How to set up a small solar

Author – Alycia Gordan

Clean energy is gaining ground rapidly just when greenhouse gases and carbon emissions are immensely hurting our ecosystem. Worldwide, two-thirds of solar power capacity have been installed since 2011. Fortunately, India has kept pace with the rapid development of clean solar power. Reports indicate that solar power generation in India increased by a whopping 86% in 2017.

It is now ideal to use solar power not only in commercial units but also for residential ones. The costs of installing a solar power unit have steadily dropped, but you can always try the DIY option to keep it within your budget. You can save money by setting up a solar with solar photo-voltaic (PV) system yourself by reading this simple guide to set up solar power. Here is an in-depth look at how you can build and install a solar power unit for your home:

Step-by-step guide to set up solar power unit

How to set up a small solar

Step 1: Gather solar power components

It all begins with gathering the basic ingredients of a solar power unit. You will need four major items – solar panels, charge controller, inverter, and a battery pack. In addition to these items, you will require a breaker, meter, MC4 connector, and fuses among other things. Keep in mind that it is essential to read the solar panel module instructions.

Step 2: Calculate your power load

How to set up a small solar

Before getting to the solar installation task, it is crucial to sum up the power that you use at your home. This isn’t rocket science. All you have to do is to note down the home appliances that you use on a daily basis, which include television, lights, fan, and so on. Next, add the time for which these appliances run in a day. Go through the specification chart in your household electric appliances to check their usage duration or run time, and their power rating.

Now calculate the ‘Watt-Hour’ by multiplying the runtime of an appliance with its power rating. Follow this step for each electrical device, then sum up the individual watt-hour numbers to get the grand total. You can also simplify this calculation by using an online off-grid load calculator.

Step 3: Select and charge the battery

How to set up a small solar

A major hiccup with solar power is that it doesn’t provide electricity when the sun goes down. However, you can easily crack this problem by using a battery. A lead-acid or a lithium-ion battery stores solar power generated during the daytime and discharges it at night. This provides a steady supply of energy, provided you have selected the optimum battery storage capacity. You will need a power controller to monitor your battery’s charging. These come between the panels and the battery. Such controllers are typically fitted with a small LED light that announces the charging state of the battery, and it adjusts the power that flows into the battery.

Step 4: Set up the inverter

How to set up a small solar

Solar arrays produce electricity in direct current (DC), but electrical appliances use power in the form of alternating current (AC). Inverter is a device that saves the day by allowing you to use electrical devices without using adaptors. Inverters come in varying power wattages and types including square wave, modified sine-wave, and pure sine-wave inverters. Square waves are not compatible for all devices, while the output of modified sine wave is not suitable for certain appliances such as a fridge. This makes a pure sine wave inverter the best choice for your solar system.

Step 5: Fix the solar panels on your roof

How to set up a small solar

Once the battery, controller, and inverters are ready, you need to get started with mounting the solar panels. Select the best spot for the panels on the roof or on open ground that receives an unhindered supply of the sun’s radiation. You can either make a mounting stand yourself or get it from the market. The tilt of the mounting stand should almost be equal to the latitude angle of your location. The proper setting of the solar panels is critical for their operation & maintenance. Hence, it is essential to ensure that the panels face the sun throughout the day.

In the last phase of this step, wire the solar panels. You can trace a small junction box at the back of the solar panel. The junction box has negative and positive signs of polarity. In a large sized-panel, the junction box has terminal wires too with an MC4 connector. However, you will have to align the junction box with external wires yourself if you use small solar panels. Use the black and red wire for negative and positive terminal connections, respectively.

Step 6: Connect the solar panels with battery

You need to connect the solar panels with the battery. In certain PV systems, these come paired together, so you don’t have to put in the additional effort. In cases that are not given as a single unit, you need to make series and parallel connections. You can make a series connection by connecting a device’s positive terminal with another device’s negative terminal. For a parallel connection, you need to connect one device’s negative terminal with another device’s negative terminal and so on.

Step 7: Setup stands for inverter and battery

How to set up a small solar

Your residential solar unit is incomplete without stands for the battery and inverter. Again, you have the option of building the stands or getting them. Once the allocated positions for the inverter and battery are ready, you can start working on the wiring. Start with wiring the controller. The first connection from the left is for connecting the controller with the solar panels. The second connection is for pairing the battery with the controller. The last connection is for connecting the controller to the direct DC load connection.

