Sunday, 2 December 2012

Solar Energy Power - 30% Subsidy in India

Solar Energy Power Project - 30% Subsidy in India

Photo Voltaic Solar Power - although considered quite expensive is actually becoming practical and viable with falling prices in cost of generation. This is mainly attributed to the significant cost in fall of PV Modules - which form a significant component of the project cost. There are various stages of a Solar Energy Power Project.

Considering the potential of PV Solar for a power deficit and Solar-rich country like India the Government has announced various subsidies and incentives in order to make the project viable. However a PV Solar Power Project can become viable even in the absence of subsidies (Can a Solar Project become financially viable without subsidies / incentives?). Mainly for Industrial Plants which are already facing a high power price (which directly impacts the cost of production) with majority of the plants opting for a D.G. Set for regular use.

Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) announced in 2009 is one of the 8 missions part of National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC). Interestingly in 2009 the cost of generation from PV Solar was significantly higher (nearly twice of what it is today). Moreover the same was also very high as compared to grid power price. In 2012 nearly all the States in India have significantly hiked the power price ranging from 4% to 15%. It is anyone's guess that Solar Power will play a significant role in the Power Scenario of India.

(Recommended Reading - Solar Energy OPEX / RESCO vs CAPEX - which is the right one for you?)

Additionally in the present context owing to rise in deficit in electrical power, unreliable power supply in major parts of the Country, issues in Coal supply (recently some of the TPPs had critically low coal stock of less than a week) there is a rising interest in Solar Power. This interest is boosted by the fact that power generation from Solar enjoys several financial benefits - which no other technology enjoys in India.


Solar Energy Power Project
Fig. 1 Mumbai's first ever rooftop Solar Project commissioned in 2011


The incentives and subsidies for a PV Solar Power Project are of various kinds and depend on factors such as -
  • Size of the Project.
  • Location of the Project.
  • Type of Project (Captive Consumption / Grid-Feed / Off-Grid etc.).
(Interesting to know facts - Solar Energy Projects - Why do they fail?)

Although the type of incentives could be dynamic i.e. benefits achieved over a period of time or could be static i.e. one-time upfront subsidy received from the Government. The other incentives - although much more beneficial - are quite complex to be covered here. The same is generally covered as part of our comprehensive report prepared for a Client. The Project IRR in such cases is in the range of 16% to 20% and Equity IRR is 80% and above. To know more please send a mail to solar@econserve.in
The simplest form of subsidy is 30% capital subsidy by MNRE.

Following are the basic MNRE guidelines for this -
  1. Project should not exceed 100 kWp installation (single location).
  2. Project could be off-grid or grid-synchronized.
  3. Power cannot be fed to the grid i.e. it has to be for captive consumption only.
  4. Battery backup is optional. The subsidy for projects with and without battery is different - MNRE adjusts subsidy amount for higher project cost due to battery.
  5. Project should be preferably executed by MNRE empanelled vendor.
Our Group is an empanelled MNRE vendor for execution of such projects and availing 30% subsidy directly from MNRE. Contact us to know more or you can directly drop a mail to solar@econserve.in

Friday, 14 September 2012

Solar Energy vs D.G. Set !

We have been promoting Solar Energy Solution (Solar PV) as a part of a Power Portfolio for Industrial consumers. The benefits and advantages of Solar PV are quite well-known including :


As per various sources the cost of generating electricity from D.G. Set is about INR 12.0 to INR 14.0 per kWh based on location and other details. O & M and other costs are additional - not to mention the air and noise pollution.

With the recent hike in diesel prices (of about 15%) it is very much likely to impact D.G. Set users especially Industrial Plants - who would be hit the hardest. This would mean cost of generation from D.G. Set would be around INR 15 per kWh - exorbitantly high and expected to rise further.

Enerco Energy Solutions had posted about comparison between Solar Power and D.G. Set in August 2012. The same was posted on our Facebook page and is now posted below as well.

Solar Energy vs D.G. Set cost per kWh
                          Expected Trend : Cost of Power Generation from Solar vs Diesel Genset

The diesel price hike is primarily to control fiscal deficit i.e. the difference between Government spending and Government earnings. The fiscal deficit had touche around 6% of GDP which is extremely high. The Government is under severe pressure to hike the fuel prices to reduce its fiscal deficit i.e. internal reasons. Externally there is tremendous pressure to reduce reliance on fossil fuels especially D.G. Sets. Even after the recent hike the subsidy on diesel is quite high and the fiscal deficit will be hardly impacted. With the risk of downgrading the Country rating the Government will try to appease overseas investors. Hence in all likelihood Diesel prices will touch around INR 60 per litre in next one year.

