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1. What is the function of a Solar Power Plant?

A Solar Power Plant Produces Electricity Directly From Sun By The PV Effect On A Solar Panel Made Of Semiconductor Material. The Direct Current (DC) Electricity (PV Output) Is Then Converted In To Alternate Current (AC) Electricity By An Inverter. A Solar Power Plant Consists Of An Array Of Modules Generating DC Electricity, An Inverter And Sometimes Battery (for Storage Back Up).

 

2. What are the Types of Solar Power Plant?

(a) Stand  Alone  System: It Is OFF-Grid Solar Power Plant Which Are Further Of Two Types
     (i) Stand  Alone  System With Battery Bank And
     (ii) Stand  Alone  System Without Battery Bank For Water Pumping Etc .
(b) Grid Connected Plant: It Is Grid Connected Solar Power Plant Which Are Further Of Two Types
     (i) Grid Connected Hybrid System With Battery Bank And
(c) Hybrid  System: It Is A Grid  Connected System Without Battery Bank –for Export To Grid On Excess And Supporting Back Up Load On Mains Failure
 

3. Capacities the Solar Power Plant?

Solar Power Plant Of Capacities Available 300Watts To Megawatts .OFF-Grid 300W To 100Kw, Grid Connected 1Kw To Megawatts, Hybrid Too In KW To Megawatts


 

4. Location for a Solar Power Plant?

A Solar Power Plant Can Be Installed In A Shadow Free Area Either In Open Ground Or On The Roof Top.

 

5. Space is required for installation of the Solar Power Plant?

For Installation Of Solar Power Plant Shadow Free Area Of About 9-10 Square Meter Per KWp Area Is Required. However Area Requirement Depends On The Capacity Of Solar Modules Used. On Higher Kw, Space For Substation, Transformer Etc Addl
 

6. Load on Solar plant?

Any Electric Operated Devices/ Gadgets Can Be Operated From A Solar Power Plant Depending On The Capacity Of The Plant, However Heavy Load Are Not Advisable To Operate From A Small Capacity Solar Power Plant With Battery Bank.


 

7. Yield from Solar Power Plant?

For Every KWp Power Installed On A South Facing Rooftop, The System Will Generate Around 1200 To 1600 Units In A Year. This Reduces By Around 10% For An East Or West Facing Roof.

8. Hours of electricity Generation from a Solar Power Plant?

On Clear Sunny Day A Solar Power Plant Can Generate Electricity For 5-6 Hours Daily.

9. Power during night from a Solar Power Plant?

Electric Power May Be Available From The Solar Power Plant During Night If Battery Bank Is Installed

10. Can connect a Solar Power Plant in combination with the grid power?

Yes, It Can Be Used In Combination With The Grid Power By Installing A Grid Connected Or Grid Tied Solar Power Plant.

11. Whether it will work when grid power (Electricity Supply) not available condition?

Solar Power Plant With Battery Bank Will Work Even When Grid Power (Electricity Supply) Is Not Available But The Power From Solar Power Plant Cannot Be Exported To Grid In Absence Of Grid Power.
However, The Solar Power Plant Grid Connected Type Will Not Work Or Give Power In The Absence Of Grid Power

12.Can an existing inverter be attached with the Solar Power Plant?

Yes, Existing Inverter Can Be Attached With The Solar Power Plant For Captive Use As In The Case Of Normal Grid Power.

13. Time taken for installation of Solar Power Plant?

Once Material Is Supplied At Site Solar Power Plant Up To 2+ Days/kWp Depending Capacity

14. Aprox. cost of a Solar Power Plant?

Tentative Cost Of Solar Power Plant Without Battery Bank May Be At The Rate Of Rs. 50-65 Per Watt While That Of With Battery Bank May Be Rs. 120-140 For Residential And Rs. 80-100 For Commercial Per Watt, The Cost Depends On The Type And Capacity Of Battery Bank. However, The Cost Of The Systems Reduces As The Capacity Of The System Increases.


