Solar energy has been quickly emerging as an alternative energy source. As of now, the country’s solar installed capacity was 48.556 GW as of November 2021. The nation’s solar capacity has grown eighteen times in the last seven years.
At an event, the Minister of State for Environment Ashwini Choubey said “Installed capacity of solar energy in India has increased by more than 18 times from 2.63 gigawatts in March 2014 to 47.66 gigawatt in October 2021. As a result, India’s current share of non-fossil sources based installed capacity of electricity generation is more than 40 percent.”
Such a huge market with high demand and supply for solar panels in India. With a huge market, there might be a lot of questions that may pop into the mind of a solar panel buyer. Here are a few questions related to PV Solar System.
What is PV Solar System?
A PhotoVoltaic Solar System aka PV Solar System is composed of one or more solar panels combined with an inverter and other electrical and mechanical hardware that use energy from the Sun to generate electricity. PV systems can vary greatly in size from a small rooftop or portable systems to massive utility-scale generation plants. Although PV systems can operate by themselves as off-grid PV systems, this article focuses on systems connected to the utility grid, or grid-tied PV systems.
Don’t confuse it with solar. There is a huge difference between photovoltaic and solar. Solar can be any form of collected energy from the sun which includes, thermal energy transfer. This could be used to heat water or a thermal mass like concrete. Photovoltaic is the process of converting electricity from sunlight.
What are the components of a PV Solar System?
In the case of the PV Solar System, the solar panels are the most important component. A solar panel consists of many solar cells with semiconductor properties encapsulated within a material to protect it from the environment. These properties enable the cell to capture light, or more specifically, the photons from the sun and convert their energy into useful electricity through a process called the photovoltaic effect.
The solar panels are made from crystalline silicon, which has a theoretical efficiency limit of 33% for converting the Sun’s energy into electricity.
Besides the solar panels, the inverter is also an important part. An inverter is an electrical device that accepts electrical current in the form of direct current (DC) and converts it to alternating current (AC). For solar energy systems, this means the DC current from the solar array is fed through an inverter which converts it to AC. This conversion is necessary to operate most electric devices or interface with the electrical grid. Inverters are important for almost all solar energy systems and are typically the most expensive component after the solar panels themselves.
Most inverters have conversion efficiencies of 89% or higher and contain important safety features including ground fault circuit interruption and anti-islanding. These shut down the PV system when there is a loss of grid power.
The final component important in a PV Solar System is the racking. Racking refers to the mounting apparatus which fixes the solar array to the ground or rooftop. Typically constructed from steel or aluminum, these apparatuses mechanically fix the solar panels in place with a high level of precision. Racking systems should be designed to withstand extreme weather events such as hurricane or tornado level wind speeds and/or high accumulations of snow. Another important feature of racking systems is to electrically bond and ground the solar array to prevent electrocution.
Other components like cables, connectors, combiners, disconnects, breakers and meters are also important for a PV Solar System.
How does a Photovoltaic Solar System work?
A photovoltaic cell is made of semiconductor materials that absorb the photons emitted by the sun and generate a flow of electrons. Let us now understand the PV solar system’s working.
Photons are elementary particles that carry solar radiation at a speed of 300,000 kilometres per second. When the photons strike a semiconductor material like silicon, they release the electrons from its atoms, leaving behind a vacant space. The stray electrons move around randomly looking for another “hole” to fill.
To produce an electric current, however, the electrons need to flow in the same direction. This is achieved using two types of silicon. The silicon layer that is exposed to the sun is doped with atoms of phosphorus, which has one more electron than silicon, while the other side is doped with atoms of boron, which has one less electron. The resulting sandwich works much like a battery: the layer that has surplus electrons becomes the negative terminal (n) and the side that has a deficit of electrons becomes the positive terminal (p). An electric field is created at the junction between the two layers.
When the electrons are excited by the photons, they are swept to the n-side by an electric field, while the holes drift to the p-side. The electrons and holes are directed to the electrical contacts applied to both sides before flowing to the external circuit in the form of electrical energy. This produces direct current. An anti-reflective coating is added to the top of the cell to minimize photon loss due to surface reflection.
PV Solar systems are undoubtedly what comes to peoples’ minds when they talk about solar energy. Considering that in an hour, the sun radiates solar energy enough to cover for human energy consumption for a year, then going green with solar PV panels is perhaps in the right direction! However, with solar energy systems’ technology, we are still behind in capturing this naturally free vast amount of energy provided by nature. Let’s have a look at the basic advantages and disadvantages of a PV solar system.