PV Solar is a much better alternative to grid power as it offers a consistent cost of generation and does not require any fuel to operate and has a useful life of about 25-30 years. Although D.G. set can be used as an emergency backup it should be only used in case of emergencies and not as a backup solution. With the focus on renewable energy technologies it is no surprise that Solar Energy would continue to enjoy good subsidies and incentives till such time that grid parity is achieved. It is thus not only economically viable to invest in Solar Energy Projects but also a much needed and the only solution offering such viability.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Can a Solar Energy Power Project become Financially viable without Subsidies or Incentives?

(Recent updates of 09th Mar 2015 below)

The driving force behind JNNSM to encourage Solar Energy Power Projects was the depletion of domestic fossil fuel resources, reliance on imported fuels - a drain on foreign currency, environmental concerns and the need for a better power portfolio for the Country which can solve several problems including overcoming the problem of T & D losses (Decentralized Power Systems). While several Incentives and Subsidies have been announced under JNNSM and other State-level initiatives - it should be noted that what would happen in case of absence of these subsidies or incentives.

Can a PV Solar Power Project become viable without subsidies or incentives being offered by the Government? The answer is yes it can. Presently it can very well work for Industrial Plants who are looking for PV Solar as a source for captive power generation. Industrial plants are paying quite a high tariff for grid power which will keep on rising - even if India were to meet all of its power demands today - due to natural growth of economy.

(Interesting Read - Energy Audit :: Why Should a Plant go for it?)

While PV Solar remains a topic of interest among many it is worthwhile to note that it is commercial viability which matters for an Investor or Captive Power user or an Independent Power Producer. We carried out an analytical comparison between various Power sources and below is the graph depicting the Cost of Power (INR / kWh) from each source of Power i.e. PV Solar Project, Utility Grid and D.G. Set. For PV Solar power since there is nearly ZERO running cost, the INR per kWh value has been obtained by amortising the cost of Project over a period of 10 years although trouble-free life of a PV Solar Project is around 25-30 years.
Solar Energy Photo Voltaic Power Project Cost per Unit
INR per kWh Comparison of Solar Power with Grid and D.G. Set
(Above Diagram taken from our FREE Solar Energy Report)

It should be noted that NO Government subsidies and incentives for Solar Project have been considered here. If the same is considered then INR per kWh for PV Solar can be much lesser possibly lesser than INR 3.00 per kWh.

(Suggested Reading - 30% Subsidy on Solar Projects)

Moreover INR 5.0 per kWh has been considered as the present grid price. In most of the cases across India this is true and INR per kWh for Grid Power is in the range of INR 6.0 to INR 7.0 as well. In some rare cases it can be lesser than INR 5.0 per kWh. For a plant using Grid + D.G. Set the landed cost will be certainly much above INR 5.0 per kWh.

Typically a PV Solar Project has a life of 25-30 years (with appropriate warranties in place) and its Project IRR is quite attractive at 16% (minimum) and can be as high as 20% as well. In fact equity IRR of 75% (minimum) and a maximum of 95% ensures that Equity is recovered from the project within 2 years of investment - on Tax benefits alone !

(You may also like - Is Solar Energy the Answer to India's Power Problems?)

Updates on 09th March 2015
With falling PV Solar prices the capital cost of project for PV Solar is nearly the same as that for a wind power project. The obvious benefit of Solar project over wind project is that a Solar project requires minimal maintenance and hence negligible OPEX.

Additionally the predictability is much higher in PV Solar as we can accurately extrapolate the expected kWh through
  1. Onsite Solar radiation analysis during site survey.
  2. Analyzing Solar radiation map of the region.
  3. Software simulation of the project.

Consequently cash-flows from a PV Solar project can be more accurately projected.

As is known, PV Solar can be ideally used across the Country as against other technologies which could only be used in certain parts. For eg. Wind projects could only come up with areas which fall in the wind-pocket zones. Hydro projects could be installed only in areas with river beds etc.