For connecting the solar panel with the charge controller, you will need a separate connector called an MC4 connector. Once the controller is connected to the battery, its LED lights should light up. Similarly, you will have to connect the inverter terminal with the battery’s terminal.

Following these steps can guide you to set up a solar power unit at your home. The high costs incurred in installing one can be reaped later on as solar energy is not only clean but also a cost-effective investment.

Author Bio

Alycia Gordan is a tech junkie and a freelance writer who loves to read and write articles on healthcare, technology, fitness and lifestyle. You can find her on Twitter: @meetalycia

A simple solar system that helps power your entire house and stores energy isn’t as easy to set up as you’d think. To ensure that you capture some of the sun’s energy while you save up enough for a whole-home solar system we’re offering a few DIY solar tips.

In our previous post, “DIY solar,” we walked everyone through the process of installing solar systems. Today we’re going more into detail about how you create a minimalist off-grid solar setup without spending too much. Let’s dive in!

How Solar Works

Solar panels are actually quite simple. Most people think that they’re extremely complex, but the technology has been around for decades now. To capture and absorb sunlight and then turn it into electricity that you can use throughout your home, even a simple solar system needs all of the basic components.

Basic Components of a Solar Energy System

How to set up a small solar

The first thing you’ll need to start capturing and converting the sun’s energy is a solar panel! Solar panels are made up of 100’s of photovoltaic cells that capture solar energy as DC current, and then transfer that energy through DC wiring to an inverter.

From the inverter, AC energy can be used to power your TV or charge your electric car. When your solar energy system is set up and running, the AC current first goes to your fuse box, where it’s distributed throughout the house, and then to a battery or back to the electrical grid for your neighbors to use. There are far more moving pieces for more complex solar energy systems, but the concept is generally the same.

The Minimalist Solar Setup

If you want a simple solar setup that you can use to charge a battery when you go camping or to live out of your van, then here are the components you’ll need for a minimalist solar setup. In this post we’re covering the components of this system, in our previous post, DIY Solar Guide, you’ll find everything you need to start setting up your at-home or on the road solar system. Here’s what you need for a truly minimalist solar power system.

Components

  • 100 amp hour deep cycle battery
  • 100-200 watt solar panel
  • 20 amp MPPT charge controller
  • 750-watt inverter

This specific system is pretty easy to expand if you need more power. All you’ll need to do is wire another solar panel in series and purchase a larger battery. When it comes to the overall cost of this system, you can expect to spend anywhere from $1,200 to $2,000 depending on the battery you choose. Lead cell batteries will be significantly cheaper than lithium-ion batteries, but they likely won’t hold a charge for as long or last as long.

Solar Panels

While batteries are an essential part of solar energy systems, you won’t have any power to fill the battery if you don’t first get a solar panel. For a rugged and on the go system, there are two options to choose from. The first is a glass solar panel and the second is a flexible solar panel.

Glass Solar Panel

How to set up a small solar

Glass solar panels are the most common type of solar panels and they’re much cheaper than flexible solar panels. Glass panels can last quite a few years and typically provide the most return on investment. Some of the drawbacks of these panels include their weight and difficulty in mounting. If you were to try and mount them to the top of a car you’d definitely have a bit of a struggle, to say the least.

Flexible Solar Panel

Flexible solar panels are easier to mount, more lightweight, and can be mounted flush to the roof of a vehicle. The downside of a flexible panel is that it’s much more expensive and they don’t last nearly as long. So, while it’s not ideal when it comes to price point and longevity of life, flexible panels offer more versatility.

While we are solar experts, we did get a little help putting this post together and found mobile-solarpower.com to have some awesome resources, including their own guide to a minimalist setup.

If you’re looking for a more permanent solar setup for your home or business, we’d love to hear from you! At Sun Badger Solar we provide all things solar and can give you a free estimate for what it would cost to power your home with solar. Reach out to us today to learn more!

Try these budget alternatives to get the benefits of solar energy without the high price.

Alina Bradford has been writing how-tos, tech articles and more for almost two decades. She currently writes for CNET’s Smart Home Section, MTVNews’ tech section and for Live Science’s reference section. Follow her on Twitter.