 

15. Is any subsidy available on a Solar Power Plant?

Yes. Central Financial Assistance (subsidy) Up To 20-40% Of The Benchmark Cost For Residential Purpose, As Per The Prescribed Eligibility Criteria From Time To Time On Pre Sanctioned Cases And As Per Availability Of Funds From Time To Time. However, Commercial And Industrial Establishment Of Private Sectors Are Not Eligible For The Subsidy

16. What are the major parts of a Solar Power Plant?

Solar Panels/Modules, Power Conditioning Unit (PCU)/Inverter, Battery (in Case System With Battery Bank) And Balance Of Systems (BOS)-Mounting Structure ,Array Junction Box, DCDB,ACDB ,Meters ,Lightning Arrestor ,Earthing Etc .

17. Working life & warrantee available on different parts of a Solar Power Plant?

The Complete Solar Power Plant Shall Be Guaranteed For 5 Years While Solar Panels Shall Have A Life For 25 Years Life For 80% Power Output. The Warrantee Varies From Supplier To Supplier.

 

18. Is Solar Power Plant installed already be transported/installed at any other place?

Solar Power Plant Can Be Transported/ Installed At Any Other Place By Technical Person But Not Easily.

19. During day time if loads are off where will the generated power go?

If The System Is Grid Connected, Having Net-metering Facility, Then The Surplus Power Can Be Fed Into The Grid. In Case Of OFF-Grid System The Surplus Power After Charging Battery Bank Will Go Waste.


 

20. Surplus electricity generated from a Solar Power Plant be given to the power utilities?

Yes, In A Net Metering System Surplus Electricity Generated From A Solar Power Plant Be Given To The Power Utilities Which Can Be Adjusted Within The Financial Year.


 

21. What is a “Grid-connected” Solar Power Plant?

The “Grid-connected” Solar Power Plant May Connect To The Grid, By Installing Bi-directional Meter With The Permission Of Power Utilities Under “Net Metering” Regulations Of The State.

 

22. What is net-metering?

Solar Power Plant Can Directly Be Connected To The Grid. The “Net Metering” Allow You To feed The excess Electricity To The Grid When Your System Is Generating More Power Than You Are Consuming. The Power Exported To The Grid May Be Credited To Account And Can Be Used By The Consumer During The Financial Year. However Carry Forward Beyond The Financial Year Is Not Allowed Under Net Metering Regulations.

 

23. Solar panels of a Solar Power Plant are to be installed on roof, how these are safe from wind an

These Are Safe From Wind For A Wind Velocity Of About 150 KM Per Hour And Also Safe From Hailstorms To A Great Extent, If Installed Properly, As Per Specifications Of MNRE.

24. Do I need permission from the Municipal Authorities?

The Roof Mounted Solar Power Plant Do Not Need Any Permission From The Municipal Authorities.


 

25. Will my roof be strong enough?

Most Roofs Are Strong Enough To Take A Solar Installation Without Any Reinforcement. However, In Case Of Larger Systems, It Is Suggested To Obtain The Opinion Of A Qualified Structural Engineer.

26. Do I need to inform Power Utility (DISCOM)?

The Roof Mounted OFF-Grid Solar Power Plant No Permission Is Required, However For A Grid Connected System Permission Will Be Required From Power Utility.


 

27. What are the types of solar cells?

Mainly The Solar Cells Are Of Three Types: (i) Monocrystalline; (ii) Polycrystalline And (iii) Thin Film/ Amorphous.

28. What is the difference between Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline and Thin film PV panels?

Monocrystalline Solar Panels Tend To Be Slightly More Expensive Than Polycrystalline Panels, However Monocrystalline Panels Are Regarded As Having A Higher Efficiency Than Others. The Degradation Level Is More In Case Of Thin Film/amorphous Solar Cells, Efficiency Less But Yield Better Even For Low Irradiance.

Irrespective Of These Types And Different Efficiencies The KWp Committed The Plant Is The Capacity Of Each, Difference In Area Of Occupancy Based On Efficiency.
 

29. How much do the solar PV panels weigh?

Normally Weight Of A 300 Watt Panel/Module About 20 Kg.

30. Are the solar PV panels fragile?

Solar PV Panels Are Very Robust And Can With Stand The Normal Stresses Subjected By Nature.