The rising grid prices is another reason for worry for Industrial power consumers. Some of the States (Maharashtra, Karnataka, U.P., M.P. etc.) have already hiked industrial power tariff or announced their plans to hike the same in 2015. With the recent re-allocation of coal blocks at 5x to 10x the original prices would be another cause of worry for consumers as eventually the added cost would be passed on to the consumers. These factors would result in further rise in power tariff., making Solar power project more viable.

The above driving factors is resulting in rising popularity of PV Solar projects and the grid-parity will be achieved much sooner than was earlier anticipated. MNRE in it's recent directives has hinted that subsidy to PV Solar projects is likely to be discontinued. Even if no subsidies are considered a PV Solar project could payback for itself in 3-5 years for a Industrial or Commercial facility if

If the entire life of a PV Solar project is considered for simple amortization then cost of power from PV Solar project is less than INR 3 per kWh - without subsidies.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Solar Energy Report (FREE)

We have recently released our First FREE Solar Energy Report for Indian Industrial Plants.

The FREE Solar Energy Report titled - Why Indian Industrial Plants should opt for Photo Voltaic (PV) Solar takes a look at Indian Power Scenario, Indian Renewable Energy Scenario, Indian Industries - Power Outlook and a deep insight into Solar Energy i.e. Photo Voltaic Solar and the practical applications from an Industry viewpoint including a touch up on Viability aspects.

Primarily any Industrial Plant Manager would look to reduce cost while maintaining optimum production level through a consistent and quality power. This Solar Energy Report strengthens the view that an Industrial Plant should have an Ideal Power Mix or Portfolio to reduce its reliance on a single source of energy. By this report we do not intend to say that an entire Industrial Plant can run on Solar Energy - not practical and feasible in the near term. However adding PV Solar Power as part of the Power Mix would be an ideal solution as we believe Solar Energy can indeed be an answer to India's Power Problems.

We are offering our Consultancy Services in Solar Energy (Photo Voltaic) for  several Industrial Plants across India (majority of them leaders such as Reliance Group, Aditya Birla Group, Emami Group, Cement Plants, Chemical Plants etc.) and the findings have been quintessentially interesting. Every Industrial Plant that we audited has the potential to have a PV Solar Project installation of 500 kW to several MW for both rooftop and Ground-mounted systems. This was carried out as part of our Solar Energy Consultancy Package. The project are all viable and feasible under various subsidies and incentives offered by the Government under Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. Even in the absence of subsidies the project RoI is very much attractive due to rising grid power prices, inconsistent power supply, unreliable fuel supply etc. The findings of the Industrial Plants will be captured in our Next Report.

(Interesting Read - Energy Audit :: Why should a Plant go for it?)

If you wish to download the Free Solar Energy Report - please Contact Us.

Do you want a FREE Assessment of your Site for Energy Saving Potential?

You may also find it interesting to read our other posts -
  1. Solar Energy Training
  2. Solar Energy Capacity to exceed Wind Energy?
  3. Energy Audit - How much Energy could you save?
  4. 30% Subsidy on PV Solar Power Projects
  5. Can a PV Solar Power Project become viable without Subsidies?
  6. Is Solar Energy Really Affordable?
  7. How and Why PV Solar scores over other Renewable Energy Technologies?

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Is Solar Energy the answer to India's Power Problems?

Fossil Fuel Thermal Power Plants account for more than 70% power generation in India. Primarily Coal-based Thermal Power Plants (TPPs) dominate the Power Scenario with nearly 55% of overall power generation share. With the recent hike in Coal prices or in general fossil fuels - including Petrol - there is no other time better than now to look at Alternative options. There are mainly 2 issues with Coal - Availability and Cost.

Coal availability is forcing Indian Power Cos. to look at imported coal and overseas mine acquisitions. Even this looks far from solving the issue as seen in case of Tata's Mundra power project where the Indonesian Govt. increased taxes on Coal export. Despite demands from the Power Company to renegotiate Power Purchase Agreement terms the State Government is reluctant to give in. Central Government is trying to do its bit by reducing duty on imported coal but then International coal prices are on an upswing. The recent attempt by the Central Government to arm twist Coal India to sign Fuel Supply Agreements (FSAs) with Power Companies has indeed boosted the spirits of the Power Companies - but at what cost? Even if the FSAs are signed it would ensure availability. But the high cost of imported Coal would be transferred to power Companies and in turn to the consumers who are already reeling under the pressure of inflation, blackouts and brownouts.

