FAQ ON SOLAR

You Asked, We Answered

WHAT IS A SOLAR PV SYSTEM AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

PV, short for Photovoltaic, Solar PV system is a power station that generates electricity from sunlight.


The main components of a Solar PV system are:

  • Solar Panels or Modules: Solar panels consist of a group of small cells made from semiconductor material which produces direct current (DC).

  • 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.

Storage Battery (optional): 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.

IS SOLAR FOR ME?

  • Absolutely! Solar is for everyone. Whether you are a residential solar, commercial or industrial consumer, a smart city developer or a public utility service provider, you can use solar in a variety of ways and save big on your electricity bills year after year, for a lifetime.

  • By using Solar PV power, you also stabilize your existing electricity supply as well as reduce your dependence on more expensive sources of power like Diesel Generators and Inverters. You can install Solar systems at a variety of places - on ground, rooftops, elevated structures, walls, roads, canal tops, etc.

RESIDENTIAL SOLAR

  • Solar PV system can be installed on Independent House, Farmhouse, Housing Society etc.

COMMERCIAL SOLAR

  • Solar PV system has benefitted numerous commercial establishment all over the world. From Gas Station to small, medium, and large industrial enterprise are moving into Solar to reduce dependency on utility energy providers.

WHERE TO INSTALL ?

  • Solar PV system can be installed on rooftop, on the ground and open areas essentially which are shadow free.

WHICH TYPE OF SOLAR SYSTEM IS RIGHT FOR ME?

  • "My factory or school is closed over weekends."

  • "My home is locked during daytime. My daytime electricity consumption is very less."

  • "We switch off ACs during the day to save on electricity bills."

  • "I have a 4 hours power-cut during the day."

Well, each user has a different electricity load profile. The good news is that your solar system can be customized depending on your electricity load profile, energy consumption pattern and requirements.

The Solar PV systems can be broadly categorized as: On-grid systems, which are connected to the main electrical supply in your building; Off-grid systems, which are completely off the grid (not connected to your main electrical supply) and Solar PV hybrid systems.

ON-GRID SYSTEM ?

There are two ways in which an on-grid system can be configured: Solar system is solely connected to the main electrical supply
In addition to the main electrical supply, Solar system can also be connected to other power sources like batteries.

HYBRID SOLAR PV SYSTEM ?

The solar PV system combined with another power generating source is called Hybrid Solar PV system. The most used hybrid system is Solar PV with DG and Grid electricity. You can also include a battery bank, which can be used when solar is not generating enough power. Solar PV hybrid system with battery backup is the most suitable option for remote locations such as rural area, mining sector and island etc. where grid supply is either poor or not available. Also, transportation of diesel to remote locations and its storage is expensive.

OFF GRID SOLAR SYSTEM ?

Off grid Solar system is a battery-backed system and does not need to be connected to your electrical supply. This system is commonly used for backup power which may be used for running the loads in non-sunny hours.
If you do not have grid supply or have a poor (fluctuating) voltage, you may consider an off-grid system. This system is more expensive than an on-grid system because of the additional installation and maintenance cost of batteries

HOW MUCH DOES A SOLAR PV SYSTEM COST?

System type and size have a huge impact on the overall pricing of a solar PV system. In solar, bigger is better, since per unit prices fall with increase in scale. Indicative cost for various system sizes is published by MNRE. Please refer MNRE Benchmark price

MY SAVINGS WITH SOLAR?

Solar power is cheaper than grid power for a lot of consumer categories across India. Electricity tariffs for consumers in the middle to high consumption categories are extremely high in India. Also, these tariffs keep increasing every year. This means, if your current tariff in the highest slab is Rs 6.5/kWh and it increases @5% per annum, you will be paying Rs 25/kWh in 2040.
Whereas, by choosing to go solar today, you are locking in a fixed electricity tariff for the next 25 years or more. Moreover, since your electricity tariff is slab-based, your savings are high because solar power displaces the most expensive electricity that you consume. By going Solar, you can expect 20-60% savings on your electricity bill depending on your system size, electricity tariff, location, etc.

WHERE CAN I INSTALL?

In a nutshell the answer is EVERYWHERE…almost!
You can install Solar PV systems on the roofs, walls, ground, elevated structures, canal tops, and even moving vehicles. The only thing you need to ensure is that the location should have a clear and unobstructed access to sunlight most of the day. If nearby objects like trees or water tanks or nearby buildings leave shadow on the panels for some time during the day, then the output of your Solar PV system may get impacted for that duration.

ORIENTATION OF THE ROOF ?

For flat roofs, it does not matter as your solar panels can always be put-up in the most optimum direction. For sloping roofs, south facing slope is the best for Solar PV systems, but south-east and south-west facing roofs are also good enough to generate solar though a bit less.

SHADING OBJECTS ON ROOF AND NEARBY ?

To get adequate power generation or efficiency from Solar PV system, it is important to install solar panels at a location where the sunlight falls for whole day. High shading objects such as water tank, air Cooling system, lightening arresters, chimneys, antennae, nearby buildings, trees, etc. impact the power generation to some extent.