While solar panels have been getting cheaper for years, they’re still a big investment. Even though there are ways to make solar panels more affordable and they’re almost bound to save you money in the long run it can be a tough decision to make . If making your entire home solar is out of budget, you can still add smaller and less expensive solar elements that help save on electricity.

Let’s take a look at your options.

Outdoor solar lights

There are a multitude of stationary and portable lights that can run on solar power that you can easily add to your home.

Start your solar journey in your yard. I personally have solar walkway lights by my front door and solar twinkle lights decorating my garden. The installation process for these types of lights are pretty simple — you just place the lights where you want them and make sure the solar panel is turned toward the sky.

While lighting your yard, don’t forget about your porch light. For less than $50, you can grab a solar option like the Gama Sonic Solar Outdoor Wall Lantern ($42).

Device chargers

Your phones and tablets need a daily recharge, so why not make the energy source green? Solar power banks, like the Portable Solar Power Bank ($15) and the Kiizon Power Bank ($30) come with USB ports that you can use to charge your phone, as well as other small gadgets. The best part is that these banks are portable, so you’re never tethered to a wall outlet.

The downside is that the solar power banks charge your devices slower than a wall outlet. Luckily the banks can recharge with sunlight during the day and store that energy to charge your devices at night — when you don’t really need them to charge quickly.

No matter which solar-powered charger you choose, look for one that can charge your devices while also recharging itself in the sunlight. Also, check to see how many items it can charge at once and if it protects your device from being overcharged.

23 Tips to Help You Save Money on Your Electric Bill

Power small appliances with solar energy

Don’t stop at powering your devices with solar. You can also power your small kitchen appliances — like your coffee maker, toaster, Instant Pot, slow cooker or sandwich maker — without plugging them into a wall. While the monetary savings on your electricity bill will be small, the planet will still benefit from your use of renewable energy. Plus, during blackouts you’ll still be able to cook.

All you’ll need is a 25-watt power bank you can stick in a window and a DC-to-AC inverter to make it happen. The inverter simply plugs into the power bank, so it’s very easy to set up.

If you want an all-in-one solution, Goal Zero makes solar power kits with large storage batteries. It has everything you need to power your small appliance.

Once you have it set up, just plug your small appliance into the power bank. They’ll run just like normal. The only drawback is that you can only power one appliance at a time, unless you have multiple power banks.

Try a solar water heater kit

Your typical water heater uses around $440 dollars worth of electricity per year. You can save that money by going solar. There are solar water heater kits you can buy for $250 to $1,200, so they pay for themselves very quickly.

There are three different types of solar water heaters. One thing they all tend to have in common is that they heat the water and then store it in insulated storage systems to keep the water warm until it is needed.

Batch collectors, also called integrated collector storage systems, are the oldest types of solar water heaters and they are still popular because they need very little sunshine to heat water and they are simple to install.

You likely already know that anything painted black absorbs sunlight and gets hot quickly. Batch collectors use large black tanks or tubes to collect solar heat to warm the water inside of them.

Flat-plate collector water heaters have a heat absorbing plate that collects heat from the sun, then transfers the heat to copper tubes. As the tubes heat up, so does the water inside them. The plates are usually installed on top of the roof to get the maximum amount of light during the day. The problem with this style of heater is it isn’t as dependable to heat water as consistently as some of the other choices.

Evacuated tube collectors are considered the most productive solar water heaters. Glass or metal tubes full of water or heat transfer fluid are placed inside larger glass tubes, creating a vacuum. In this vacuum, very little heat is lost, so the water is heated very efficiently. Another benefit is it can even be used in outdoor temperatures as low as 40 F, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Some things to look for when buying a solar water heater kit are durability and the amount of water the heater can heat up at a time. When it comes to durability, be sure that any outside components are hail-proof, especially if you’re putting a plate on your roof. For the flow rate, look for heaters that can provide at least 2.1 gallons of hot water per minute.

Decide whether do-it-yourself solar panels are worth the extra effort.

If you’re a homeowner, it’s not hard to see the appeal of solar panels. Whether you are conscious of your carbon emissions or your budget (or both!), installing DIY solar panels can shrink your impact on the planet and lower the monthly energy bill .

But while the DIY solar panels can be an elegant and eco-friendly option in some situations, they aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone’s energy-related issues. Below, we’ll walk you through the pros and cons of undergoing the DIY project of installing your own solar panels. And we’ll help you decide if you want to take on the task or pursue another option like a solar power purchase agreement or having solar panels installed professionally.

