Waaree Aviator series - The future of solar PV is here!
The first known solar cells in the PV industry were used in space application for more than few decades. Modules made out of such solar cells had a very heavy price tag, which virtually made their utilization elsewhere almost impossible. However, as the cost started coming down in conjunction with the efficiency rising up, the solar revolution picked up in & around Europe and common man started utilizing solar PV modules of kW size on their rooftop.
Presenting the Future of PV - Waaree BIPV Modules!
The word “green” is associated with anything that makes the environment slight better & cleaner than its existing state. With the global warming becoming a serious issue, green products are making a comeback in today’s market. Energy generation around the world is very closely related with global warming as it is predominantly fossil fuel based and the scenario in India is no different.
Designing bifacial PV power plants - Getting the details right! Part 1
Solar PV technologies has been continuously upgrading; thanks to the immense research and the need to reduce the LCOE of the solar power plant. While there are quite a few technologies available now, bifacial modules have now started gaining traction in the market. We in one of our first few blog titled “Is bifacial the new face of PV?” informed you on how bifacial is poised to be a game changer in the PV market. And now with the prominent underlying facts being discovered about the technology, it is clear that the share of the bifacial modules shall rise to as high as 60% in the next decade.
The transition from Lead Acid battery to Lithium Ion battery: Why is the shift necessary? – Part 2
The first part of the article “The transition from Lead Acid battery to Lithium Ion battery: Why is the shift necessary?” introduced the need of storage and further detailed about the lead acid battery. It also discussed major disadvantages which were associated with the lead acid battery. This part of the article shall educate its readers about Lithium Ion battery, its working and its advantages over lead acid battery. Further it shall also detail the market dynamics of Lithium ion battery and its applicability in the Indian sub-continent.
The next in our SUPER series – SUPERHJT!
PV module market around the world have been cost driven and it is no wonder that the crystalline technology has been the chalk horse of the industry. Further, with the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) from solar plants have started breaching grid parity, the focus now is to extract maximum kWh from the plant in order to ensure the investors have maximized returns.
Mono vs Poly - An introspective simulation study! - Part 2
The first part of the article "Mono vs Poly - An introspective simulation study!" introduced the types of crystalline technology, the need for this study, the methodology we followed and detailed discussion of 4 climatic zones. This part would educate its readers on the results of the remaining two climactic zones. Further, it would also present a financial analysis of both the plants and the conclusions from the study.
Mono vs Poly - An intro spectives imulation study! - Part 1
Solar installations in India have seen an average year-on-year growth of 82% since 2012. With the nation currently standing at around 28 GW of solar installation and with more than 95% installations utilizing crystalline technology, this trend is not to change in the next few years. To a novice, crystalline solar module comes in two technologies i.e. mono crystalline & poly crystalline which could be easily identified by their shape and/or their colour. While such identification is relatively easy, selecting the right kind of technology for your project could be highly perplexing. This is primarily because of the advantages each technology has i.e. the cost advantage of utilizing poly crystalline versus the efficiency advantage of mono crystalline technology. While there has been a lot of debate over this topic and with over hundreds of articles online, a perfect answer to this conundrum still seem missing. Further with the location and its climatic conditions having a subsequent affect over the plant's performance, a clear guideline considering all the performing indicators in a power plant seem clearly lacking. This blog and its subsequent parts aims to educate its readers on a complete technical and commercial evaluation of a mono crystalline versus poly crystalline module. Further it shall also enable the end customer/ investor/ an EPC to make correct decision when selecting a technology for their power plant.
Selecting the right solar PV module: The end consumer's dilemma! - Part 2
The first part of the article - Selecting the right solar PV module: The end consumer's dilemma! detailed the importance of solar photovoltaic worldwide. The different available technology on cell level and at module level (bifacial type module) was also detailed. This part shall further focus on the dilemma in selecting amongst different module technologies while also acting as a guide on the parameters to be considered for selecting the right module design.
Selecting the right solar PV module: The end consumer's dilemma!- Part 1
The world we live in is adaptive to technological advancements and energy is no exemption to it. From deriving mankind's energy needs from fire to coal and then the electricity, energy market has seen a huge transformation. With the world mulling for non-polluting sources, renewable energy sources and especially solar PV (due to its wide spread adaptability) shall play a major role in such transformation. In early years, solar PV technology was only limited to space applications because of its low energy to weight ratio. However, with increased interests coupled with technological exploration, solar PV had started flourishing.
