Basics of Rooftop Solar

Solar panels generate electricity using the radiation emitted by the sun. When a group of such solar panels along with associated components are installed on the top (roof) of a building, it is known as a rooftop solar photovoltaic power plant. Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity. They are mounted using customised mounting structures fixed to the roof. The electricity (Direct Current) generated by the solar panels is converted into Alternating Current (AC) using an inverter. If electricity is required when there isn’t enough sunlight for the panels to generate electricity (such as at night) or in case of power outages, a battery backup is required and can be added to the system.  

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What is an off-grid solar PV system?

Off-grid solar PV systems are incredibly useful for consumers who do not have access to the utility grid and for those who want to fulfil their energy needs through alternative source. These systems require batteries to store energy. Off-grid systems generate power during the day which is utilized for powering captive loads as well as to charge the batteries. When solar energy production is lesser than demand, the stored energy from the batteries is used to power loads. The initial cost as well as the recurring cost of an off-grid solar system is higher than a grid-connected solar PV system. These systems can supply output both in AC and DC form depending upon the connected load and designed configuration. The working of an off-grid solar PV system is explained in the video, below. Video by: Wholesale Solar, Inc. (YouTube Channel)  

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What are the benefits of installing rooftop solar system?

Reduction of energy bills – Installing solar power plant can help to save substantial amount of money on electricity bills. Per unit cost of energy generated from the solar plant is comparatively cheaper to energy purchased from the utility. Use of underutilized roof area – Installing solar plant on the roof is most effective way to utilize roof. This not only increases the value of the home but also offers multiple financial benefits. Participation in building modern Indian power system – Installing solar power plants supports creation of distributed power generation network and reduces need for extensive use of fossil fuels. Reduce power losses – The energy can be produced though solar power plant on your own roof and can be consumed within your building, which limits transmission losses. Renewable energy source – Unlike fossil fuels and natural gas, the sun is a source of energy that is renewable. Going solar reduces our dependence on the fossil fuels. Shrink your carbon footprint – Going solar reduces the CO2 emissions, the leading cause of climate change and global warming.

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Cables used in a solar rooftop system

The cables used in a solar PV system transport the electricity generated from the system to the load. The cables used in the system used can be classified as Alternating Current (AC) or Direct Current (DC) cables. The DC cables carry the power from the PV modules to inverters, whereas the AC cables carry the AC power from the inverter to the metering point. DC Cables: Solar DC cables interconnect solar panels to the combiner boxes to an inverter. The DC cables are usually two-core cables, a current-carrying live wire, and a negative wire, both are typically surrounded by an insulation layer. DC cables are generally made of copper conductors which provides more flexibility. As the life of the solar plant is expected to be more than 25 years, DC cables should be capable to withstand high temperatures, UV radiations, fire risk, exposure to water, etc. There are two types of solar DC cables: Module cables: These cables are usually integrated into the PV solar panels and are equipped with suitable to be interconnected. fig: Module DC Cables     Main cables: The extension cables used to connect the module strings to the DC combiner boxes or the inverter. AC Cables: The AC cables connect the inverter to the load via protection devices. In the case of three-phase inverters, the connection to the low voltage grid is made using five-core AC cables (three live wires for the three phases that carry the current, a neutral wire carry current away from the device and ground wire […]

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Module Mounting Structure

A module mounting structure (MMS) is the supporting structure that holds the PV modules to the roof or ground and provides the desired tilt angle for a maximum generation it is designed for. The type of MMS design is based on the surface of installation i.e. Iron, RCC or Asbestos roof. Generally, module mounting structures are of three types: Hot Dip Galvanized Iron (GI) Aluminium Mild Steel (MS) Various rigorous structural analysis and tests for protection against wind and also for the mechanical strength of the MMS to guarantee the safety and stability of the mounting structures are required to be conducted before installation.

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Photovoltaic Modules

A Photovoltaic(PV) module which is generally termed as a solar panel is an assembly of photovoltaic cells electrically connected to each other and mounted on a laminated frame. The solar cells are primarily made up of silicon material which absorbs the photons emitted by the sun. There are three major types of PV modules. Mono-crystalline Poly-crystalline Thin-film Each solar PV module type has its own unique features. These PV modules also vary based on how they are manufactured, their appearance, performance, costs, etc.

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Metering

Metering of the solar rooftop system allows the measurement of the total number of units generated by the system and consumed/ exported by the owner. By analyzing the metered data the owner/ developer of the system may take corrective actions to improve productivity.             The type of metering would depend on your agreement with the local electricity distribution company. The three major types of metering arrangements used in India are net-metering, gross-metering & captive consumption. You may know more about the metering by clicking the button below.

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What is a grid-hybrid solar PV system?

A grid-hybrid PV system is also a grid-tied system and is ideal for consumers who are already connected to the utility grid but are prone to power outages. These systems are similar to grid-tied solar PV system, but with a battery bank connected to it. Batteries offer emergency backup power during grid failure. During an outage, the batteries take over as a backup power source to power critical appliances. Similarly, if energy generated by the system is more than required, the surplus power generated can be exported to the utility grid. These systems cost more than grid-tied solar PV systems as the cost of battery banks is additional.

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About Phase-II of Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Programme

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India has launched the Phase-II of Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Programme that provides a subsidy for installing rooftop solar systems. The programme is being implemented through electricity distribution companies and provides a subsidy for the household owner and Group Housing Societies to set up solar systems on the rooftop of their residence/residential campus. 40% subsidy will be provided for installing a rooftop solar system of up to 3kW capacity; 20% subsidy is available for installing a rooftop solar system beyond 3kW and up to 10kW capacity; 20% subsidy will be provided for Group Housing Societies/Residential Welfare Associations for installations up to 500 kW (at 10 kW per house) for common facilities. Click Here to study the Operational Guidelines on implementation of Phase – II of Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Programme. Note: Subsidy benefit from MNRE is available for the residential sector only.

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Why should I install a Rooftop Solar System?

The solar rooftop system is a photovoltaic system that employs solar panels on the rooftops of the buildings which convert solar energy to electricity. The electricity which will be generated will cater to your internal energy requirements. By Installing a Rooftop Solar System you can: Reduce your electricity bill. Make effective use of the idle rooftop area. Contribute to sustainability and ensure the reduction of carbon footprint. Avail government subsidies and subsidized credit options Ensure maximum efficiency with minimal maintenance.   To install a rooftop solar system you may submit your interest form by contacting your local electricity distribution company or click the button “Install PV”. To learn more about the rooftop solar technology, click the button “Know more”.

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