31. What is an inverter or Power Conditioning Unit (PCU)?

There Are Two Kinds Of Electricity, DC And AC. Homes That Are Connected To Utility Power Use AC Electricity. Flashlights, Small Radios And Automobiles Use DC Electricity. In Order To Use Solar Power To Operate The Appliances In Your Home, An Inverter Will Convert PV Power From DC To AC. Inverters Can Be Further Classified As Units That Use Batteries (UPS) And Those That Use The Utility Grid As Power Storage (Grid-connected). For Grid Connected Solar Power Plants With Battery Bank, Power Conditioning Unit (PCU) Is Required Having Various Features, While For System Without Battery Bank Shall Require Inverter.  

32. Are there any technical standards for various components of the system?

Yes. The Various Components Of SPV System Shall Have IEC/ISI/BIS Certification And Confirm To Technical Standards Specified By MNRE. Detailed Technical Standards For Various Components Of The System Are Given On The Website Of MNRE.

33. What are the options in the Power Conditioning Unit (PCU)?

Following May Be The Options In The OCU:

A. Grid  Export System Hybrid PCU( Grid Connected With Battery Bank):
Condition # 1:
  - SPV Present, Grid Available
   -Battery Charged Through MPPT Charger + Mains & Load Supplied Through Grid
Condition # 2
   -PV Available, Battery Charged, Grid Available
   -surplus Power Exported To Grid Connected Loads
Condition # 3
   -SPV Not Available, Grid Available,
  -Battery Charging Through Mains
Condition # 4
   -SPV Not Available, Grid OFF,
  -Inverter Supplying Power To Grid Connected Loads Through Battery
Condition # 5
   -SPV & Grid Not Available
   -Battery Discharged. Start DG Command
   -Battery Charging Through DG

B. Grid-Connected Power Plant (Having Net Metering Facility)without Battery Bank:
Condition # 1:
   -PV Present, Grid Available
  -Load Supplied Through PV Upto Level Of PV And Draws More If Required From Grid
Condition # 2
   -PV Available, Grid Available
   -If Load Is Less Then PV Available Then Surplus Power Exported To Grid
Condition # 3
   -PV Not Available, Grid Available,
   -Load Supplies From Grid.
Condition # 4
   -PV Available, Grid Not Available
   -The Power Plant Will Not Work

 

34.What are the advantages and Limitations of Solar Power Plant?

Advantages Of A Hybrid System (Grid Connected With Battery Bank):

  • High Level Of Reliability To Battery Bank.
  • Lesser Battery Discharge And Hence Longer Life Of Battery.
  • Reduced Electricity Bills.
  • Highly Reliable System And Can Be Used In Wide Range Of URBAN/Industrial/Institutional Application. Also Improves The Quality Of AC Power And Can Be Called Solar UPS.

Limitations Of A Stand-Alone (OFF-Grid Plant):

  • High Cost.
  • High Cost On Maintenance
  • Works On Battery Charge-discharge Leadings To:
  • Wastage Of Precious PV Power Generated.
  • Reduced Battery Life.
  • Worst Performance When Used With VRLA Battery
  • Does Not Ensure Optimum Yield From PV Panels.
  • Thus Stand-Alone System Is Suitable Only For RURAL Where AC Power Is Not Available At Present And Is Not Likely In Near Future.

Advantages/Disadvantages Of Grid-Connected Power Plant Without Battery Bank:
Advantages:

  • High Conversion Efficiency Of PV Power Into Usable AC Power
  • Simple System With Longer Life I.e. No Battery Life Issue.

Disadvantages:     

  • It Works Only When Grid Power Is Available.

35. What are the environmental benefits of solar energy?

Like Other renewable Energy Resources, Solar Also Has Many environmental And Health Benefits. Using Solar reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Which Contribute To Climate Change, And Also Results In Fewer Air Pollutants Like Sulfur Dioxide And Particulate Matter, Which Can Cause Health Problems.