So, a thorough assessment of your roof is important for a safe, optimum and reliable Solar PV system that will perform at its peak for the next 25 years and even more.

GUARANTEES, WARRANTIES AND INSURANCE ?

In case of Solar PV systems, the solar panel and most other equipment manufacturers offer guarantees and warranties. Before finalizing/signing the purchase contract with the solar installer, you should ensure to check the warranty and guarantee terms of Solar PV components and system.

SOLAR PV PANEL WARRANTY ?

  • 10 years of product warranty against defect on materials and workmanship

  • Performance Guarantee of 25 years. In most of the cases, this guarantee is for 10 years at 90% of rated peak power output and for 25 years at 80% of rated peak power output. Peak power output is the nameplate capacity of a Solar PV panel.

SOLAR PV PANELS DEGRADATION TREND ?

Degradation of solar PV panel should not be above 2.0% for first year, 8.0% for next 11 years and should not be above 9.0% linear for 13 years to follow thereafter

INVERTER ?

Typically, inverter warranties last for 5 years; however, installer or manufacturer may give extended warranties for a period of 20 years though for a fee

MOUNTING SYSTEMS ?

Generally, suppliers provide 5 to 10 years product warranty against any manufacturing defect

SOLAR PV SYSTEM WARRANTY ?

Installers give you workmanship warranty for a period of 1~2 years or even more in some cases. It includes repair/replacement against manufacturing defects and engineering defects

PLANT PERFORMANCE GUARANTEE ?

Generally, Installers provide plant performance guarantee for a predetermined period of at least 1 to 2 years or even more in some cases. Plant performance percentage value should be pre-determined and mentioned in the purchase contract agreement. In addition, you may ask for additional guarantees like Liquidated Damages for delay in execution or poor performance, etc

SYSTEM INSURANCE ?

Most insurance companies now offer insurance products for Solar PV systems. Typically, the premium amount for a policy that covers fire & burglary of the system would be approximately 0.75% of sum insured/ capital cost. For example, if you have a 1 KWp solar PV system which costs approx. Rs. 65,000/-, your payable annual insurance premium will be approximately Rs. 487.50 under Fire & Burglary coverage. However, it is recommended that you take quotes from multiple insurance companies before you choose one

SUBSIDIES AND INCENTIVES ?

Several incentives are available for rooftop solar PV plants in India. The specifics of the incentives could vary from one state to another. These incentives broadly fall under the following categories:

  • Accelerated Depreciation (For companies)

  • Capital Subsidy

  • Priority Sector Lending

  • Net-metering

There may be more incentives made available which may vary from state to state

ACCELERATED DEPRECIATION (AD) ?

Accelerated depreciation is an accounting method of depreciation per the Income Tax Act of 1961 under which greater deductions can be taken in the earlier years of the life of certain types of assets than in the later years. In order to promote solar, AD has been allowed for solar PV. For a normal asset yearly depreciation of 15% is allowed on plant and machinery. However, for solar PV systems, 60% of the system cost can be depreciated in the first year itself. This can provide significant savings to tax paying Companies that own solar PV systems

CAPITAL SUBSIDY ?

The Solar PV system costs have dropped significantly and today, they do not need subsidy support for financial viability. However, in some cases, Government of India, through Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and its state-wise nodal agencies, provides a capital subsidy for the investments in solar power systems.
CFA (Central Financial Assistance) is a subsidy being offered to residential, institutional, governmental, and social sector users that differs from state to state
General category states & Union Territories – 30% subsidy on the system cost
Special category states i.e. NE, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, HP, J&K, Lakshadweep, A&N Islands - 70% subsidy on the system cost
The policy mandates the use of ‘Made in India’ components to be eligible to receive CFA.

PERMITS AND APPROVALS ?

Permit is usually not required for off-grid systems and on-grid systems installed for captive consumption. You should take care in choosing experienced installer to install the system as per best practices.
For on-grid systems, if you choose to go for net metering or gross metering, certain approvals are required. These approvals usually vary from state to state and based on the type and system size. Typical required permits and approvals are given below:
Interconnection permission from your power distribution agency (DISCOM).
CEIG’s (Chief Electrical Inspector to the Government of state) permission (pre & post-installation) as applicable. Generally, it is required for systems of 10 kW and above.

PERMISSION AND APPROVAL PROCESS FOR GRID CONNECTED SYSTEM UNDER NET OR GROSS METERING MECHANISM ?

  • Submission of application to your local distribution company with details of rooftop project planned along with the required permit fee.

  • The distribution company will conduct a feasibility analysis of the rooftop solar PV project. Based on the report, Distribution Company will approve or reject the proposal.

  • After receiving the approval from the distribution company (“DISCOM”), an application for registration of the rooftop project is to be submitted to the DISCOM.

  • An interconnection agreement is also to be executed between the project owner and DISCOM.

Your solar system installer will either guide you on this process or will take up ownership to take care of this process