Doublet module - The magic of two!
With the widespread adaptation of solar energy in early 21st century, it was clear that solar photovoltaic (PV) shall be the next big source of energy in world's energy mix. While its advantages were obvious, the global energy market started seeking out a more superior PV module. Efforts were made in almost all the field, right from adopting the more efficient solar cell already developed in labs, using glass with an ARC coating, enhancing backsheet or improving the properties of encapsulant.
Time for Solar Revolution 2.0
Electricity has been a key to drive growth in almost all the business sectors. Coal due to its widespread availability was/is the primary source of generating electricity across the world. With rapid industrialization, the demand of electricity was increasing continuously which led to over-exploitation of coal. While the electricity demands were being met, the emissions from coal power plants had started posing issues such as global warming, ozone layer depletion, ozone hole, etc. Additionally realizing the fact that coal was a limited resource & electricity demand of world was poised to increase by more than 5 times (Figure 1), scientist in 20th century started seeking other energy sources which were rather non-polluting.
PV system commissioning - Perfection is the key!
Effective management of a solar PV plant could be divided into 3 distinctive steps i.e. Engineering Procurement & Construction (EPC), Commissioning and Operations & Management (O&M). EPC deals with the pre-construction and construction activities of the PV power plant. Commissioning is the process that starts along with the construction of plants and proceeds through PV system acceptance. It also deals with the necessary documentation processes required for system acceptance. O&M deals with processes and/or actions required for maintaining and operating the power plant to its maximum capacity. While a lot is known and talked about EPC & O&M, a little is known about commissioning, which is a mandatory and significant process. For a novice in the solar field, it is important for him to know what the important process/checks while commissioning are. Additionally commissioning also ensures that the plant performs as expected / planned which in-turn drives its ROI. This blog aims to educate its readers on basics of commissioning along with few important tips.
The next breakthrough in O&M
The solar PV modules, as we know are guaranteed to perform for 25 years. In this 25 years, the solar panel (and the entire plant) is subjected to various amount of stresses ranging from wind loads, snow loads (in few countries), lightening or surges from grid, moisture ingression and temperature variations. Such stresses while not fully may subject the modules to various alterations in their performance which could degrade the plant output. In order to maintain and operate the power plant to its maximum capacity (or efficiently),it is necessary that effective maintenance (or more often known as O&M) is carried out at regular intervals as specified by module manufacturer and/or EPC contractor.
Solar Wind hybrid plant : Technology and policy update
A hybrid power plant in simple terms is a plant which generates power by using two or more sources of energy. These sources could be either conventional or non-conventional or both. Such power plants are preliminarily useful as they reduce dependency on a single source while also enabling the power plant to produce more power output. Now with the world's focus on non-conventional power sources (solar and wind energy pre-dominantly) it is important that such sources are utilized to their maximum potential. While individually, these sources have been performing quiet fair, there are still few concerns which needs to be addressed in order to utilize these sources efficiently.
Reliable raw material - strengthening the back bone of PV module!
Identifying reliable raw material for any product is a crucial to ensure that the product lives for its lifetime. With the competitive market condition along with requirement of being cost competent selecting correct raw material to strive a perfect balance between commercial and technical terms in the product is a challenge. The scenario in case of solar PV module is no different. A solar module, other than solar cell which actually generates power output also houses encapsulant(s), backsheet, solar glass(es), (anodized aluminum) frame and junction box (Figure 1). With the plethora of suppliers of each raw material (both locally and abroad) claiming their product's superiority (both technically and commercially) over others,ensuring solar module producing power for 25 years (above a fixed percentage) could be a perplexing task.
Lightening Arrestor (LA) or Surge Protection Device (SPD): What is of utmost necessity for a solar plant?
A solar PV plant has lot of metallic components i.e. the frames of module (generally made of aluminum), the understructure (made of aluminum or hot dipped galvanized iron) which are exposed to the open atmosphere. Nowadays with the solar power plants being scaled from few MW's to around 3~5 GW (Figure 1) and with requirement of adequate substations and transmission lines in/around the plant, the actual amount of metal exposed to the atmosphere is immense.
N-type or P-type cell : What is the world mulling for?
