Monday, 31 October 2011

PV Solar - Top 5 Myths BUSTED !

                                        PV Solar - Top 5 Myths BUSTED !


Introduction
India is blessed with enough Solar Energy to wipe out all the power problems of our Country. Solar Energy could be used to directly generate power in Photo Voltaic Solar Power Plants, Produce Steam to generate power in Solar Thermal Power Plants, used in small to medium size off-grid PV Solar projects in rural areas etc.

Jawaharal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) aims at positioning India as a Global Leader in Solar Energy with a target of 20,000 MW of Solar Energy by 2022 in 3 phases. This is a huge number considering the fact that the present count stands at less than 20 MW of Solar Installation. In such a scenario percolation of right information to the masses is a must. In this Whitepaper on Solar Energy Scenario in India we attempt to bust the 5 myths about Solar Energy. Interesting facts about PV Solar  Power and Energy can be found on  where in a video presentation on Energy Conservation and Solar Energy can be found on our Homepage.

Myth # 1 : Generating Power from Solar Energy is very expensive
PV Solar Cells contribute to nearly 75% of the project cost. Other costs include Invertors, Mounting Structure, Cabling etc. However PV Solar Prices have come down drastically in the last few years and are now at nearly 50% discount. To top it all the incentives provided by the Government under JNNSM makes the project completely feasible and financially viable.

70% of Power Generation in India is through Coal based Thermal Power Plants and this figure would continue to rise. It is also a fact that a PV Solar Plant costs nearly 3.5x the cost associated with Coal based TPPs. However with Government incentives the project becomes feasible as the Government pays nearly 4 times per Unit for power generated through PV Solar as against the power generated through conventional means. Also the time taken to setup a PV Solar Project and the maintenance cost is a fraction of respective figures for similar capacity conventional project.
Another point worth mentioning is that even in the absence of financial support a PV Solar Power Plant can typically pay back for itself in 6-7 years. PV Solar Plant life is nearly 25-30 years and hence it completely justifies the initial investment. This is more so as a PV Solar Power Plant requires nearly zero maintenance.

All in all PV Solar Project is not expensive if considered in totality i.e. –
Ø  Significant reduction in PV Cell prices.
Ø  High output over a period of 25-30 years with manufacturer’s warranty and guarantee for the same.
Ø  Nearly Zero Maintenance as there is no moving part in a basic PV Solar setup.
Ø  Government incentives to encourage the use of Solar Energy in our Solar rich Country.
Ø  Rising power prices because of depletion of coal reserves and rising cost of coal.
Hence except for initial investment Solar Energy is not really expensive.
Myth # 2 : Solar Power Plants requires lot of space and maintenance
PV Solar can use variety of Technology mainly depending on the cell type. The 2 most popular technologies are Thin film and Poly Crystalline. Thin film is lesser efficient and hence requires more space i.e. nearly about 7 Acres per MW and also costs lesser than Poly Crystalline projects.

Poly Crystalline requires nearly 3.5-4 Acres per MW has higher efficiency and costs a little more than Thin film.

So depending on specific requirements of a project and tradeoff between cost and efficiency could lead to best combination of technology. Moreover the space can be in isolated areas where land cost can be really low or highly subsidized by Government for long lease as well. If it is on a rooftop of an existing Building or Industry or Facility – the space cost is NIL.

Moreover there is no restriction on placement on PV Solar Cells or Farms next to each other. In fact modularity is one significant quality of PV Power Generation. Compare to this a wind-farm has restriction of not having wind mills in proximity to an existing one., typically several acres per MW.

Basic PV Solar Power Plant consists of South-oriented static mounting structure and has no moving parts. The only maintenance cost that would be associated with such a setup would be occasional cleaning (which could be automated) by unskilled laborers maybe once a week or once a month.

Myth # 3 : Efficiency of Solar Cells is still Low and will get better with time
Certainly the efficiency of Solar Cells would improve over time with progress in Technology and R&D. This could be compared to any other Product such as Cell phones or Cars. They have evolved over time with respect to efficiency, technology, comfort etc. But that does not mean that we wait to buy the most efficient product.

Solar Cell technology is mature and the panels are of high quality with 95% value addition done outside India. What is at stake now, is not the efficiency of panels, but the price per generated kilowatt-hour. It is no longer about the type of motor in a car, but about how much fuel the motor consumes per mile.

