When should you install a rooftop solar system?

Though installing a solar PV system has multiple advantages, the installation is a comparatively large investment to make. Thus prior to approaching any installer, it is crucial that the consumer should check if it fulfills the following prerequisites: Roof rights: As the solar PV system would preferably continue to generate electricity for 20-25 years, the consumer has to check if she/he has the right to use the rooftops for installing the solar PV system. Location: The performance of the solar PV system would depend on the amount of direct sunlight the system receives. Thus the consumer has to check if the nearby buildings/ trees do not cast any major shadows throughout the day. How long are you are going to live in your house? Though you will see an immediate reduction in your electricity bill after installing a PV system, however, it will take 4-5 years to recover the initial capital invested. Thus you may install a PV system if you plan to stay in the same house for the long term. Type of roof: This is an important aspect to consider before installing a PV system. The solar panels can be installed on almost each and every rooftop. However, the type of roof may have an effect on the effort and the cost of the structure. If you happen to use terracotta shingles, you may need to find the installer who is experienced and skilled enough to work with such types of rooftops. Did you check the above preconditions […]

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What to check in the proposal provided by the Installer.

Before selecting the installer for setting up a solar PV system, it is important to check the following from the proposals submitted by the installer. Minimum generation guarantee: The solar PV system generates electricity and must be warranted by a minimum generation guarantee. The minimum generation depends on a number of factors including the location, design orientation etc. and should be provided by the installer during feasibility analysis. The consumer should compare the minimum generation guarantee and the compensation rate offered by the installer.   

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What is earthing and why is it important in a rooftop solar power plant?

Earthing refers to a safety system designed to protect electrical wires and components from damage caused by sudden electrical power surges. The aim of earthing in electrical installations and circuits is to enhance the safety of the installation by reducing the level of danger inherent to fault currents. Fault currents may be caused by different factors. Therefore, it is very important to design an earthing system according to the installation’s characteristics.  Earthing system is important because it provides: – Safety for humans from electric shocks; – Protects the installation and equipment itself from any damage; – Safety from atmospheric electricity (lightning) etc.  

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What is shadow analysis and why is it important for solar PV installation?

A shadow falling on a solar PV module blocks the flow of solar energy and eventually, the modules generate hotspots/gets damaged through rise in temperature. The shadow could be on the nearby trees, buildings or even the PV module array installed ahead. The efficiency of a PV module at any time reduces in direct proportion to the area of the shadowed part of the module, therefore it becomes highly important to conduct shadow analysis during the feasibility study and designing a rooftop solar power plant. The shading experienced in solar PV plants can be identified as follows: Self-shading- the shadow that occurs on a PV module due to another PV module. Shading due to near objects – the shadow that occurs due to nearby objects which may be present within the vicinity or rooftop, around the installed PV modules. Some of these may affect the plant for a certain time of the day or for the entire day depending on their location, height, distance from the solar module. The shadow that may occur due to far away obstructions like newly built highrise buildings, towers etc. that may cast shadows on the solar power plant. Such situations are rare and at times unpredictable for the future. Identifying a PV array location When designing a solar system there is often the need to understand how long a shadow will be so that row spacing between solar PV modules can be properly designed. Keeping in mind that the sun travels in an arch […]

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What are the general safety rules to minimize risk before, during and post-installation?

Safety should always be a priority during any installation. Although, most of the safety aspects and technical standards are followed by the manufactures and installers of the rooftop solar power plants, there are a few general safety rules that one should know to minimize risk in a solar power plant before, during and post-installation. Pre-installation PV module installation area/roof must be thoroughly inspected by the installer for possible electrical, chemical, fire etc. hazards before installation The roof where the solar power plant is being installed should be strong enough to support the weight of the plant to avoid future damage Never install a PV power plant near chimneys or flame outlets that could damage the PV modules PV module should be designed with safe lines (wherever needed) so that the maintenance and cleaning of the PV modules can be done safely During installation PV modules or other PV components should not be installed during bad weather. PV modules can be blown around by the wind or a storm which can result in you falling or damage to the PV system and nearby objects and even injury to humans Always ensure that extreme safety precautions (including body harnesses, lifelines and safety nets) are used by the installer to prevent slipping, falling and causing injury when working, especially at height Make sure the area underneath the installed PV modules is clean, clear and free of foreign objects which prevents from water logging Make sure your entire solar power plant is properly and […]

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How to perform a site survey for rooftop solar PV installations?

