. A number of solar vendors are marketing solar panels to the roof owners with the promise that solar panels will last for more than 25 years. Yes, the life of panels is quite long, of course, but there is a certain performance degradation observed in the generation from solar panels.

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solar energy plant installation

Roof top solar solutions are becoming increasingly popular with the building and house owners. A few thousands of solar installations have already happened in the country. As the prices of solar have significantly reduced while the Distribution Company (discom) or the grid tariffs are further increasing, the solar solutions have become attractive source of electricity.

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solar energy plant installation

In National Capital Region, the net metering has been allowed by all three state governments of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. It means that if a building owner has installed the roof top solar solution, then the units (kWh) generated from this solar solution will be netted off from the total monthly electricity bill of the building. It is an important step in promoting roof top solar as the generation from solar is available during certain hours in a day when the building may not require this electricity. As such the building owners can "bank" this power with the Distribution grid and take it back when they require it through net metering mechanism.

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solar energy plant installation

Uttar Pradesh Discoms have filed the petition on 2nd February 2015 for the tariff increase for the year 2015-16 which is now being heard by UPERC. The Discoms have proposed a hike in the tariff by 9.21% though the tariff required to meet the full revenue gap is 19.59%. The biggest percentage increase in tariff has been proposed for the domestic consumers which can go up to 19% for the consumers in the lowest consumption slab.

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The savings from installing rooftop solar will accrue to the consumers by reducing their electricity bill. For the units generated from the solar solution, the consumer does not have to pay the bill to the distribution company (Discom). However the consumer does not get the waiver from paying all the charges.

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solar energy plant installation

Solar cells can be classified as:

  • Mono crystalline solar cell
  • Poly crystalline solar cell
  • Thin film solar cell

Mono Crystalline solar cells are produced by wafers of highly pure single Si crystal. Metallurgical grade silicon is purified to form semiconductor grade silicon. Mono crystalline solar cells have highest efficiency of around 20%. Due to the high efficiency, mono crystalline cell require less space to generate more power. The cost of Mono crystalline cells is very high compared to other technologies. Mono crystalline cells are highly vulnerable to temperature effects. This technology is well developed and gives a stable power output. Mono crystalline cells have less power degradation over time when compared to other technologies.

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As per the tariff order of DERC for the year 2014-15, the variable tariffs for the commercial and industrial categories for the year 2014-15 are in excess of Rs 9.00 per kWh. A revenue deficit surcharge is imposed on the fixed and variable charges as per the orders of DERC and the Supreme Court ruling.

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solar energy plant installation

Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission has finalized the tariff for the year 2015-16 as per its order dated 7th May 2015.

Tariff for the domestic consumers consuming more than 500 units are going to see a substantial hike in the tariff. The energy charges for these domestic consumers are increased from Rs 5.98 per kWh to Rs 6.74 per kWh - a 12.9% year to year increase. The FSA, Electricity Duty and the Municipal tax would be over and above this tariff. In effect, these domestic consumers will pay Rs 8.17 per kWh as the variable tariff.

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Given the challenges in getting supply from conventional sources, the Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission has recommended the Discoms to support roof top solar systems. In the tariff order for 2015-16, the HERC has suggested that "Discoms shall endeavour to promote the installation of grid connected Solar Rooftop System and to facilitate its consumers who intend to install such system. The Commission, in order to promote Rooftop Solar Power System under net-metering regulations, shall consider Generation Based Incentive (GBI). The details of the incentives to be provided shall be determined by a separate Order in due course of time".

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As per the recent order (March 2015) by HERC, the FSA recoverable from the State Government on account of sale of power to agricultural pumpset consumers is as under.

FY Amount to be recovered from Government for Agriculture subsidy (Rs CR)
2008-09 344.27
2009-10 961.49
2010-11 415.48
2011-12 753.13
2012-13 615.27
2013-14 725.93
Total 3815.57

 

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