Solar Panel: Most Frequently Asked Questions
Basic Know How about Solar Panels
While the use of solar energy has been growing exponentially in the last twenty years, the prices of PV cells have been dropping. Currently, the price of each PV cell is 99% lower than it was in 1976. Moreover, because solar energy is such an environmentally friendly solution, many governments are offering grants and incentives for the installation of panels. Based on current average electricity costs, and assuming modest inflation of energy prices, the payback period should be between 4 and 6 years.
Solar PV panels can collect solar energy all throughout the year, whether it is spring, summer, autumn or even winter. However, the conversion of solar energy from solar panels is reduced when there is no direct sun exposure. This means that during cloudy days, solar panels work at 50% of their total capacity and on extremely cloudy days, this number may drop to 10%.
On average, you need 80 square feet of space to generate 1 kW of solar energy. Considering that a typical household uses around 4 to 5 kilowatts of electricity per day, it is safe to assume that to supply all of your electricity or heating needs with solar energy, you may need up to 400 square feet of roof space. However, already harnessing 2KW a day from solar energy systems cuts the energy bill in half.
Solar panels installed today will produce a reasonable amount of solar energy for about 30 to 40 years, without the need of replacing them.
No, the electricity generated is either used during the day in-house, or it is automatically exported back to your electricity provider who will pay you for each unit thus produced.
Solar Power System Components: Most Frequently Asked Questions
Basic Know How about Solar Power System Components
Solar Modules and Inverters are the main components of a solar power system and they constitute 70% of the project cost.
Yes. It will meet 100% of your requirement provided if the plant is designed for your total consumption requirement.
PV, short for Photovoltaic, derives its name from the process of converting light (‘photo’) directly into electricity (‘voltaic’). Simply put, a Solar PV system is a power station that generates electricity from sunlight. The main components of a Solar PV system are:
Solar Panels/Modules: Solar panels consist of a group of small cells made from semiconductor material. When the sun’s light falls on the modules, it excites the electrons, thereby creating direct current (DC).
Storage Battery: The best use of solar energy is to consume it while it is being generated. If the requirement is to store this power and consume it in the non-sunny hours, then solar energy can be stored in batteries for later consumption
Solar Inverter: The DC electricity goes into an inverter that converts it into alternating current (AC). We use AC for running our household or office or factory equipment.
A) If you planning to install a solar plant, below are some things to consider:
B) What are your energy demands? How do you consume the power?
C) What is the availability of the shadow free area in your building?
D) What is the business model you find more commercially viable (CAPEX or RESCO)
E) What is going to be the savings?
- RESCO or OPEX
What is the difference between CAPEX and OPEX model?
There are two main models:
OPEX Model – In this, the producer owns the asset (Plant). The consumer and the producer enters a PPA (power purchase agreement) for a an agreed duration of time which is typically 15-25 years. During the tenure of PPA, the consumer pays the producer for the power generated at a discounted tariff. After the PPA terminates, the asset is transferred to the consumer on a nominal cost.
CAPEX model – In this, end consumer owns the asset (Plant) and can claim accelerated depreciation.
The Solar plant will generate electricity only during the Sunny hours, typically between 6 A.M. to 6 P.M .
There are various factors involved in choosing your PV system. You might want to research on them before choosing the apt model:
Energy Consumption Pattern
Power Cuts or outages
Various Govt. Policies like Net Metering, Grid Power Access or subsidies on solar power.
If your roof is not having any shade from any adjacent buildings, trees etc. and its structure is not delicate then your roof is suitable for solar plant. Solar plant can also be installed on car parks, open shade ground within your premises by erecting special mounting structures.
Net Metering allows you to sell excess solar power back to the grid and thus results in maximizing the savings of the solar project.
The plant will generate electricity only during the day time so during the night the electricity has to be sourced from the Grid.
This depends on the site, size and model you choose
Solar power is much cheaper than power from diesel generators. Today average power from solar is Rs. 5-7 per KWh (Fro commercial and Industrial segments) while average power from diesel generator is Rs. 17 per kWh (a litre of diesel generates around 3-4 kWh).
It is normally one to two weeks for off-grid and for on-grid it may take more time as it involve permission from the Electrical Service Provider, and depending on the complexity of the project.
No permissions are required if you are installing an off-grid solar PV system. But in case you wish to integrate your solar system with grid to avail net metering option, certain permissions are required to be taken from the Electrical Service Provider and Electrical Inspectorate.
On an average, every 1 KW setup produces 1300 to 1500 units in a year. This may however vary based upon the location of the plant, seasonal factors, surroundings and shadow free areas. You can consider 1400 units for sake of calculations.
Solar Power is an intermittent source of energy depending on irradiation, temperature and a lot of other environmental features. Hence, 100 kW plant won’t produce 100 kW power.
Most panel manufacturers give warranty of 25 years, however there have been plants in operations for 40 years as well
The Maintenance is not significant. Water can be used to clean the panels – Typically 5 litres of water is required for a KWh
The electricity generation of the plant suffers during Rainy and cloudy days especially during the Monsoon season, but the generation never drops to zero. The loss of generation during monsoon and other rains is already adjusted in the 1.3 to 1.5 Lakhs unit/100kWp/annum generation number.
It is advisable to install a data monitoring device along with your solar device that will allow you to compare the actual with the estimated performance on daily, monthly and annual basis.
Which equipment can I run with solar energy, i.e., since it is fluctuating I want to use solar energy only for certain loads?
Solar energy is integrated into the LT panel of consumer premises, wherein DG, Grid or other generator source would be feeding power as of now. When solar energy is injected, the equipment is unaware of the source from which power is feeding in. Hence it is not possible to segregate the loads on basis of power source.