A solar photovoltaic (PV) cell comes with variety of technology. This means that for a layman or a novice in the field, it becomes quite puzzling to select the right type of technology. For instance, the basic technology that could be found in today's market is p type & n type solar cell. While their purpose remains the same i.e. to capture sun's irradiance and turn it into energy, it's their manufacturing process which differentiates them. Anyone with knowledge on history of solar cell would know that the first solar cell was fabricated at Bell labs in 1954 which was of n-typemono-crystalline. Until 1980s, with the application of solar cells being mainly on satellites, the p-type solar cell had shown less degradation to exposure of cosmic rays. Thus for decades, the industry had kept continuous focus on p-type PV cell development. However with the changing market trends and the continued research on n-type solar cell in previous decade, its ability to outperform the currently in use p-type solar cell cannot be ignored.
Shading loss : An introduction, its impact on economics & mitigation techniques
India has been actively supporting solar energy power plants and with a target of 100GW of solar power by 2022, this support is poised to be continual. The solar prices however, on other hand have been falling continually over years (Figure 1)which could be contributed to various factors (both internal and external). With such reduction in prices, in order to maintain the profitability and sustainability of the power plant, it is important to maintain the economics of the power plant.
1500V solar DC system voltage: Is the time ripe?
A technology to sustain requires adequate support from the government. While this was the case with solar energy before, the market dynamics has changed a lot now. With the evolvement of cost competent market, optimizing every component of the solar power plant is important to ensure developers sustainability and profitability. System voltage is one such area where optimization has been at steady pace. The initial solar plants were designed at 600V DC system voltage.
Soiling losses : Introduction and effects on solar module
The solar module in order to produce power requires direct irradiance (meaning that this light is directly coming from the sun).However, other than internal factors (such as refractive index of glass, refractive index of EVA, composition of glass, etc.) there are various external factors as well which affect the amount of irradiance entering the solar module. One such factor is soiling and the loss of power associated with such factor is known as soiling loss.
Solar Pumps: An insight of its simplicity!
Farming in India dates back to Indus valley civilization (3300 - 1300 BCE) where it was one of our primary occupation and source of income. Today India ranks second in the globe in cumulative farm output. It is also believed that around country's 50% of workforce is indulged in farming which still makes it one of our important occupation. There are two basic yet important components of agriculture i.e. water and electricity. The electricity drives the pump which drives the water either from bore-well, and/or water bodies to the farm at desired throughput.This pump may alternatively run either on conventional fuel sources for generation of electricity.
Sizing an off grid solar power plant: Basic steps and important considerations
We in our previous blogs have given our readers a lot of information on the technical and commercial aspects revolving around solar module. It was however also important to educate our readers on few aspects of power plant designing. While already in our previous blog - "What happens in Rooftop site survey?" we gave you the first hand basic information required to assess any site, it was important to also educate our readers on the next important step i.e. sizing of asolar power plant. Sizing of the solar power plant gives us an overview of the power plant along with their brief technical details. It also allows the consumer and the end developer to understand what would be the approximate investment required in such power plant. If you already have a rooftop solar plant installed at your place, you may just refer to this blog to re-confirm the correctness of the size of your plant. However if you are a novice and want to understand how do we size a solar power plant, you are at the right place. This blog would also inform you on few indepth precise considerations for your power plant.
Energy Storage Systems: Its role today will guide the future tomorrow!
Energy Storage System (ESS) has been known to mankind since few years now. However in the decade, aconsiderable amount of money has been spent in upgrading existing and/or developing newsystems. This is partly because of the fact that such systems are poised to double six times only in the next 15 years i.e. from 2016 to 2030 reaching almost up to 125GW/305GWh (Figure 1). ESS is simple terms means any system/technology which is capable of storing excess energy and releasing it when required. The types of ESS available in the market are of electrical, mechanical, thermal, chemical, etc. in nature. The storage type today with maximum market penetration are batteries. While we informed you on the technicalities of battery storage in our previous blog "Importance & Reliability of storage", we thought it was important to educate our readers on what actually would be the role of ESS (and how would they help such plants) with reference to renewable energy power plants. Additionally with various Indian states drafting the Deviation settlement mechanism regulation this year, it can be easily assumed that ESS would be of prime importance to all the renewable energy generators for various reasons. This blog hence aims to educate its readers on role of ESS and its importance to the national grid.
