On-grid solar systems are advantageous as the electricity is utilized by the owner during the day and any surplus is supplied to the grid; some utilities pay for this surplus electricity at a higher rate known as a Feed In Tariff (FIT). During the evenings, when solar electricity is not generated, electricity is drawn from the grid avoiding the need for costly battery banks.
- PV panels, which cost anywhere from Rs. 35 per watt to over Rs. 50 per watt, are the single biggest expense of a PV system. Their placement and mounting affect your system performance more than any other facet of the job.
- Mounting your PV panels is of critical importance. First, you need to mount the panels where they’ll get maximum sunshine over the course of a year. But the more difficult problem is to mount them with enough integrity that they’ll stay put for 25 years or more.
- Inverters take the low-voltage, high-current signals from the PV panels and convert them into 120VAC (or 240 VAC), which is directly compatible with grid power. Inverters cost around Rs. 45 per watt, or around Rs.2,00,000 for a typical application. From a reliability standpoint, they are generally the weak link in any PV system, so quality is a must.
- Tracking mounts mechanically move the PV panels over the course of a day so that they directly face the sun at all times. Dual axis trackers change both azimuth and elevation, while single axis trackers only match the azimuth.
- Disconnect switches are of critical importance, and they need to be mounted within easy reach. Every member of your family should know exactly how to turn the PV system off for safety reasons. If any abnormal behavior occurs in your home’s electrical system, shut off the solar system first.
Wiring and Fuse Box Connections
- Wiring, conduit, and connections to your household main fuse box are minor hardware expenses, but they comprise a big chunk of the labor when you’re installing a PV system.