36. Do solar panels produce power in cloudy weather?

The Amount Of Power Generate By A Solar Energy System Is Dependent On Sunlight. As A Result, Solar Panels Will Produce Less Energy In cloudy Weather And No Energy At Night. However, Because Of High Electricity Costs And Financial Incentives, Solar Is A Smart Decision Even If You Live In A Cloudy City.

In a grid Connect System, As You Are Still Tied To The Mains Power Supply, Any Deficit will Come From The Mains Grid.

37. What are the parameters that affect the amount of solar energy received?

The Strength Of The Solar Energy (radiation) Available Depends On The Time Of Year, The Time Of Day, And The Latitude Of The Generation Point. The Amount Of Energy That The System Generates Depends Up On:

  • The Amount Of Dust And Water Vapor In The Air,
  • Intensity Of Cloud cover
  • Any Shading Of The Solar Panels
  • And The Quality Of The Solar Modules.

38. Does roof orientation really matter the yield?

Most Certainly For Example, A System With Solar Panels Facing In A Northerly direction Will Generate Less Than One With A Southerly Aspect. However, East/west Installations Can Be A Good Option Depending On The Installation Scenario.

39. What is a feed in tariff and how much will I get paid?

A Feed In Tariff Is Whereby A Grid Connected System Owner Is Paid By A Utility Or Government Agency For The electricity Generates. There Are two Different Types Of Tariffs, Gross And Net. A Gross Feed In Tariff Pays A premium On All Electricity Produced Whereas A Net Feed In Tariff Only Pays On surplus Energy Created By The System.

40. What system capacity required to run my home?

Capacity Depends On Your Energy Usage And Your Geographical Location. A 1 kW System Is Currently The “entry Point” For Grid-connect. It Will Cover 55 To 65% Of The Energy Consumption Of A Medium household. A 2 KW System Will Cover 100% Of The Energy Consumption Of A Medium Household.

A 1 kW OFF-Grid Solar Power System Generates Average 100 KWh/month And An ON-Grid. Generates 120 KWh/month.

Any Size Grid Connect Solar Power System Will Reduce Your Yearly Power Consumption And Your Power Bill. Naturally, The Bigger The System, The Bigger The benefit.

To Implement Renewable Energy At Home, First Do An Internal Energy Audit, To Eliminate Wastage Of Energy & Standby Losses. Go For Energy Efficient Lights (LED) And Fans (BLDC), Star Rated A/C, Fridge For Balance Of Energy 80% Be From Solar.

To Make The Most Of Solar Power, The Key Is To Implement Simple energy efficient Strategies. It Is Easy To Conserve Energy By Using Appropriate Lighting And Efficient Appliances. Running High Power Appliances Such As Electric Bar Heaters, Electric Hot Water Systems And Air Conditioners Etc. Is Really Not Economical.

Rather Than Considering A Very Large Solar System; You Can Invest In Energy Efficient Heaters, Solar Hot Water And Design Features Such As Strategically Placed Vents To Avoid Heat Entering The House In The First Place. In General – All Your Energy Can Be Supplied By solar Power And Your Budget And Daily Energy Usage Will Determine The Size Of Your Solar Power System.

 

41. Is my home suitable for a solar power system?

Several Aspects Need To Be Evaluated To Determine If Your Building Is A Good Solar Site, Such As Orientation, Space Available, Shadows On The Space Available And Your Current Electricity Usage. The Best Site Will Be One With Adequate Roofs/space That Has No Shade Where PV Panels Can Be Oriented To South. East – West Is Also Possible With ≈ 5 To 10% Reduction In Yield.

42. Can I insure my grid connect system?

All Most All Insurance Agencies Allow Including The System Under Your Home Appliances. Check With Your Insurance Company.

43. Can I upgrade the system whenever my energy requirement increases?

You Can Connect Additional Solar Panels At Any Time To Increase Generating Capability But You Might Have To Upgrade Higher Capacity Inverter Too. Alternatively You Could Purchase A Larger Inverter When Installing The System Initially And Then Plan To Add Some Extra Solar Panels Later.