Open Access: Will it benefit the renewable energy markets?
During the 20th century three actsi.e. the Indian Electricity Act of 1910, the Electricity (Supply) Act of 1984 (and their amendments) and the Electricity Regulatory Commission Act of 1998 (Figure 1) guided the electricity market. The first two acts (and their subsequent amendments)provided guidelines tosupply electricity and enhance rural electrification. It was however not late till the need for an independent ombudsman over the entire market was needed. This led to passage of the Electricity Regulatory Commission Act in 1998. With the industrial revolution and need to consolidate laws related to generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, the Electricity Act of 2003 was enacted.
LID & LeTID: Is this age old problem inevitable?
Since Mono, Mono PERC and Poly PERC are the new techs coming to the PV world, we thought to educate our readers on their age old problem i.e. LID & LeTID. The solar module is said to generate power when sunlight falls on it. While this may seem simple, in reality there are lot of complex processes going inside a solar module which actually results in power generation. This processes change(s) or more correctly stabilizes when the modules are initially installed on site or (extensively) tested in lab immediately after their production. While this process stabilizes, the module losses its power output to a determinable extent (uncontrollable in few cases). This loss of power is due to phenomenon which is known as Light Induced Degradation (LID) and/or Light enhanced Temperature Induced Degradation (LeTID) (in few cases).
Perc - The Technology Knocking at Your Doorstep
The history of solar cell dates as early as 1954 when Bell Laboratories demonstrated the first practical cell. After this, there had been a lot of development both in efficiency and novel technology capable of powering the future. However even after around 28 years the solar cell had few issues which still needed attention. The first among these issues was the reduced carrier lifetime i.e. the exited charges (from light) were unable to stay at the state for longer time which resulted in inefficient charge collection.
Merlin Modules : A sneak peek of its premier technology
Solar module has seen immense developments in power output, efficiency, interconnection, etc. in the recent years.However the heavy weight of solar panel primitively due to the glass and Aluminium frame (used in it) limited its use on many roofs. Replacing these materials was a tough as it challenged the reliability, ruggedness and aesthetic appeal of a PV module. This is when flexible (and frameless) modules came into picture. As the name suggest flexible modules are those which can (almost) be installed on any shape and/or size of mounting surface. These modules tend to fulfil almost all the customizable requirement.
Solar AC modules: It's time for PV modules to get smarter
It was in 1950s that the Bell labs had produced solar cells for space activities. Since then, the solar Photo Voltaic (PV) technology around the world has seen a continuous improvementin module efficiency, development of new and smart modules, varying configurations of solar cell, etc. Out of all such improvements, the introduction of Alternating Current (AC) modules has been exhilarating. The AC module(also known as "plug and play" module) as the name suggest directly produces grid compatible AC output. This is possible due to an extra device known as micro-inverter (Figure 1) which is now mostly integrated with the junction boxes (present in the primitive PV modules).
Mismatch in Solar Cells & Modules
The fundamental unit of a solar module is the solar cell. It works on photovoltaic effect i.e. it produces electricity when light falls on its surface. A typical solar cell may produce output of around 4 to 5Wp (depending on technology and efficiency). The solar cells are assembled in different series and parallel combinations in order to meet our power requirements (voltage and current). As the basic concept of electricity goes (Figure 1), any two (or more) load connected in series shall operate at same current with its operational voltage being added up. Similarly any two (or more) load connected in parallel shall operate at same voltage with its operational current being added up. The same concept is applicable to generators i.e. (here) the solar cells, however there is a catch. The voltage and current output of solar cell may vary marginally due to manufacturing limitations. Such cells when interconnected in a module may lead to accounted loss in power output. Additionally such modules when inter-connected with each other may expedite the mismatch losses. Such mismatch while small in number (in terms of power output), may adversely affect the solar cell and the solar module. This article hence aims to educate its readers on such affects and its possible remedies.