[What other people are reading and liking - Does Energy Audit really Save Energy?]

Logically an abundance of a resource justifies its dominant utilization in any Country or a region. For instance India was indeed a Coal-rich Country - once upon a time. However due to rapid development of new Thermal Power Plants for increasing demand coupled with rapid growth of Industries relying on Coal - the reserves have gone down significantly with nearly 100 years reserve a few years back the present figure is much lesser (recent estimates of less than 60 years). The rapid downward momentum is expected to continue. Not to forget the other challenges in the Indian Power Sector especially on Infrastructure - Logistics for Coal Supply, Transmission & Distribution, ATC Losses (nearly 33% and one of the worst in the world), Power Thefts, Power Wastage / Losses etc.

So what should be the next logical step for solving the power problem of the Country facing a peak power deficit of 10-12%? We do not have to look far for an answer as it is quite obvious. Solar Energy (Solar Photo Voltaic) - one which has significant benefits over not only fossil fuel plants but also over other renewable technologies. Traditionally being used for heating water - Solar Energy is now seriously being looked at as a source for Power Generation. Solar Energy is a generic term which refers to the Light Energy and Heat Energy of the Sun. Last decade has witnessed significant developments in Solar Water Heating - at household level as well as Community and Industrial level.

Power generation could either be through Solar Thermal or Solar Photo Voltaic. A Solar Thermal Power Plant uses concentrated Thermal energy of the Sun to generate super-heated steam to run turbines for generating power. Although green - Solar Thermal Power has its own challenges and drawbacks - mainly water required for operations and thermal storage. Solar Photo Voltaic Power Plant uses Light energy of the Sun to directly generate power - without any steam generation. It works on the Photo Voltaic Principle i.e. when photons (from Sun light) strike the Photo Voltaic Panel (solid state semiconductor device) these photons let loose the electrons within the PV panel to generate electrical power.

Solar Energy Solar Photo Voltaic Solar Project

[One of the most liked Articles - What is Solar Energy - focus on Solar PV]

As is evident Solar Photo Voltaic offers notable advantages and inherent qualities of simplicity which is not possible in any other technologies. Important ones are :

  1. Does not need any maintenance as there are no moving parts (in a static PV system) - so it is basically a fit and forget system which is not the case with any other technology.
  2. Can be used across the Country and hence not location-specific as in case of Wind Power or Hydro Power. The output may marginally differ depending on the location but can certainly be utilized.
  3. It is highly scalable and modular in nature and hence can have installations from a few hundred watts and right upto Mega Watt.
  4. The critical component i.e. PV Panel has a life of 25-30 years. Therefore once the initial investment is achieved in 3-5 years Power is generated free of cost for the remaining years. [Is Solar Energy (PV) really affordable?]
  5. Very well supported by the Central and various State Governments which are offering excellent subsidies and incentives for generating PV Solar Power. In fact PV Solar can also become financially viable in the absence of subsidies and incentives as well. Primarily because the grid power price is increasing very often and cost of power generation from PV prices have significantly come down down. Grid parity is likely to be achieved by 2013 -> 4 years earlier than previously predicted.
  6. Does not need water for operations and hence can be installed for utility scale projects in isolated desert lands. It thus offers distinct advantage over Solar Thermal Power Plant as well.
  7. Decentralized power systems can ensure that ATC Losses are minimized. The Government must understand that PV Solar is safe for installations closer to human habitat and hence can be used for decentralized power generation. There need not be grid availability at such locations and hence saving on energy - due to minimized transmission & distribution losses. The decentralized power system would cost the Government a fraction of what it would cost them to lay down Transmission and Distribution grid.
[Related Post - Things to know before going Solar]

This does not mean that Solar Photo Voltaic would completely replace fossil fuel plants - atleast not in the foreseeable future. But using Solar Photo Voltaic at various levels can reduce dependence on Coal to a substantial extent to complement grid power. This would not only ensure coal availability in the short to medium term but also preserve coal reserves.

Technology advancements price reductions and opening up of new markets has thrown open a huge opportunity especially for Solar-rich Countries like India. With more than 90% of locations across the Country highly feasible for using Solar Power - either through centralized or decentralized systems - Solar Photo Voltaic is poised to be the solution of choice in the Indian Power Scenario for a long time to come and can answer most of the power related problems.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Solar Energy - things to know before going Solar

Solar Energy Solar Photo Voltaic Solar Streetlight

                                       


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.


