Solar power capacity in India has increased by more than 11 times in the last five years from 2.6 GW in March 2014 to 30 GW in July 2019. This article will discuss how the solar system works and the major benefits of choosing solar over traditional forms of energy.
How Solar Works?
A solar cell converts the energy contained in the sun’s radiation into electrical energy. Due to the limited size of the solar cell, it can only deliver a limited amount of power under fixed current-voltage conditions and is not practical for most applications.
To use solar for electricity generation, a number of solar cells have to be connected together to form a solar panel, also called a PV module. For large-scale generation of solar electricity, solar panels are connected together in a solar array.
Major Components of Solar Power System
The main building blocks of a solar energy power system are solar panels. They are the units that trap the sun’s solar radiation and convert it into electricity. This electricity is then supplied to electrical loads and can be stored in batteries for stand-alone systems. Solar panels are typically mounted structures on building roofs for most residential sites.
Inverters are DC-AC converters that are used to convert DC voltage produced by the Solar panels to AC voltage. Appliances and loads in India usually utilize alternating current, and hence the need for an inverter. Furthermore, for a grid-connected solar power system, there is a need to convert the DC voltage from the solar panels before transmitting to the power grid. For smaller systems, as are commonly used in homes, single-phase inverters are used. They are connected to one phase of the grid. For larger system sizes, three-phase inverters are used that are connected to all phases of the grid.
A mounting structure is used to fix the solar panels and to direct them towards the sun. Proper positioning of the solar panels will ensure maximum solar radiation is captured in a given location and ensures optimal power generation. There are fixed structures as well as those designed to track and follow the position of the sun. Most residential solar power systems are mounted on a fixed structure on building roofs. Structures generally have a ground clearance of 300mm. But elevated structures with a ground clearance of say 6ft will allow you to use the roof for other purposes as well.
Energy Storage Systems (optional)
Energy storage is a vital part of stand-alone systems or off-grid systems as it stores excess electricity produced by the system. Usually, batteries are used as energy storage units. During the day when the sun’s radiation is high, the solar PV system supplies electricity to the load as well as charges the batteries. Deep cycle batteries are usually preferred for this purpose – batteries that can withstand repeated charge and discharge cycles.
ACDB and DCDB
Alternative current distribution box (ACDB) and direct current distribution box (DCDB) are safety circuit boxes which help prevent damage to our appliances. DCDB which is installed between the solar panel and solar inverter controls the DC power generated by the solar panel with necessary surge protection device (SPD) and fuses. The ACDB installed between the solar inverter and connected load receives the AC power from the solar inverter and directs it through the distribution board.
Balance of systems (BoS)
The balance of system includes all the components of the photovoltaic system with the exception of solar panels. The overall performance of solar electricity supply systems is strongly dependent on the correct choice of cables. Selecting the wrong cable specification can significantly affect the performance of the Solar PV power system.
Benefits of Solar System
- Better for the environment
Solar electricity is one way to power your home or business that benefits the environment. There are no direct greenhouse gas emissions because the electricity is made from sunlight rather than burning fossil fuels.
- Save on your power bills
You should see a saving of 80- 90% on your electricity bill from day 1 because you will be using power from your solar panels during the day and reducing the usage of electricity from the grid. With a net-metering, you can also offset the electricity used from the grid by exporting excess electricity generated by your system.
- Low maintenance
Grid-connected solar PV systems generally need very little maintenance. With occasional cleaning and a regular check, solar panels should last around 25 years. It is likely the inverter will need to be replaced at least once in that time.
- Best Investment
Investing ₹1 lakh would give you a return of ₹25,000-30,000 a year (ROI of 25%-30%). This makes solar a low risk, high return investment compared to other options in the market.
Going solar today can save you 90% of your electricity bill along with the benefit of saving the environment for better sustainability. Start your solar journey today. Go Solar with Freyr Energy.