Energy yield: Introduction and factors affecting it
To ensure that the business runs smoothly, it is necessary that the business model (and hence the cash flow) is correctly designed and implemented. An important indicator of successful business is the Return of Investment (RoI) of its assets (Figure 1). For a solar power plant where more than half of its investment cost is dependent on solar module, it is important that they (solar module) perform to their maximum. The performance of solar module can be gauged by the amount of energy (Wh) it produces over a specific period of time. However, due to different solar module design and efficiencies, it is easier to evaluate the performance (and hence their capability) of various solar modules by determining its specific energy yield (kWh/kWp) (i.e. by dividing the absolute yield (kWh) to its power output PSTC (kWp)). This specific yield while thought to be constant is dependent on few factors which dictate the output of solar panel (and hence it'sRoI). This article hence aims to explain such factors and their effects to its readers.
Charge controllers : Who needs it and why?
India at the end of 2017 had installed a total of (appx.) 17.6 GW of solar power out of which around 600 MW of power came from off-grid systems. Additionally, the government in this budget (for FY 2018-19) has allocated fair funds to Saubhagya scheme, Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna (DUGJY) scheme, etc. which has been instrumental in rural electrification. With government's vision to electrify all the un-electrified homes by 2020, it is expected that off-grid solar systemmay expect a meteoric rise in the coming months. While we briefly explained off-grid solar system in our previous article "Business model: How to go the solar way?" it is however necessary to explain the readers what is at the heart of off-grid plant i.e. charge controller.
What matters to you? LCOE, ROI or Specific energy yield?
The prices of solar power plant have seen a huge downshift (Figure 1) due to various (positive and negative) reasons. Such downshift of prices has led to a round of curiosity among the investors on the profit margins from the system. With the advancement of technology it is now possible to have various alterations in a solar power plant.Such variations may alter the economics of the power plant which are governed by business models. While we explained various business models in our previous article, it is also important to understand their underlying indicators i.e. Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE), Return on Investment (ROI) and Specific energy yield. Before jumping on to those indicators, let us first understand how the solar power plant generates revenue.
What's and why's of PID!
Already in our previous article "Common problems in PV plant - Part 2", we had discussed about the major PV module specific problems. However we felt necessary that out of all those mentioned problems Potential Induced Degradation (better known as PID) needs to be explained in detail to our readers.This is primarily because PID while not initially visible can cause sudden death of the affected module (as evident from Figure 1). Additionally, PID also leads to formation of daisy chain reaction where the surrounding modules (in the string) are (almost equally) affected. This article in addition to basic introduction would also explain the readers the causes of PID, its effect and the corrective measures which needs to be taken for preventing (or at least reducing) PID to enhance the life time of the module (and the power plant).
Solar cells: What is the future?
In our last article titled "Solar cells: Where is the world moving?" we introduced the various technologies of solar cell that are already commercialized. This article shall inculcate its readers about the technology which while still at labs, are projectedto dominate the market in the near future. It is hence important to understand such technologies, their offerings and their advantages.
Solar cells: Where is the world moving?
One of the better inventions in the human history was the development of solar cell. A solar cell works on photovoltaic effect i.e. it generatespower when light falls on it. Combination of solar cells (in series or in parallel) formulates solar module to produce desired power output. The most widespread and commercially acceptable types of solar cells are mono-crystalline and multi-crystalline silicon cell. However, with the increasing demand to produce a more efficient and high powered technology, variety of new solar cell technology were invented and (few of them) are put into commercial use. This article and its subsequent parts aim to educate its readers on all such prevalent and new cell technologies.
Why such rapid industrial shifts with busbar?
At the crux of solar plant, the entity which is responsible for producing power output is the solar cell. While there has been a considerable technology shift in the material used for solar cell, the industry has always demanded onextracting the maximum power output from the available cell to maximize their returns. The solar cell as we know is made from combination of various materials and numerous processes. Hence, to realize an increase in power output (and hence the efficiency) requires proper process and material optimization (at each and every step).
What constitutes a decisive solar policy and enabling regulations?
Solar energy power plants on world level have seen tremendous growth is past few years. With anaverage Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR)of around 40% (Figure 1)it is expected that solar energy (in the near future) would be important source in the world's energy mix. An important ingredient to this rapid growth has been support from the government bodies. In case of India, the government has set up an aggressive target of 100 GW from solar energy by the year 2022.
Business model: How to go the solar way?
Solar energy power plants (both utility and rooftop scale) have seen tremendous amount of growth in last few years. With such growth in conjunction with the country's ambitious target of 100 GW, the market is to achieve new heights. However, acting as a hitch to such target (from consumer's perspective) may be selecting the correct investment plan (or more commonly business model) by which a consumer can get desired return.