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.

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.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Is Solar Energy (PV) really affordable?

The most frequented question we come across is whether Solar Energy is affordable. Affordability comes into picture with 2 aspects - Need and Alternative. The need aspect is about the need for stable electrical power. While the alternative aspect is the grid power - in case there is a grid or alternatively DG Sets.

Looking at the Need aspect first- electrical power is a basic requirement for anyone and everyone. Especially for a growing Country like India more power would be needed with increased affordability. Nearly 40% of the household are without power today and the peak deficit is in the range of 12-15%. Let alone power availability many of the rural areas are not even electrified. So then if all the areas are electrified the peak deficit could be a much higher number. So the need for electrical power is certainly there - in semi urban areas which suffer from blackouts / brownouts and rural areas where there is no electrification at all. In fact even some of the Tier-1 cities (except Mumbai) suffer power problems especially during Summers. There is certainly a growing need for power and stable one at that.

[Suggested Read - What you should know before going Solar !]

With regards to Alternative - what exactly is alternative to Solar PV? Wind? Biomass? Hydro? All of them have some or the other issues and that is precisely the reason Solar PV scores above all of the renewable technologies. If one is resistant to changing over from grid power to Solar PV then we suggest that Solar PV is not a replacement for grid but complementing the grid power. With soaring Diesel prices + pollution + maintenance + operational costs people have now realized that DG sets are not a good power option. In fact cost of power generation from Solar PV is much lower than that from DG set. With earlier prediction grid parity for Solar PV was to be achieved by 2015 which is now revised to 2012/13. (To know about Grid parity please check our Solar PV FAQs)

Antagonist of Solar PV also suggest that Solar Energy cannot work without subsidies or Government incentives. Nothing else can be farther from truth. With recent bidding for Solar PV Projects for prices as low as INR 7.0 to INR 7.5 per unit and Grid power at nearly INR 5.0 to INR 6.0 per unit and in some cases even INR 7.0 to INR 8.0 per unit - Solar PV can easily survive without subsidies or incentives. How?

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

Consider the following :
  • Solar PV is one-time investment and the prices have come down significantly.
  • There are nearly zero or no-maintenance cost associated with Solar PV.
  • Solar PV critical components have a life of 20-30 years.
  • Grid power prices are on the rise with another recently announced another rise of 33%.
  • With increased awareness about benefits of Solar PV the demand for PV is expected to rise further resulting in further reduction in PV Project costs.
The bottomline - Solar Photo Voltaic is truly affordable. It may have already been affordable in some areas where grid power price is quite high. Or for some of the Industries or Commercial Complexes where DG set is being used. As the Government subsidy is quite attractive any incentive or subsidy should be considered a boon for the project maximizing returns and minimizing payback period.

We also suggest a quick read of our Post on Solar Energy which is about General Information on Solar Energy especially Solar Photo Voltaic its working and suitability for Indian conditions. For basic information you may visit our post on Solar Energy Facts.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

What is Solar Energy? Solar Energy - FAQs

What is Solar Energy?

Solar Energy is one of the most talked about Energy sources in the Global Energy scenario especially in European and North American regions. Germany has installed more than 30 GW (30,000 MW) already which forms more than 5% of its total power consumption. A Solar-rich Country like India cannot be far behind and the interest is certainly picking up.

The term Solar Energy is frequently used to refer to Solar PV Power Projects. Although Solar Energy is a broad term and consists of Solar Thermal Energy and Solar PV Energy. Amid all the discussions, curiosity, hypes, myths etc. the attention or focus is generally more on the negative aspects and doubts on Solar Energy especially on Solar Photo Voltaic and its applicability. In this post we attempt to answer some of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Solar Energy especially on Solar Photo Voltaic. (You are free to post your queries or views in the comments section below).

(a) Can Solar Energy work across all the locations in India?
Yes, Solar Energy is suitable for most parts of India as can be seen in the Solar radiation map. The main focus is on Solar radiation for which GHI and DNI figures are used. As can be observed in the Solar radiation map these figures for India ranges from 4.0 to 6.5 or more and is thus much better than global average. The output (kWh / Units) for Solar Energy Power Project will vary  from location to location but is in general very good and hence Solar Energy is certainly a workable option across India.