44. What about the energy it takes to produce a solar power system?

Although Solar Electricity Is Pollution-free, PV Systems Require A Certain Amount Of Energy, Which Must Be ‘reimbursed’ Before They Can Be Considered As Renewable And Clean. This Is “embodied Energy”. An Assessment From The International Energy Agency concluded In Mid 2006 That Roof-top Solar PV Systems Recover Their Energy Content (from Manufacturing And Recycling) Within 1.6 To 1.8 Years.

Once They Have Reimbursed Their Initial Energy Input, 1kWp PV Systems Can Avoid The Emission Of 1.15 Tones Of CO2 Per Annum. This Depends On Their Location And On The Local Electricity Mix Available. Roof-top PV Systems During Their 25 Year Lifespan Can Expect To Produce Around 15 Times The Amount Of Energy Needed For Manufacture, Installation And Dismantling.

45. How often a Solar PV Power System need maintenance?

Solar Is Minimum-maintenance Technology. Unlike Other Energy Technologies, Solar PV Contains No Moving Parts. You Should Not Have To Replace Your Panels At All During Their Lifetime. Wiring Is The Part Of Solar PV That Most Commonly Requires Maintenance Because Squirrels, Rats And Other Animals May Tamper With It. Even In Those Cases, Damage Tends To Be Minimal. Weekly/Monthly Cleaning For Dust Depends On Dust Accumulation Be Taken Care For Better Yield.

46. On what roof materials can solar be installed?

Solar Panels Can Be Installed On Almost Any Kind Of Roof Material And Almost Any Roof Structure (flat Roof, Pitched Roof, Etc.). Panels Are Attached To Roof With A Racking System. The Best Racking System For Home Depends On How Roof Is Structured And Type Of Roofing Materials.

47. What happens when the grid power fails?

Most Solar Power Systems Are Grid-tied. This Allows Solar Homeowners To Use Their Solar Electricity When The Sun Is Shining, And To Switch Seamlessly Over To Utility Electricity On Cloudy Days Or At Night. For Grid-tied Solar System, It’s Important To Understand How A Power Outage Will Affect Your Solar Power System And Your Home. Firstly, When The Power Grid Goes Down, Your Solar Grid-tied Inverter Will Automatically Stop. This Is A Required Safety Feature, Designed To Prevent Your System From Feeding Electricity Onto The Grid And Injuring The Utility Linesmen Who Are Servicing The Wires. As A Result, Your Home Will Not Have Power (even If The Sun Is Shining).

                                                                                                                      

If You Want Your Solar System To Continue Producing Electricity Even When The Grid Goes Down, You Will Have To Pair Your Solar Array With Batteries. This Pairing – Called Solar + Storage – Allows Your Panels To Produce Electricity While Remaining Isolated From The Grid, Avoiding Any Safety Issues. Your Solar Electricity Will Be Stored In The Batteries And Can Be Consumed By Your Home When The Grid Is Down, Allowing Your Home To Remain Powered During A Grid Outage.

48. What kinds of loads you would like to run while the power is out

Your Installer Should Look At Which Appliances, Lighting, And Other Loads You Want To Power In An Outage In Order To Determine How Much Energy They Will Use Over The Time Period You Want To Keep Them Running. To Size Your Battery System, The Installer Will Add Up The Required Number Of Watt-hours Per Electrical Load Over The Desired Backup Period And The Maximum Number Of Watts You’ll Need At Any Given Time During A Backup Period. Bigger Loads Like Electric Stoves, Electric Water Heaters And Whole-house Air Conditioners May Not Be Able To Be Backed Up.

 

49. Suitable place to install batteries in a home.

Depending On The Type, Batteries May Need To Be Located Inside Or Outside. If Located Outside, And Depending On Batter Chemistry, They May Need To Be Placed In A Shaded, Temperate Area.

50. How long the batteries are able to run without being re-charged?

A Battery System That Operates Your Appliances And Lights For One Day Would Be Smaller Than A System That Can Operate The Same Equipment For Two Days Without Being Re-charged. For Most Systems The Standard Backup Period Is One Day, Especially If You Have Solar To Re-charge Your Batteries.