Is solar viable in cloudy climates?
The solar PV market in India has seen a meteoric rise. The year 2016-17 has seen a double capacity addition (figure 1) and it is expected that India would add close to 10 GW in 2017-18 an approximate of 130% year on year rise. With such capacity addition and the country's target of 100 GW by 2022, it is clear that solar energy shall play an important role in country's energy mix. A typical solar energy power plant would expect ideal conditions such as clear weather and a sunny day to produce a smooth power output (figure 2). However due to diverse weather conditionsin our country the consumer can expect variations in power output from solar panels. While there are many presentable variations, this article aims to educate its readers on effects of overcast or cloud cover on power output of solar modules.
How Reliable a Solar PV Module is?
The first thing that comes to our mind when we think of solar modules is "Can they generate
power for their lifetime?" The current commercial solar technologies (Multi and Mono) have been
installed before a few years. However none of these installations have still reached the end of solar
module's life time (i.e. 25 years). This makes it a little difficult to predict whether the module would
reach its claimed lifetime. In order to offset such doubts, a solar manufacturer gives product
warranty and power output warranty (also known as performance warranty) for 10 and 25 years
respectively. Performance warranty as the name suggests is the warranted time period in which the
module would perform at or above the said power. This is required so that the buyer or the
customer is assured that the module is reliable and would not fail in its lifetime.
BIPV: A Future Tech or a Myth?
Sun has been shining since four billion years and would continue to shine for more 5 billion
years. The sun's energy falling on earth for a day is enough to power the earth for the entire year.
Mankind has tried to capture this energy by means of photovoltaic cells/ modules. There has been a
lot of development in solar modules on its efficiency and power output and many application
specific products have been developed. Building Integrated Photo Voltaic (BIPV) had been developed
and put to use in the late 19 th century. BIPV as the name suggest are solar PV module which is
completely integrated with the architecture of the building. BIPV can be easily installed on the sides
of the building replacing the primitive materials while maintaining the aesthetic look of the building.
Common problems in PV plant - Part 3
In our previous article "Common problems in PV plant - Part 2" we explained you the solar PV module specific problems which are evident on field after significant amount of time. All such problems lead to reduction in power output from the power plant. There are however few more problems leading to reduced power output from power plant. This article would try explaining you such additional but important (common) problems.
Common problems in PV plant - Part 2
In our previous article "Common problems in PV plant - Part 1" we introduced the rapid growth and expansion of solar market. With the continued pace of expansion, there are problems which are bound to happen. The previous article discussed the common problems which are encountered during planning and installation of the solar power plant. This article shall educate you on the solar PV module specific problems which are evident on field after significant amount of time.
Common problems in PV plant - Part 1
The solar PV market in India has seen a meteoric rise. The year 2016-17 has seen a double capacity addition (see Figure 1) and it is expected that India would add close to 10 GW in 2017-18 an approximate of 130% year on year rise. India is spread in huge lengths and breadths with varied weather conditionsat different places making it difficult to chooseideal spots (apart from few states) for solar PV plant installation. Additionally with the unprecedented growth of PV market the number of module, inverter, and Balance of System (BoS) suppliers have risen to huge numbers. While there is standardization and certification at (almost) each and every vertical, the solar PV power plant still encounters many problems on daily basis. This article aims to educate its reader on the common problems encountered at (both rooftop and utility scale) PV power plant.
What happens in Rooftop site survey?
Rooftop market in the year 2016-17 has seen a Y-o-Y growth of around 81%. It is also expected that the rooftop market shall add over 2 GW by 2019 and over 3 GW by 2020. Additionally rooftop solar power plant (as we mentioned in our earlier article "40 GW from rooftop PV by 2022 still a myth!") have added advantages over utility scale power plants. With such huge numbers of rooftop capacity being added annually, it is important to understand how we install a rooftop solar plant. The rooftop of the each consumer (where the solar PV system is installed) is different and it hardly occurs that the two different roofs have same conditions. There is no standard (system) solution which can be provided to the consumer which makes the need to survey the rooftop to determine various parameters before even proposing a solutionto them. This article aims to educate the readers on the basicsof the rooftop site survey and the parameters which need to be considered and/or recorded during the survey.