(b) Can Solar Energy work without a battery backup?
Yes, Solar Energy can work without battery backup. Batteries are not necessarily needed for backup unless the Photo Voltaic project is used for feeding power to a setup or a complex or households in a rural area which have no grid connectivity at all. As such Solar Energy is a broad term and if it refers to Solar Thermal energy Power Project then backup for thermal energy storage is needed. It is no wonder that Solar Photo Voltaic is gaining more popularity than Solar Thermal due to its simplicity, ease of operations and excellent life (25-30 years) as can be seen in this Post.

[Others are reading - What is Energy Audit Report?]

(c) Can Solar Energy work in the rain or foggy conditions?
Yes, Solar Energy can work in the rain. There are 2 types of radiations that Solar Photo Voltaic works on - Direct Radiation and Diffused Radiation. During the rainy season or foggy weather diffused radiation is still available although direct radiation would be reduced. During such times the output may marginally drop a bit. In fact Pune (Maharashtra) which receives good annual rainfall is where Tata has installed a 2 MW PV Solar Power Project and the output is very good.


(d) Is Solar Energy really affordable?
Solar Energy - specifically Solar Photo Voltaic is indeed quite affordable. Primary reasons are significant fall in Photo Voltaic Solar prices and consecutive increase in grid prices. Details about the same can be seen in our Post on Affordability of Solar Energy.


(e) Does Solar Energy require a huge area?
Not really. Area required for Solar Photo Voltaic Power Project varies from 3.5 Acres to 7.0 Acres per MW of Installation depending on Technology. Considering the fact that Solar PV does not require active involvement or water for operations the sites can be in far-off locations. There is indeed a huge availability of arid land which is otherwise un-utilized and can be effectively utilized for PV Solar Power Projects. In case of Industrial plants huge rooftops can be utilized for installation of PV Solar Panels.




(f) Does Solar Energy using PV technology rely on temperature for operations?
Solar Photo Voltaic works on Light energy of the Sun i.e. when Photons strike the Cells within the PV Modules - they let the electrons loose which then flow in one direction generating electrical power in the other direction. It is depicted in the diagram in this post. Hence PV does not rely on temperature for its operation. However depending on technology the output may vary a bit at extreme temperatures as every type of PV Cell has a NOCT known as Nominal Operating Cell Temperature - the standard of verifying the quality of cell.

Our detailed view on Affordability of Solar Energy is shared in a separate Post. 


The limited and slow growth of Solar Energy can be attributed to the the Myths about Solar Energy (our other Post - Top 5 Myths about Solar Energy) which leads to misinformation and misconceptions about Solar Photo Voltaic or Solar Energy in general.

Further information related to Solar Energy or Solar Photo Voltaic or Energy Conservation is on other blogs posts.

Friday, 24 February 2012

What is Solar Energy (focus on Solar Photo Voltaic or Solar PV)?

Solar Photo Voltaic is using one of the most useful and the most sustainable forms of (Solar) Energy to generate electrical power especially for a Solar-rich Country like India. In simple terms Solar Energy refers to using the 2 main forms of the Energy of The Sun i.e. Thermal Energy and Light Energy and converting the same for more usable forms mainly generating electrical power. Although both forms have been in use for quite sometime now - Solar Photo Voltaic which uses Light energy of The Sun is gaining immense popularity due to various advantages it offers.

Solar Photo Voltaic mainly refers to using the light energy of The Sun to convert it to electrical power or electricity so that it can be used to run everyday applications at residential or industrial level or export power to the grid. To do the this special type of Cells known Photo Voltaic Cells are used. These cells are manufactured using complex process to convert Raw Silica into PV Cells or Modules. The value chain is as follows :



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

When Photons from a bright source of light such as The Sun strikes the PV Modules (containing PV Cells), they displace the electrons present in the PV Cells. Due to this the electrons begin flowing in one direction thereby producing electrical power as depicted in the image below.



It is thus no surprise that Solar PV offers numerous advantages not only over various conventional energy technologies but also over various green-tech (including Solar Thermal). In fact there are specific advantages of using Solar PV over Wind energy as well. We have prepared a Comparison of Solar PV Power Generation vs Wind Energy Power Generation., please send us a mail on solar@econserve.in to receive the same.