Pros of a PV Solar System:
The electricity generated from a PV solar system is clean and environmentally friendly. There is no harmful gas emitted during electricity generation with PV solar panels.
As the source of the energy is Sun, it is free and abundantly available.
Photovoltaic panels, through the photoelectric phenomenon, produce electricity in a direct electricity generation way.
The operational and maintenance cost is very low, almost negligible, compared to the costs of other renewable energy systems.
PV solar systems are totally silent, producing no noise at all; consequently, they are a perfect solution for urban areas and for residential applications.
Cons of PV Solar Systems
As in all renewable energy sources, solar energy has intermittency issues; not shining at night but also during daytime, there may be cloudy or rainy weather.
For a continuous supply of electric power, especially for on-grid connections, Photovoltaic panels require not only Inverters but also storage batteries; resulting in the increase in investment cost for PV panels considerably.
Solar panels efficiency levels are relatively low (between 14%-25%) compared to the efficiency levels of other renewable energy systems.
Additional equipment is required to convert direct current (DC) to alternating electricity (AC) in order to be used on the power network.
What are the applications of a PV Solar System?
PV Solar Systems are one of the highly used sources of energy in residential areas and industrial locations. Let’s have a look at the applications of a PV Solar System.
- When a number of modules are connected to the grid PV system via an inverter, they transform the DC current generated by the solar PV modules to AC current. The electricity generated can be used for lighting purposes and powering household appliances. The excess electricity can be sold to the grid directly.
- Individual solar PV modules can be used for powering torches, flashlights, wristwatches, etc. in remote and rural locations.
- PV powered lighting systems are reliable and low-cost alternative options. Security, billboard sign, area and outdoor lighting are all viable applications for a PV solar system.
- Solar-powered watches, calculators and cameras are all everyday applications for PV technologies.
Uses of PV solar system
Besides being used as a power source, a PV solar system is used for other things also. Take a look.
- Electricity Generation: This is the most obvious use of a PV solar system. Electricity is essential because most of the tasks and appliances in many homes depend on it to function. Solar electricity is more beneficial because of its easy accessibility and cost-effectiveness.
- Solar Ventilation Fans: Solar ventilation solutions, including solar attic fans, help reduce overworking your HVAC system by cooling your home during hot weather conditions. This is a great option if you cannot install a whole solar energy panel in your home.
- Solar Security lighting: Solar energy panels are also used to provide security lighting in many homes. The solar lights can be installed at the gate, fence, door and other essential parts that ensure that your home security is improved. They come in different types, so you choose the ones that play this role most effectively.
- Large Power Stations: Today, many power plants use fossil fuels as heat sources to boil water. The steam coming from the boiling water spins a large turbine which drives a generator to produce enough electricity. However, a new generation of power plants uses concentrating solar power systems and the sun as a heat source.
- Commercial & Industrial buildings: The large buildings need to be ventilated air to maintain indoor air quality. In cold climates, heating this air can use large amounts of energy. But a solar ventilation system can preheat the air, saving both energy and money.
PV Solar companies in India
India is one of the highest users of PV Solar systems. As the demand is more, there are many PV solar companies in India.
- JJ PV Solar: – JJ Solar Pvt. Ltd is a well-established and prominent innovator in the Indian solar industry. They have collaborated with European companies as technology partners to produce high-quality solar panels at the best possible prices. Having a customer base over 10,000, these numbers justify the services they offer and is evidence to their commitment of always striving to do better than before. Growing together is their mantra.
- Waaree Energies Ltd: Waaree Energies Ltd., founded in 1989, is a Mumbai based company having a significant presence of over 360+ locations in India and 68 foreign countries. With our magnificent 2 GW module manufacturing unit at Surat, they are one of the leading Solar Panel Manufacturers in India.
- Adani Solar: A subsidiary of Adani Enterprises Ltd., Adani Solar belongs to the 15 largest utility solar power developers worldwide. They manufacture solar cells and modules with 1.5 GW+ of cell and module capacity at Mundra, Gujarat. Adani solar is one of the largest solar panels installers in India.
- Loom Solar Pvt. Ltd.: Loom Solar Pvt. Ltd. is a mono perc solar panels and lithium battery manufacturer based out of Faridabad, Haryana having a manufacturing capacity of 100 MW. The company which started in 2018 has become one of the fastest-growing solar panel manufacturers in India because of its wide range of solar panels from 10 watts to 450 watts super high-efficiency panels.
We hope this guide has been useful for everyone seeking information about PV solar systems. Got any queries related to PV solar panels? Drop your questions in the comments section.
- By: jjpvsolar
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