Orientation & Positioning of solar module
With the latest quoted tariff of Rs 2.65per unit energy from solar energy in Gujarat post Goods and Service tax (GST), it seems that price close to Rs. 3/kWh from solar energy would be a new normal. Such low prices would mean that the developers (of the power plant) need to have the entire system and its applicable parameters optimized for maximized energy output to ensure their maximum profitability. The solar PV modules are heart of the power plant and in order to generate maximum energy it needs to be positioned at an optimum location. Any variation in the placement (in terms of orientation and inclination) may lead to loss of energy (and hence money) which may inturn damage the modules (due to differential output within modules) in long run. It is hence important to understand the placement of solar module in the power plant.
Introduction to floating PV plant
Renewable energy sources are of prime importance as they would power our future. Solar energy power plant which utilises the sun's energy needs adequate space for installation. It is a well-known fact that out of the 510 million Km 2 surface area of earth, a mere (appx.) 29% is covered with land. Additionally (at some locations) the land may be of importance and it may not be feasible to dedicate (some) space for solar energy power plant. In a country where cities are dense and agricultural land is limited, installing solar power plant (which require huge swathes of land) may not be viable.
40 GW from rooftop PV by 2022 still a myth!
Solar rooftop potential
India has played an active role when it comes to deployment of renewable energy sources. It has played a leading role in forming the International Solar Alliance (ISA)with the prime objective to focus on utilization of solar energy. Additionally, India itself has set an ambitious target of 100 GW from solar power by 2022 which is divided into 60 GW of utility scale plants and 40 GW of rooftop scale plants. While the uptake of utility scale solar power plants has increased, the solar rooftop market whose installed capacity stands at mere 1,396 MW at the end of March 2017 is yet to see the light of the day.
Feasibility of Utility and Rooftop Scale PV Plants in India
Utility scale solar powered plants
In the recent years utility scale power plants have seen a major boost in India. India currently boasts close to 13 GW
of power from utility scale solar energy plants. The western states of India are blessed with adequate solar radiation
compared to the other states. Hence, such states form a prime spot for installing large scale solar power plants or utility scale solar power plants. With governments push to set up atleast 50 solar park of (minimum) capacity of 500 MW, utility scaled solar power plants shall be set up within all the states in India. These plants can promptly fulfil Renewable
Purchase Obligation (RPO) of the utilities while powering the grid with clean and green energy. Further this shall also
enable the country to meet its target of 60 GW by 2022.
Is bifacial the new face of PV?
India, due to its widespread in geography can be viewed as a nation where vivid range of weather condition exists simultaneously. With such varied conditions the albedo (the ratio of reflectivity of light from a surface to the incident light) is expected to vary from place to place. In power plants where mono-facial (single sided) solar modules are usedthe reflected light from the ground merely increases the internal temperature of the module (generally) resulting in lowered performance. Hence, the need of effective utilization of such reflected light can be clearly felt. This is where bifacial solar cell (and module) comes into play.
Significance & Reliability of PV + storage
The solar PV market in India has seen a meteoric rise. The year 2016-17 has seen a double capacity addition (see Figure 1) andit is expected that India would add close to 10 GW in 2017-18 an approximate of 130% year on year rise. However solar PV generation is highly intermittent in nature. Figure 2 shows the cumulative generation curve of solar PV plants in Gujarat. It is clearthat the solar energy can power the loads only during daytime. This limits the usage of solar PV plants at night reducing its reliability. Hence it is important to explore alternative solutions which would enable total reliability to solar PV.
Power of Photovoltaics
बृंहितं तेजःपुञ्जं च वायुमाकाशमेव च ।
प्रभुं च सर्वलोकानां तं सूर्यं प्रणमाम्यहम् ॥
The closest translation of the above mentioned shloka from Suryashtakam is "O Sun, you are massively enlarged mass of fiery energy, which pervades everywhere like air and sky, I bow down to you O Sun, who is the Lord of all the worlds". The significance of solar energy has been known from centuries, but its utilization for energy generation only began from last few decades.Mankind has turned towards many different technologies for renewable energy, but it is the solar PV (photovoltaic) technology which has proved to be the most promising way of harnessing energy cleanly. A land area of496,805 sq.km (≈combined area of Maharashtra and Gujarat states of India)is enough to power up the whole world using the solar PV.So, don't be surprised if everything around you is powered by Solar in the near future.