There will still be new types of solar panels developed, with better efficiency, but the real success of solar energy in the future will lie in large-scale production matters and growth of the global market. A low purchasing price for a solar panel will be the determining factor for low-cost generation of solar energy for the consumer.

What one needs to understand that similar to the fact that the Pentium 1 users did not wait for Pentium 2 to be launched and consecutive newer technologies., the same thing applies to Solar Industry as well. Moreover the output i.e. units generated from a PV Solar Power Plant is very much comparable to other green technologies depending on location. A wind farm typically generates 20-25 lakh Units per MW and it decreases over a period of time and the deterioration to 16-17 lakh Units is very fast. However a PV Solar Plant will continue to generate the guaranteed Units for a very long time. The investor is protected with appropriate warranty and guarantee of output for longer periods such as 15 years / 20 years / 25 years.

Myth # 4 : Solar Panels have a high carbon footprint
Solar panels are usually made from silicon. Silicon is found in sand, one of the most widespread natural elements on earth. The ovens used to transform the sand into silicon use a lot of energy - that is true. But the payback time for the energy used to produce a solar panel is only 1 to 2 years. This means that in this time the panel generates the total amount of energy that has been used for its complete production - thanks to the free energy of The Sun.

All power generated after the payback time is pure green profit, while solar panels can last 25 to 30 years! Other sources of energy have much longer payback times. Specifically, nuclear power plants have extremely long payback times, so long that it is questionable whether all the power that was generated during their lifetime is enough to pay for the energy used to build and disassemble them.
 
Compared to any other technology (including Thermal Power Plants) the Carbon footprint of PV Solar Panels is much lesser.

Myth # 5 : Solar Power Generation cannot work in all locations
The world’s biggest market for solar energy is Germany, a country not particularly blessed with long days full of sunshine, but a country with a smart government nonetheless. In the summer, more than 10% of the household electricity in the south of Germany is generated by solar panels.

In the Indian context almost all parts of India are suitable for using Solar Energy (India Solar Map) – considering very good Sunshine in most part of the Country and nearly 250+ Sunny days per annum. The RoI depends on the location and for instance would be better for some parts of Rajasthan than for some parts of Gujarat. However that does not particularly rule out any area as not feasible.

Technically there are 2 important aspects for consideration while conducting feasibility i.e. Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI) and Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI). The units used are kWh/m2/day and DNI for a good area could be around 7 with an average area around 4.0-4.5 with good number of Sunny days.
DNI figures for most part of Germany is much lower than 3.5 and much lesser Sunny days – yet it is foremost in using Solar Energy – then why not any other location in India?


We offer End-to-End Services in PV Solar Power Projects.

Conclusion
Rising power costs by conventional means and deteriorating environment has forced mankind to look at renewable sources of Energy. Of all the renewable sources The Sun is the ultimate source of energy and the cleanest form as well.

Usage of PV Solar has been in existence for nearly 4 decades now but commercial power generation has become popular in the last 2 decades.  Considering the fact that PV Power Generation could be done on rooftops without causing any hazard – it would be used on rooftops to generate power for individual homes as well as Industries. Even off-grid solutions are gaining popularity in rural areas. The way Solar Mission is gaining momentum it is estimated that power from PV Solar will achieve grid parity by 2017. This means that power from PV Solar will be at par from the power received through utility. This also means that for a particular installation.,  beyond this timeline power from PV Solar will remain nearly constant but utility power will continue to rise. Thus PV Solar power generation would become cheaper than utility power !

Due to various benefits – commercial and environmental – associated with PV Solar there is no doubt that it will gain popularity in India sooner than later. The early movers can make the most of it by availing of Subsidies, Incentives and Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) etc. making investment in PV Solar highly attractive.

A bit About Us :
Enerco Energy Solutions LLP (www.econserve.in) excels in offering Green Solutions in the field of

Ø  PV Solar Power Projects Execution on Turnkey or EPC basis
Ø  Remote Plant Management for Solar Power Plants and Industrial Plants for performance monitoring and control
Ø  Energy Saving Projects including Masterplanning, Energy Audit, Solution Implementation, Savings Monitoring and Follow-up Visits & Educational Seminar.
Ø  Power Quality Improvement Projects (Harmonics Mitigation, Electrical Safety etc.)
Ø  Solar Water Heating Projects for Medium to Large Scale Project for Industrial Process or Community Solar Water Heating
We also arrange Financing for Large-Scale CDM Projects especially in PV Solar Power Projects.

To know more about us and view our online video presentation please visit www.econserve.in

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