Costs

One of the primary appeals of any DIY project, other than the satisfaction of a job well done, is saving money. When you choose to install solar panels on your property yourself, it means that you won’t have to pay for anyone else’s expertise or labor, which typically adds a considerable amount of cost to the project.

According to research conducted by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, labor typically accounts for about 10% of the total price tag for installing solar panels. Given the average cost for installing solar panels is $18,500, that means a savings of nearly $2,000. That’s a significant amount of money to keep in your bank account.

However, there is a trade-off. If you aren’t paying someone else to do the work of installation, it means you are doing it yourself. That means a significant amount of manual labor and time spent to set up the system, which you’ll be doing on your own. You also may not be able to claim certain incentives offered to homeowners who install solar panels. Some of the tax rebates that states offer for going green require a certified company to do the installation for you. To make sure you’re actually saving money, it’s worth checking into these incentives and how much they will save you.

Installation

It is possible to do the process of installing solar panels on your own. There are solar systems designed specifically for DIYers that, while sometimes time-consuming, should be more than doable.

It’s worth noting, though, that many DIY solar panels are not designed to hook up to the traditional energy grid. They are designed more for off-grid purposes, like powering RVs or other spaces that are not typically served by a standard utility. If you are only looking to supplement your traditional energy source, DIY solar panels can get the job done. If you are looking to power your entire home with solar power, it might be better to trust an expert.

Installing a full solar energy system requires at least some knowledge of electrician work so you can properly handle the wiring and other technical aspects. You will likely have to work in relatively dangerous settings, including doing work on your roof and working with buried wires. The stakes are high for a mishap; crossed wires can result in malfunction and even electrical fires. It also may be illegal for you to do this work without a professional’s help, depending on your municipality’s zoning laws.

As always, consult a qualified professional if you have any questions about your home install project.

As mentioned, most DIY solar panel projects are not meant to replace traditional energy sources. They offer the ability to supplement power from the grid or power smaller spaces like an RV or a tiny home. But for a full-size home, a professionally installed solar system is likely best.

There are some settings that are ideal for a DIY solar project. If you have a garage or shed that requires electricity, you can go off the grid and keep it powered with solar panels. DIY solar panels often offer a bit more flexibility in size and placement, so they can be set up in an alignment that works best for you in these settings. DIY solar panels are also useful as a backup option if you were to lose power for the electrical grid, as long as you have a functional solar battery to store the generated power .

  • How to set up a small solar

How to set up a small solar

How to set up a small solar

How to set up a small solar

How to set up a small solar

Installing your DIY home solar power system is much less expensive than hiring a professional contractor to do the work. But even with today’s available incentives, the cost of a photovoltaic system is a significant investment.

What if your budget won’t accommodate a system large enough to meet all of your power needs?

Switching to solar power doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing venture. In fact, you can start out on a smaller scale and add to your DIY home solar array when your budget allows.

Using DIY Home Solar to Supply Part of Your Energy Needs

When you design your DIY solar kit or custom system, you are in control.

You don’t have to choose a large system, sized to supply all of your home’s power needs. Instead, you can opt for whatever size you can comfortably afford. Using the sun’s free energy for even part of your electricity needs will still save money.

Your home is already connected to the utility grid — that’s where your electricity comes from. When you install a DIY solar system, you don’t lose that connection. It’s there as a backup for those times that your photovoltaic panels do not produce enough energy for your home, and for nighttime electricity.

If you choose a smaller solar array, the grid power will kick in and supply the additional electricity your household needs.

Micro-Inverters Allow for Future DIY Home Solar Expansion

Your DIY solar energy system will use an inverter to convert the sun’s direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) power, the type your home uses. While a string inverter is the less expensive choice, you may want to choose micro-inverters instead, if you plan on adding future panels to your photovoltaic array.

Installing a string inverter will limit the expansion possibilities for your DIY solar array. This type of inverter converts the DC power of a string or series of photovoltaic panels, and every model has a maximum capacity. Once you reach the maximum, you can’t add more panels without replacing the inverter or buying a second one.

With micro-inverters, DIY solar expansion is easy. Each inverter is designed to convert the power of just one photovoltaic panel. So when you want to add another panel, you simply add another micro-inverter.

