Learn how solar can lower your energy costs and protect you from electricty issues in future.
Homeowners across India are turning to solar energy as a clean, efficient source of electric power. In recent years, residential solar has experienced unprecedented historic growth, and is leading the way toward greater energy freedom.If you're thinking about making the switch, here are just some of the benefits you'll enjoy.
Photovoltaic modules, often called solar modules, are the key components used to convert sunlight into electricity. Solar modules are made of semiconductors that are similar to those used to create integrated circuits. The most common type of semiconductor is made of silicon crystal
In a solar module, these silicon crystals are laminated into n-type and p-type layers, stacked on top of each other. Light striking the crystals induces the "photovoltaic effect", which generates electricity. The electricity produced is called direct current (DC) and can be immediately used or stored in a battery. For systems on homes served by a utility grid, an inverter changes the electricity into alternating current (AC), the standard power used in residential homes.
Although solar will work virtually anywhere, some locations are better than others. To determine likely output, we look at irradiance and insolation. Irradiance is a measure of the sun's power available at the surface of the Earth, and averages about 1,000 watts per square meter. Insolation is a measure of the available energy from the sun and is expressed as "full sun hours". The more sunlight your location receives, the more power you can generate. To get an idea of your area's solar potential, look up a GHI (global horizontal irradiation) map online. Locations in orange and red are most ideal for solar panels.
The answer depends on many factors, such as location, system size, system placement and your own specific energy requirements. Because of this, it's difficult to provide an average system cost. An Authorised Dealer/Installer can provide an accurate estimate tailored to your home. Also, bear in mind that solar is now more affordable than ever, and can immediately generate savings.
A solar electric system cannot produce electricity without direct or diffused sunlight. It can generate some electricity on cloudy days, but not on an optimal basis. The technological advances in micro inverters and DC optimisers can help to optimise power generation where shade may be a concern. During evening hours, a solar system tied to a utility grid will rely on the grid's electricity input.
A "grid-tie" or "on-grid" solar system is connected to a utility power grid. Grid-tie systems are far more simple than grid-tie with battery storage back-up or stand-alone solar systems. In fact, other than safety disconnects and mounting structures, wiring a grid-tie system only requires solar modules and a grid-tie inverter.
Today's sophisticated grid-tie inverters incorporate most of the components needed to convert direct current to alternating current, track the maximum power point of the modules to operate the system at peak efficiencies, and terminate the grid connection if grid power is interrupted from the utility.
An off-grid solar system is not connected to a utility power grid and requires more components. The main items are solar modules, charge controller(s), batteries and inverter(s). Solar modules are physically attached to a mounting structure, and the DC power they produce is wired through a charge controller before it goes into the battery bank for storage.
The main functions of a charge controller are to prevent the battery from being overcharged and eliminate reverse current flow from the batteries back to the solar modules at night. The battery bank stores the energy produced by the solar array during the day for later use at any time, while the inverter takes the DC energy stored in the battery bank and inverts it to 220 VAC to run your AC appliances.
This is not recommended. Photovoltaics convert the sun's energy into DC electricity at a relatively low efficiency level (14-16%), so trying to operate a high power electric heating element from PV would be inefficient and expensive. Solar thermal (or passive solar) is the direct heating of air or water from the heat of the sun, and is much more efficient for heating applications than PV.
Incentive programs vary by state. Visit anert.gov.in to find policies and incentives that apply to your home state. Your municipality and local utility may have additional incentives. Kerala government issues subsidies for non-profitable organizations only in grid - tie PV systems. But make sure the quality of your product while opting for higher incentives. Remember a government approved company doesn't mean that it is providing only products of at most quality.
Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for electricity they add to the grid. Any excess electricity generated will spin your meter backwards, which has the effect of selling your excess power to the utility at an applicable tariff rate. On a monthly basis, you only pay the net of the power you used. If you generated more power than you used in a given month, your utility will forward your excess solar energy credits to the next billing cycle. In effect, you are using excess generation to offset electricity that you would otherwise need to purchase at the utility's full retail rate. Net metering is required by law in most Indian states, but policies can vary by a wide degree.
Although solar will work anywhere, some locations are better than others. To determine likely output, we look at irradiance and insolation. Irradiance is a measure of the sun's power available at the surface of the earth, and averages about 1,000 watts per square meter. Insolation is a measure of the available energy from the sun and is expressed as "full sun hours". The more sunlight your location receives, the more power you can generate. To get an idea of your area's solar potential, look up a GHI (global horizontal irradiation) map online. Areas showing darker orange or red are most ideal for solar panels.
As solar has become a mainstream renewable energy option, its affordability continues to grow for the average business owner. Likewise, panels and balance of systems components have become more efficient, which means more power can be produced from a system without increasing its size. The combined effect of lower costs and higher efficiency has greatly strengthened the economic benefits of installing solar, including a shorter time period for businesses to achieve return on investment.
Grid-tied systems are the most common type. They connect to the electric grid, and allow businesses to use solar as well as electricity provided by the utility. As such, they don't need to produce all of the electricity required by the business. When power demand is higher than the solar panels can provide, such as at night or on a rainy day, electricity from the utility supplements the solar system. Conversely, when the solar panels are generating more electricity than the business needs, it sends the excess power to the utility grid. Also, grid-tied systems do not offer protection from power outages unless a storage system is added. When the electrical grid is down, grid-tied systems will not operate for safety reasons.
An off-grid system is independent of the electric grid. Because of this, it has to be able to meet the user's full electricity demand. To store excess power for use at night or when the system isn't able to be 100% efficient, a battery is connected, often supported by a back-up generator or other energy source. Due to the complexity and reduced flexibility of off-grid systems, they are most commonly used for remote locations, or to power buildings or equipment with a consistent energy need that is safely within the maximum output of the panels.