What is solar electricity?


Photovoltaic (PV) systems convert sunlight into electricity that can be used to power your home, office or industrial facility. Today's solar electric technology can be harnessed to either supplement power supplied by your utility company or to take you completely off-grid from the utility company. Off-grid systems use battery back-up systems to store power.


What is a solar panel?


Solar water heating and solar electric (photovoltaic) systems receive solar energy in rectangular-shaped panels - also known as "collectors". These solar collector panels are mounted on a buildingís roof or ground-mounted in special situations. In solar water heating panels, water is heated by sun energy as it circulates through. Solar electric panels contain the materials that convert sunlight directly into electricity. Solar panels are engineered to operate in very high winds and withstand environmental damages.


What is a Solar PV (SPV) System?


A Solar Photo Voltaic system is an array of photo voltaic cells assembled in to panels and connected to a Power Conditioning Unit (PCU) with or without battery. The PCU generates clean AC power.


What is a PCU?


A PCU is the brain of the SPV system. It regulates the input and the output power.


What are the types of SPV System?


Essentially, there are two types of systems - Grid Tied and Off Grid. A SPV system with battery is called the Off-Grid System. It is recommended at places where there is no conventional power or places where the predominant consumption is during the night. At places where there is a considerable consumption during the daytime (offices, banks, shops, hotels, resorts etc.), it is advisable to go for a system without battery back-up. Such systems are called Grid Type System.


What is a Grid Tie System?


A Grid Tie System is a SPV system without battery. There is no storage and the power generated is used as and when produced. One KWp of Grid Type SPV System will produce approximately 1600 units / annum.


How is a Grid Tie system connected?


The solar panels are connected to the PCU and the PCU is connected to the LT/HT panel. The PCU generates clean AC power and is fed to the captive grid. The connected load will draw power both from the SPV System and the utility company (EB) thereby reducing the stress on the utility power.


Can solar energy lower my electric bill?


Yes, Solar panels are used to convert the suns energy into electricity that can be used by your home or business in turn which will reduce your electricity bill.


How much space do I need for a solar photovoltaic system?


In bright sunlight, a square foot of a conventional photovoltaic panel will yield 10 watts of power. That's a helpful rule of thumb for calculating a rough estimate of how much area you might need. For example, a 1000 watt system may need 100 - 200 square feet of area.


Will it work in Kerala where there is heavy monsoon?


Germany has the highest installation of SPV systems in the world and it is compulsory in that temperate country. If SPV system can work well in such a cold country, it will work well in India; a tropical land blessed with abundant sun. Besides that the Tier 1 PV panels will also work well in low light conditions.


Do I need the permission of the state electricity board for installing a SPV system?


If net metering / energy export is envisaged, sanction from EB / Utility is required. Also, approval from Electrical Inspectorate is also required in most states.


What is the life span of the Solar panel?


Solar panels life expectancy is more than 40-years.


How much maintenance is required?


Solar photovoltaic panels require little maintenance. It is, however, periodically have to wipe them off the Panel solar.


What happens if there is no sunlight on a particular day?


Lack of sunshine limits the solar energy potential of any solar energy system. However, some of the sunís solar radiation will penetrate clouds to heat water or generate electricity.


Do I have to angle solar panels at the sun all day long?


Solar panels are installed in a fixed arrangement. They typically donít move to track the sun during its movement through the sky. Mounting the panels to face south at the proper angles enables them to capture and collect the maximum amount of solar energy during the day.


What if there is a power failure?


If there is a power failure, the PCU will shut down the PV system. Once the generator is started the PV system is switched on and the PV system will synchronize with the generator power. The generator will run as if it is in no-load condition saving huge amount of diesel.


Can a Grid Tie System work in isolation?


No. It cannot work in isolation. A Grid Tie System can only supplement the utility power or the DG set. For example, if the power consumption in a particular office is 1000 units/month, the Grid Tie System is designed to supply 750 units/month and the remaining 250 units will be drawn from the utility line. Thus we can reduce the reliance on the utility power, but not avoid it.


What is a net meter?


Net meters look very much like other outdoor meters with one notable exception - they spin both forwards and backwards recording both the power produced and power used


How much will I really save on my utility bills from a home electric solar power system?


It depends, in part, on how much electricity you use and how efficient the appliances are that you operate. That said expect to generate excess electricity in the summer (when days are long) which can potentially offset the energy you use from the grid in the winter. A combination of energy efficient appliances and light bulbs can help reduce your homes energy bill by over two-thirds.