Performing a site survey for solar installation is the most important first step to collect information about the conditions and issues before any decision made. The broad scope of the site survey is to determine the following: the best spots on the roof for PV module placement shading obstructions (if any) status of the roof (type, height and orientation) location of the main electric panel in the building available locations for mounting electrical components power availability and consumption pattern information location of material storage and accessibility to the roof Various steps followed during a site survey and assessment are highlighted below. Rooftop analysis assess the load-bearing capacity of the roof, based on the roof design provided by the owner suggest the type of mounting to be constructed to support a load of modules on to the building structure prepare a detailed site map of the rooftop proposed for installation of solar power plant with all coordinates calculate the exact area of the proposed site where the installation is to be made identify the accessibility of the rooftop Far-shading and near-shading analysis oversee the mapping of the water tanks and other structure on and around the rooftop which may shadow the solar modules or obstruct their installation and carry out the shadow analysis, accordingly Irradiation and climate analysis analyze the daily, monthly and annual solar resource data for the site to evaluate the potential for solar energy generation at a particular site in consideration ensure collection of data on local weather […]

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What safety aspects should be considered while installing a rooftop solar power plant?

Grid-connected solar PV power plants are expected to have a lifetime of at least 25 years. To ensure the safety of the user for these extended periods of time, PV power plants must be properly designed and installed using the highest standards of workmanship and safety considerations. Some common safety requirements of a grid-connected rooftop solar power plant are:   THIS POST IS UNDER AMENDMENT as per team discussion       The post ID for this chapter is 2730. For any suggestion or comment regarding the content, you may write to us at faqs[dot]solar[at]gmail[dot]com. Please quote the post ID in the subject, for better assistance.

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Site survey and its importance

A site survey is done to collect information about various aspects related to a rooftop solar power plant installation, such as local conditions, consumer’s power consumption needs, physical details of the site such as roof, availability of access, height and nearby objects, etc. Usually, for small rooftop solar power plants requirements site surveys are often done manually by skilled manpower, on the basis of which a CAD model of the site is prepared. This model is then used for the power plant design, estimation of balance of system and eventually the estimation of budget. However, for large roofs and critical areas which may consume more time conducting a survey manually, drones are also being used to inspect such locations. Why is a site survey so important? Each rooftop is unique – In India, each building and its rooftop is unique. It has unique designs, unique construction and therefore needs to be studied as a unique individual case. Depending on the rooftop type, available area, orientation, its construction and strength the module mounting structures also vary, therefore the site survey of the roof becomes really important. Shadow analysis is crucial – Owing to the construction pattern in India, there is always a possibility that there are some large trees, high-rise buildings, or structures around the majority of the rooftops, that will cast a shadow which will impact the total sunlight received by the installed solar power plant. Therefore a detailed shadow analysis is a must to assess the correct generation potential […]

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What are chemical hazards?

A chemical hazard is a type of occupational hazard caused by exposure to chemicals in the workplace. Chemical hazards and toxic substances pose a wide range of health hazards such as irritation, sensitization and burns. In order to ensure chemical safety in the workplace, information about the identities and hazards of the chemicals must be available and understandable to workers. Some commonly used workplace chemical hazards include: acids caustic substances cleaning products such as toilet cleaners, disinfectants, mildew remover and chlorine bleach heavy metals, including mercury, lead, cadmium, and aluminium paint pesticides petroleum products solvents photocopier toner, etc. Example: The most common example is the lead-acid batteries which are very common and are also installed in off grid or hybrid solar power plants. Batteries are safe, but caution is necessary when touching damaged cells and when handling lead-acid systems that have access to lead and sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid in a lead-acid battery is highly corrosive and is more harmful than acids used in most other battery systems. It can cause serious burns and if comes in contact with the eye can cause permanent blindness. Prevention when installing a lead-acid battery: install battery in well-ventilated area keep flames and equipment that create spark away from the battery cover the battery terminal make sure connections are tight and secure use personal protective equipment as per safety regulations.   The post ID for this chapter is 2723. For any suggestion or comment regarding the content, you may write to us at faqs[dot]solar[at]gmail[dot]com. Please quote the post ID in the […]

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What are electrical hazards?

An electrical hazard can be defined as a dangerous condition where a worker could make electrical contact with energized equipment or a conductor, and from which the person may sustain an injury. Under such a case, human body is exposed to a voltage, it acts as a resistor and allows current to pass through it. The value of resistance varies with the physical condition of the human body. Some of the common electrical hazards are: Overhead power lines Damaged tools and equipment Inadequate wiring and overloaded circuits Exposed electrical parts Improper grounding Damaged insulation Wet conditions Preventive measures Electric sparks, loose connection, improper wiring and lack of personal protective equipment can lead to a fire / shock therefore certain precaution should be taken while dealing with an electrical circuit / equipment. Use insulated tools (e.g., spanners) Put covers over the battery terminals Install fuse (e.g., near the battery) Check contact and voltage drop Tighten up screw wherever applicable Check cable and terminal block periodically Always check the voltage between any conductor and any other wires, and to ground Always wear gloves and avoid touching conductive parts (e.g., battery terminals, metal and mounting frames) with bare hands     The post ID for this chapter is 2720. For any suggestion or comment regarding the content, you may write to us at faqs[dot]solar[at]gmail[dot]com. Please quote the post ID in the subject, for better assistance.

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