Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Solar Energy - things to know before going Solar

In the Indian context Solar Photo Voltaic is a relatively new concept of power generation. Although Solar Photo Voltaic has been in use in smaller equipment like Solar Lantern, Solar Street Lights, Solar powered Signaling Systems etc.

Solar Energy Solar Photo Voltaic Solar LanternSolar Energy Solar Photo Voltaic Solar Streetlight

                                       












For any interested investor or developer it is necessary to know the Basics Facts of Solar Energy before moving to the advanced stage of site selection and / or site feasibility and study and evaluating Project Viability.

At a preliminary level it is also necessary to overcome any misconception about Solar Photo Voltaic. Mainly these include clarifying doubts related to Solar Energy operations, working in rainy / cloudy / foggy conditions, storage / battery related myths etc. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Solar Energy have been covered in our Post on Solar Energy FAQs.

[Suggested Read - Does Energy Audit really save Energy?]

1. Solar Radiation (Location Feasibility)
Understanding Solar radiation in a particular area is of prime importance and plays a vital role in Project Viability. The same is generally done by observing the Solar radiation map, using complex software, and using pyranometer and various tools to actually measure radiation data. It thus helps in understanding the output that can be expected from the project in terms of kWh generation.

Below is an old Solar radiation map of India., generally a newer and more advanced version of the same is used :-

Solar Energy Radiation Map

2. Site Feasibility
Site Feasibility mainly consists of evaluating a Site for its feasibility for installation of Solar Panels. This primarily includes shade-free area availability, Roof analysis (for rooftop projects), Terrain, Soil Analysis, Proximity to load / distribution centre, Proximity to Substation (for grid-feed projects) etc.

One definite advantage of Solar PV is that it does not need any water for its operations. So it can even be planned for isolated locations where water might be an issue. Minimal maintenance and remote monitoring also ensure that manpower onsite is kept to bare minimum.

3. Technology Feasibility
In Solar Photo Voltaic there are various technologies and are mainly categorized into Crystalline and Thin-Film technology. Within each category there are different types. Each technology has its pros and cons and based on the characteristics of a particular site the technology is selected.

[Suggested Read - Why Solar Energy is the way forward in India?]

The technology feasibility is important as it generally decides the fate of the project in terms of kWh output and also in terms of reliable and stable operations for years to come. More about Technology aspects of Solar Photo Voltaic, Fundamentals of operation, basic manufacturing etc.is given in our Post on Solar Photo Voltaic.

For a trouble-free performance and optimized output of a Solar Photo Voltaic Power Project the initial due diligence is of prime importance. It is especially useful for a long-term reliability and stable performance. With improving affordability of Solar Photo Voltaic it is no surprise that India shall continue to witness an upsurge in the number of Solar Photo Voltaic Power Projects in the times to come.

To know more - please read about Solar Energy Training.

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