Additional Considerations for Expanding Your DIY Home Solar Array

If you decide to start smaller with your photovoltaic system, plan your expansion carefully. We recommend using panels of the same make and model (whenever possible) for an expansion. If yours are no longer in production, however, you can select components that will be compatible with your existing system.

Before you expand your system, be sure to check with your electrician to determine whether any modifications will be required to the wiring system. Finally, ensure that you don’t need to update your original building permit or get a new one for the expansion.

Whether you want to expand a system at your home or install your own PV array with the intent of expanding in the future, Solar GOODs is the place to go. We’re your DIY solar superstore, with everything you need to design and install your solar kit or custom system. Visit us online today to learn more about how much money you can save with a DIY home solar energy system.

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How to set up a small solar

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Solar power is one of the cornerstones of the renewable energy sector. There are many opportunities for lucrative business startups. Opportunities exist in every area of solar power, from installation and repairs to sales and service. To start a solar power business, find a niche in the industry that isn’t saturated in your area, and establish yourself as an expert when it comes to solar energy rebates, home energy needs and ability to work with utility companies.

Select a Market Niche

Do some research on the biggest needs in your area. Some solar niches are at saturation points in local markets. While some solar companies might offer more than one product or service, most focus on a niche that is underserved and that they can excel at.

Seller of solar equipment: Solar equipment is more than just the solar panels. This area covers everything from replacement batteries to solar water heater products. There is also a growing trend for personal solar items, such as backpack panels, phone chargers and other novelty items based on solar power.

Distributor: Work with manufacturers to find distribution channels for new and existing products. Become the middleman between manufacturer and installer or retail location.

Installation of products: Solar panel installation is a heavily marketed area because of the extensive rebates offered to homeowners. More than just solar panels, solar water heaters, pool heaters and ancillary solar needs are served by installation experts.

Service and maintenance: Once the products are installed, consumers must maintain them regularly to keep their systems working optimally. Maintenance includes cleaning panels, assessing battery function and checking wiring.

Required Business Licenses

Check with your state about the required licenses to install solar power. Not every state requires licensing. Some states require providers to have an electrician’s or plumber’s license or both. A growing number of states have established a solar contractor license that focuses on the duties of a solar power contractor under an electrician or plumbing category.

Start with your local building code department to see what license is required in your area.

Investigate Available Certifications

There is also a voluntary certification offered through the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and Green-e. These certifications are based on experience, training and passing an exam. The benefit to self-certification is it gives you a more professional appearance when approaching clients and helps establish standards of excellence among solar power providers.

Establish the Business Entity

Depending on the niche, you can look to buy into a franchise. Whether you buy a franchise or start independently, register the business with the secretary of state, obtain a federal tax identification number from the Internal Revenue Service, and obtain any seller’s permits or other state requirements through the local franchise tax board or state comptroller.

Obtain Business Insurance

Obtain the proper types of insurance. At minimum, you need a general liability insurance policy for the business. Most policies for contractors provide a minimum of $500,000 in general liability coverage. Review the amount of business property and inventory you keep as well, and make sure there is enough coverage for loss due to fire, theft, vandalism and other common perils.

If your company has full-time employees, you also need workers’ compensation insurance. Get commercial auto coverage for any vans, trucks and sales vehicles used for your business.

Become the Expert in Your Niche

Being the expert is more than just knowing your products inside and out. Understanding how government rebates and incentive programs work is a huge part of how solar power companies market themselves and sell services. Consumers are more likely to buy something being paid for by someone else, and if you can show them the incentives, you improve your opportunities for client acquisition.

Network with other solar power experts in your area who aren’t in your niche. Become valued resources and referral networks for each other.

To most of us, solar power still seems like a thing of the future. Yeah, we know some people live off the grid with them, and some folks can afford to line their roofs and heat their pools with them. Not most of us.

But it turns out that you can generate real, usable solar power in your very own home (or wherever), and it’ll cost you less than $300. What’s the catch? Oh, nothing. You just have to build the generator yourself.

And however am I supposed to do that, you might ask? Well, by following this handy 8 step guide from rain.org, of course.

Get ready for solar power.

Building Your Very Own Solar Power Generator in 8 Easy Steps

1. Buy Yourself a Small Solar Panel

For about $100 you should be able to get one rated at 12 volts or better (look for 16 volts) at an RV or marine supplies store or from Greenbatteries Store.