51. Does a Solar PV system produce same energy output throughout the day?

Since Solar PV Works On The Basis Of The Intensity Of Sunlight It Gets, Your Solar System Start Generation At Around 6.00 AM In The Morning And Stop At About 6.00 Or 7.00 PM In The Evening. The Energy Output Increases Gradually And Peaks At Noon Then Gradually Decreases As The Sun Sets. But Since The Solar Energy Produced Integrates Either With Your Existing Electrical Connection Or With Your Batteries, The Running Of Your Electrical Equipment Is Not Impacted.

 

52. Can solar be my sole energy source?

Yes, If Batteries Are Used. But, If Grid Power Is Available, Then It Is Recommended To Use Solar In Combination With Grid. Solar PV Can Be Integrated With Your Existing Power Sources (like Grid Power, Inverter, Diesel Generator, Etc.) In Such A Manner That The First Priority Is Automatically Always Given To The Solar Power To Be Consumed First. However, If You Are Using Solar PV For Night Time Usage Or In A Remote Location, It Is Quite Common To Have Solar Systems With Battery-backup.

It Is Advisable To Connect Energy Intensive Loads On Solar And Power Intensive Loads On Grid.

 

53. Is solar power cheaper than grid power?

Yes, Solar Power Today Is Cheaper Than Grid Power For A Lot Of Consumer Categories Across Most States. Moreover, Solar Is A Onetime Investment While Grid Tariff Keeps Increasing Every Year. Therefore, By Choosing To Go Solar Today, You Are Locking In A Fixed Energy Price For The Next 25 Years.

 

Illustration For An Average Residential Customer In Kerala:
A 2kW ON-Grid Solar PV System Costs Around Rs 1.4 Lacs And Has A Life Of At Least 25 Years With Low Recurring Costs. This Translates To A Per Unit Levellized Cost Of Rs 6/- Per KWh For The Next 25 Years

 

Lets Compare This With The Cost Of Grid Power. The Utility Charges Him Slab-wise But On An Average He Pays Rs 5.0/kWh. And This Price Keeps Increasing By About 5% Per Annum, Which Means You May Be Paying Rs 16.1/kWh At The End Of 25 Years. This Translates To A Per Unit Levellized Cost Of Approx. Rs   10.5/- Per KWh When Compared With The 25 Year Life Of Solar PV System.

 

 

54. What are the steps should I take to install a Solar PV system?

  • Get Your Site Visit Done And Start Receiving Quote.
  • Compare Quotes And Select Your Installer
  • Finalize The Terms (pricing, Guarantees, Etc.) And The Order With The Selected Installer And Start Solar Installation.

55. What are the different kinds of batteries?

There Are Different Types Of Batteries Available In The Market To Provide Battery Backup Power To Your Home. Different Types Of Battery Have Different “chemistries”.

  • Lead Acid Batteries

Since Quite Long Time Lead Acid Batteries Have Been Used In Cars, Tractors, Submarines And To Provide Backup Power To Homes And Buildings. The Most Common Variety Of Lead Acid Batteries For Backup Power Is Called “sealed Lead Acid”. These Types Of Batteries Do Not Require Regular Maintenance To Keep Them Operational, Unlike “flooded Lead Acid”. Lead Acid Batteries Are Bulky And Have A Lower Upfront Cost Than Newer Lithium-ion Batteries. Life Is Directly Depending On The Rate Of Charge Discharge Cycle, Usually 700 To 1200 Full Charge Discharge Cycle Or 5 To 10 Years.

  • Lithium-ion Batteries

The Market For Lithium-ion Batteries Are Growing Rapidly And Prices Are Dropping. The Technology Offers A Higher Density Of Energy (more Energy Per Unit Of Space) Than Traditional Lead Acid Batteries And Can Be Used (or “cycled”) More Often During Their Lifespan. The Upfront Cost Of Lithium-ion Batteries Is Higher Than That Of Lead Acid Batteries. However, Because Of Their Longer Lifespan (~ 10 Years) And Their Ability To Be Charged And Discharged More Frequently, Lithium-ion Batteries Have A Lower Lifetime Cost Than Lead Acid Counterparts.