India is one of the few countries which is blessed with abundant solar energy. The country has a tremendous scope for the growth for the solar power. However, factors like lack of proper knowledge about the solar power technology amongst the consumers and penetration of second grade products in the market. Hence, we at Saur Energy International thought of starting a series of articles where we will be trying our best to explore various concepts about solar energy and help the consumers make an informed choice of good quality products before going solar. With this blog, we would try to make you aware of the things before you decide to implement Solar PV system for your house, office or any commercial complex.
Here is what you need to know before you start.
Check if you have required space to install solar panel system?
The amount of rooftop space in your house fundamentally decides how much you can install. Make sure to find out how many square feet of roof/balcony area is there in order to install a solar panel. Remember, it is mandatory for solar panels to face south so that good amount of sunlight is absorbed throughout the day. Solar Panels can be usually availed in standard 250Wp (Watt Peak) to 300Wp size for larger home installations. Even some medium to large set-up use multiple 74Wp or 100Wp panels. Most of the time, it depends on the installer, the space availability and the system design.
Measure how much electricity is used every day?
A 2000Wp of solar panels, charged through the day, can provide about 7000 Watts of power, subtracting inefficiencies. A typical Solar Cell provides around 0.5 Volts and around 36 and 72 Solar Cells make up a typical solar panel which implies 12 and 24 Volts. With one panel, you can choose a combination you want to power – all fans or all lights or just the kitchen. The first step is to study your electricity bill. Always go for genuine suppliers. A regular 2/3BHK household using a microwave, will need about 15,000 Watts of power every day. The Bijli Bachao site can help in analyzing the electricity bill. It also has information about equipment and power used, so get an approximate usage per room and by device before you plans your solar lighting in your home.
What will it cost?
To move to solar, you will need solar panel(s), inverters or UPS (uninterruptible power supply), battery, charge controller (to convert DC to AC) and wiring, apart from an understanding of your power consumption pattern. The cost of a rooftop solar panel depends largely on quality. For instance, a good quality rooftop panel of 1 kWh (the output) will cost Rs.75000-Rs.1 lakh. The number of panels needed will depend on the number of units of power consumed daily. For example let’s take into consideration the electricity bill is, say, Rs.1500 (250@Rs.6 a unit), you will need panels with output of about 2 kWh, which will cost you about Rs.2 lakh. If the panels produce about 180 units, you will be able to save Rs.1100 a month. Rooftop Solar Power plants can be broadly categorized into Battery-based and Non-Battery based systems.
Get a Good Storage Unit
Next important unit is battery. Since solar power can be generated only during periods when ample sunlight is available and not when it is raining or overcast, you will need to save the generated power so that it can be consumed later. For this you will need a battery. This will increase the overall cost. In our example, if the panel cost Rs.2 lakh, you will have to pay about Rs.2.8 lakh for panel with battery.
The good news is that the cost of solar panels has come down drastically in the past few years, mostly dues to imports from China. Earlier when someone bought 1.5kWh panel for their house in 2012, they had to pay Rs.4 lakh-plus taxes. Now it will cost around Rs.2 lakh plus taxes, including the battery.
Service and Maintenance
The life of a solar panel is 25 years. Solar panels have no moving parts or electronics and require practically no maintenance throughout its life of 25 years or so. All it requires is to wash panels once every 15-20 days with a cloth. While buying, ensure you are picking up reliable equipment from genuine certified suppliers. Always opt for a solar setup that is secured under a warranty period and remember to ask for the certificate to ensure remaining insured if malfunctioning happens. The payback period of solar rooftop system is 3-5 years depending on the state tariff.
Solar PV technology looks quite lucrative. Who would not want to use solar energy, a free renewable resource readily available at their disposal, to effectively reduce their electricity bills and increase green footprint! With this post, we hope we tried to answer few of the basic questions on the implementation of solar PV installation for your house, shop, office or any other commercial complex. Do let us know in case you would like us to answer any more questions and mistakes that you may find here so that we can correct the same for the benefit of everyone.