13th
Feb 2018

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.

Read More

12th
Feb 2018

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).

Read More

29th
Jan 2018

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.

Read More

22nd
Jan 2018

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.

Read More

08th
Jan 2018

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).

Read More

02nd
Jan 2018

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.

Read More

26th
Dec 2017

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.

Read More

18th
Dec 2017

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.

Read More

12th
Dec 2017

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.

Read More

04th
Dec 2017

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.

Read More

27th
Nov 2017

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.

Read More

21st
Nov 2017

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.

Read More

12th
Nov 2017

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.

Read More

06th
Nov 2017

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.

Read More

31st
Oct 2017

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.

Read More

26th
Oct 2017

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 Km2surface 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.

Read More

15th
Oct 2017

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.

Read More

11th
Oct 2017

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.

Read More

09th
Oct 2017

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.

Read More

08th
Oct 2017

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.

Read More

29th
Aug 2017

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.

Read More