In case of grid failure, is there any chance for shocks to the person who is repairing? What is Island Protection?
In case the grid fails, the solar power must be fully utilized or stopped immediately feeding to the grid so as to safe-guard any grid person/ technician from getting electrocuted while working on the grid for maintenance etc. This feature is called “Islanding Protection”.
The solar panels typically would last for a minimum of 25 years depending on the weather conditions and maintenance. However, during this period, you have contributed substantially to the environment by not producing toxic effluents. The benefits are far more than the disadvantages.
TCM Solar Specific: Most Frequently Asked Questions
Basic Know How about TCM Solar Specific
TCM Solar is a dedicated distributed (rooftop) solar power developer catering to domestic, industrial and commercial clients.
TCM works on OPEX model or RESCO model:
We set up on-site solar power plants (on rooftops, as carports, on grounds and/or on superstructures). These plants integrate seamlessly with the clients’ existing grid and/or DG system
The solar plants are set up entirely on our own cost and are also maintained by us throughout the project term.
TCM enters into a long term (15-25 years) Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with its clients. At the end of the PPA term, the plant is transferred free of cost (usually INR 1) to the client.
As the minimum life of the solar plant is 25 years, the client usually enjoys at least 5-10 years of free electricity from the solar plant.
The electricity price for solar power is agreed for the entire PPA period at the beginning of the agreement. This price is always 10% to 15% lower than the client’s existing grid tariff, ensuring continuous savings to the client throughout the PPA term.
TCM bills its clients every month on the basis of actual energy generated by the solar plant. This ensures that the entire performance risk is borne by us as we only get paid for what we generate.
We ensure that our solar plant has a 99%+ Uptime
We undertake stiff plant performance targets and agree to compensate the client if such targets are not met.
Listed below are core strengths of TCM Solar. This makes TCM stand out among its counterpart:
Solar expertise: TCM Solar is run by experts in the power sector. We are among the few companies that have end to end in-house capabilities across all aspects – including Design, Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Monitoring and Maintenance.
World class organization: We follow global best practices across Products, Process, Technology and Safety
Rooftop focus: We are entirely dedicated to the distributed (rooftop) sector – this has given a unique advantage in understanding this space as compared to other leading players. For most others, the rooftop segment forms a very small percentage of their overall business, not allowing them the focus required to address the unique challenges of this sector (grid scale and rooftop plants differ immensely in terms of issues and challenges).
Strong Financials: TCM Solar has strong financial strength which focuses on Infrastructure. This translates into quick implementation without the need for third party investors.
Agility and responsiveness: With our quick turnaround times – from capacity analysis, commercial proposal, site specific customization etc. to our speedy, committed-timeline implementation, TCM Solar ensures that the Customer is at the heart of the organization. Our high repeat rates bear testimony to our customer service orientation
Generally, the asset is transferred to the client at nominal value. However, this will vary depending on the final commercial agreement between the client and TCM.
TCM sells the solar electricity at a price (“Solar Tariff”), which is lesser than your current cost of power from Distribution Company and Diesel Generator Backup set. With no startup Capital investment from you, systems start paying for itself immediately and as the gap between solar tariff and the Distribution company power cost increase over the years; the savings also increase.
To install solar power systems on individual residential Roof Tops under OPEX Model, one must consider the following:
- What is my energy demand and how much power do I consume? This can be assessed from your existing EB bill and you can seek the help of our energy auditor to carry out this process.
- What is availability of shadow free area on the proposed building top
- What are the state Electricity board regulations in the state?
Usually any proposal comes with less than 25kWp TCM may not be a viable proposition for both customer and investor, hence not advisable.
TCM has developed a proprietary client selection model and undertake the comprehensive analysis for entering contractual arrangement with any client. The Client selection model broadly comprises analysis on
Sector of Operation of Client.
Company Business emphasis on corporate governance.
Financial Analysis of Client.
Analysis on electricity consumption and load analysis of client.
External Credit Rating, if available.
Solar plants by TCM are suitable for Business and Domestic establishments. We have clients ranging from Industries, Educational Institutes, Hotels, Hospitals, and Malls who have adopted rooftop solar solution.
Yes. TCM can structure the tenure of PPA and tariff as per requirement of customer. The Solar tariff can be flat over the tenure or escalating or combination of flat & escalating or any other customized tariff stream.
TCM will help guide the client in obtaining all the necessary regulatory approvals and if the client desires this to be done by TCM on his/her behalf, we will do so on a cost nominal towards the service.
Do TCM Solar take necessary Insurance Policies to safeguard their own property as well as third party liability?
Yes, TCM installations will come with necessary insurance cover that meets the prudent framework of project insurance, comprehensively covered construction and operation. TCM also complies with all statutory requirements including workman compensation and third party liability.
The investor according to its constitution will own projects during the tenure of operation
Our Installation size can be anything starts from 3kWp to 1000kWp+
Our Engineers will do a proper evaluation and their conclusion will be the guiding factor for a decision.
TCM uses non-penetrating structures, which are mounted without any puncturing in most of the cases. Even otherwise also it is our responsibility to see that the integrity of roof is maintained. The load of the entire solar plant is about 10-15 kg/square meters and can easily be taken by any roof.
TCM offers a Grid Interactive Rooftop Solar plant which matches the frequency and voltage of your Grid and Diesel Generator and runs in sync with them. The electricity created by the solar plant is exactly like the one you are sourcing from Grid/DG and it will be fed in simultaneously with them. Thus, there will be no voltage fluctuations and you can use/connect any number of heavy loads equipment.
Below are the basic requirements TCM needs to assess the generation capacity based on availability of space and load demand
- Company Details/Deck
- Location of the roof/ground (Latitude and Longitude on Google map)
- Electricity bill for last 3 months
- Contract Demand