• What are the key factors that I must consider if I am planning to go solar?

    Before taking the solar course, you must be able to answer the following questions with certainty:

    1. How much is your energy requirement? And what are the sources of your power consumption?
    2. How much of shadow-free space is available in your premises?
    3. How much would you be able to save by going solar?
    4. Which are the most feasible options for buying solar products and systems from the solar market?
    5. Which is the most commercially viable business model (CAPEX or OPEX) if you want to go solar?
    Can a Solar Plant meet one’s absolute power requirements?

    It depends upon a lot of factors; like space available to set up the plant, type of location, availability of shadow-free area, and so on. Typically, a solar plant meets 20%-26% of your total energy requirement.

    Which are the major components of a solar power system?

    Solar PV modules and inverters are the 2 major components. If we consider in terms of cost, these 2 components would constitute somewhat 70% of the total project cost.

    What is a solar PV module?

    A solar PV module is one among the major components of a Solar Photovoltaic system that converts sunlight into electricity. It consists of a group of cells made of semiconductor material. With the descend of sun rays on these cells, there is a flow of electrons that produces direct current (DC).

    What is a Solar Photovoltaic system?

    The term photovoltaic is derived from photon meaning light and volt, the SI unit of electric potential. So, the solar photovoltaic systems convert sunlight into electricity.

    What are the different components of a Solar Photovoltaic system?
    • Solar PV modules converts sunlight to DC
    • Solar Inverters convert DC produced by the modules to AC
    • Solar batteries store energy for later consumption
    • Charge Controller prevents overcharging and overvoltage
    • Circuit Breaker protects the circuit from damages caused by overload and short circuit
    Are there different types of photovoltaic system?

    Yes, these are the 3 different types of PV systems:

    • Grid-tied or On-grid – It is the power system that is connected to the utility grid. It has no provision of backup since it has no batteries.
    • Off-grid – It provides electricity from the solar panels without connecting to the local utility grid network. It has a battery storage and provides backup of the surplus electricity produced.
    • Hybrid – It incorporates the advantages of both grid tied system and off grid system. With the hybrid system, you are connected to the grid as well as you have batteries to store power.
    What is the maintenance cost involved for a PV System?

    Unless there is any technical failure, as such no maintenance is required whatsoever. A periodic inspection, however, is necessary to make sure the panels are clean and dirt-free.

    Are the PV panels guaranteed to stand up against extreme weather conditions like heavy rainfall, hailstorm, hurricanes, etc.?

    Solar panels are mostly certified and tested to withstand all weather conditions. In the rarest of the rare extreme weather conditions only will the PV system reduce its energy production. But that too is temporary.

    What are the CAPEX and OPEX model?

    In OPEX model, the investor owns the asset whereas in CAPEX model, the end consumer can own the asset and save taxes by claiming accelerated depreciation. In OPEX model, the consumer and the producer enter a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) for a predetermined period of time typically in between 10-25 years. During this tenure, the consumer pays the producer for the power generated at a decided tariff while the producer is liable to perform all the operations and maintenance activities.

    How much time is required to install a solar system?

    That depends upon the complexity of the project. Typically, it can take in between 2-10 weeks.

    Is there any way to determine the efficiency of my solar PV system?

    By installing a data monitoring device, you can compare the actual and the estimated performance on a daily, monthly, or yearly basis.

    Is photovoltaic solar technology suitable for temperate climates where the sunshine is not that intense?

    Photovoltaics convert both direct sunlight as well as diffuse solar radiation into DC. So, although PV modules will tend to generate more electricity on bright days, they would also produce electricity when the sky is overcast.

    How will the system generate power during the night?

    Solar Systems generate electricity only during the sunshine hours. At night, you must either source it from the grid or the battery backup.

    What is Net Metering in solar power systems?

    Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits consumers who generate their own power and feed the surplus electricity back to the utility grid.

    What is the financial assistance provided by the Government?

    Under the Grid Connected Rooftop and Small Solar Plants Programme of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), there is a provision of Central Financial Assistance of 15% of the total cost or Rs 1.20 crore per MWp for solar installations.

    Are there any other fiscal incentives available for Solar Rooftop Systems?

    There are provisions of accelerated depreciation, concessional import duty/excise duty exemption, and tax holiday for establishing grid-tied rooftop solutions.

    Are there any efforts from the Government to provide loans for solar rooftop systems?

    All the Public-Sector Banks have been instructed by the Department of Financial services to encourage home loan seekers to install solar PV plants and include the cost of the system in their home loan proposals. So far, around 9 Public Sector banks have obliged.