Wednesday, 25 December 2019

INR 5.65 Crores SAVINGS by Good Solar Design !

Solar Energy - Importance of System Engineering & Design

Solar Energy systems, especially Solar Photo Voltaic systems are very easy to implement and maintain. However there is a lot of complexity that goes behind in terms of software simulation for technology selection, system sizing, generation estimation, PV modules and Inverters permutation & combinations, site related challenges (panel orientation) etc.

Below is a screen shot of a variety of Solar output possible for the same site with different project sizes and project configurations.

Software Simulation Results for same site

Following are the observations made -
  1. For the same site project size can be varied depending on technology selection. It can be observed that the same site can suffice project size ranging from 4.89 MWp to 5.78 MWp.
  2. Higher Project size does not necessarily mean higher output. Here a 4.89 MWp Project can generate more power (kWh per kWp) than project size of 5.78 MWp based on design and engineering. 
  3. In this case two projects of same size also do not mean similar output. For example both designs of 5.78 MWp have a varied output. 
One of the 5.78 MWp project give 1609 kWh per kWp whereas other same size project gives 1661 kWh per kWp. For a 1 MWp Solar project the difference would be 
    1. Lower configuration : 16,09,000 kWh per annum
    2. Higher configuration : 16,61,000 kWh per annum
Considering these projects have been used to consume power under captive mode at INR 7.0 per kWh (standard Industrial tariffs in India) the loss is 52,000 kWh per annum i.e. INR 3,64,000 per annum., which translates into a revenue loss of 
  • 36,40,000 in 1st 10 years
  • 36,03,600 from 10th to 20th year (considering standard nominal output degradation)
  • 17,29,000 from 20th to 25th year (considering standard nominal output degradation)
Which means a total loss of INR 89,72,600 over the total useful PV Solar project life of 25 years. The actual loss is much higher as we have assumed a basic flat tariff of INR 7.0 per kWh for 25 years, whereas in reality the power tariff is expected to rise inline with inflation + economic growth.

Adding up the additional revenue due to good design the total comes to INR 5.65 Crores over the total useful life of the project i.e. 25 years. Considering the prices in 2019-20 additional savings is nearly 20% of the total project cost.

It is better to put in best efforts during the planning phase as majority of the installed Solar Projects (nearly 70%) in India are facing performance issues. This means the generated output is lesser than the projected or designed output. Many of these projects have a PR (Performance Ratio) of less than 75%.

(Read - Why is planning stage important in Solar as nearly 70% of Solar Projects are not performing well.)

In a nutshell, a badly designed Solar project can impact -
  1. Project Size
  2. Output or Power Generation
  3. Under-utilization of project area
  4. Revenue or Savings from the project
It is therefore mandatory to use the best-in-class technology inline with the site conditions and location coupled with better design which results in best performance. A well-designed Solar Project goes a long way in ensuring optimum output over it's useful life.

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