2. Buy Yourself a Battery

We recommend rechargeable batteries from these green companies: Greenbatteries Store and Batteries.com. Get any size deep cycle 12 volt lead/acid or gel battery. You need the deep cycle battery for continuous use. The kind in your car is a cranking battery—just for starting an engine. Look for bargains, the cheapest ones should cost about $50-60.

3. Get a battery box to put it in for $10.

(This is good for covering up the exposed terminals in case there are children about If you going to install the system in a pump shed, cabin, or boat, skip this.) Buy a 12 volt DC meter. Radio Shack has them for about $25.

4. Buy a DC input.

I like the triple inlet model which you can find at a car parts store in the cigarette lighter parts section for about $10. This is enough to power DC appliances, and there are many commercially available, like fans, one-pint water boilers, lights, hair dryers, baby bottle warmers, and vacuum cleaners. Many cassette players, answering machines, and other electrical appliances are DC already and with the right cable will run straight off the box.

5. Invest in an Inverter.

If you want to run AC appliances, you will have to invest in an inverter. This will convert the stored DC power in the battery into AC power for most of your household appliances. I bought a 115 volt 140 watt inverter made by Power-to-Go at Pep Boys for $50. Count up the number of watts you’ll be using (e.g., a small color television(=60 watts) with a VCR(=22 watts), you’ll need 82 watts). A variety of cheap inverters from 100 watts to 3000 watts can be had from Lane’s Professional Car Products. Type “inverters” into his search bar.

6. Attach meter and DC input.

Use a drill to attach the meter and DC input to the top of the box.

7. Use insulated Wire to Attach the Meter to the Wingnut Terminals on the Battery.

Connect the negative (-) pole first. Only handle one wire at a time. Connect the DC inlet to the battery in the same way. Connect the solar panel to the battery in the same way.

8. Close the Lid

I use a bungee cord to keep it tight. Put the solar panel in the sun. It takes 5-8 hours to charge a dead battery; 1-3 hours to top off a weak one. It will run radios, fans, and small wattage lights all night, or give you about 5 hours of continuous use at 115 volt AC, or about an hour boiling water. This system may be added on to with larger panels, inverters, and batteries.

That’s quite a project that’ll kill an idle Sunday afternoon—and power a good deal of your electrical equipment. And save you a bunch of money. Happy solar building.

How to set up a small solar

Synopsis

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Electric power is a vital necessity for a variety of domestic, commercial and industrial applications. Each of these applications demands electric power that is compatible with the applications. Traditional methods of generating electric power include hydropower, thermal power and nuclear power. These days other forms of generating electricity such as solar power and wind power are becoming popular because of the renewable nature of the primary source of energy. A popular way of providing electricity drawn from solar energy is to set up a commercial solar power plant in India.

Working of solar power plant

Typically, the working of a solar power plant comprises a bank of solar panels receiving sun’s energy which is converted into DC electric power by photovoltaic (PV) effect produced by the PV cells in the panels. This DC electric power is fed to a battery which stores the energy. This DC power is converted to AC power by means of an inverter and the AC output of the inverter feeds the mains from where various applications draw electric power.

Factors to be considered
A solar power plant setup suitable for commercial application needs to be carefully planned so as to ensure the investment made on the solar power plant is properly utilized. In order to build a commercial solar power plant the following factors should be considered:

Output Required

The first thing to be determined is the load required to run the various machinery and equipment in the commercial establishment. This is important to determine the number of solar panels required to generate the power needed at the establishment. To begin, the average daily load is to be calculated which is expressed in watts. In addition, the type of power required – single phase, three phase, AC or DC – should also be determined.

For instance, if a solar panel can produce 300 W when exposed to the sun for 1 hour then it produces 2400 W in 8 hours of sunshine. This means that this solar panel can produce 2.4 kWh per day of 8 hours sufficient to run lighting and electrical appliances in a regular Indian household. However, for commercial applications the requirement would be higher and more panels are required. If a small scale unit consumes 240 kWh of electricity every day then the solar power plant would require 100 solar panels to produce the electricity required per day.

If each panel chosen is of 77 x 39 inches size (approximately 21 sq ft) then the area required to house 100 panels would be 2100 sq ft. This could be a rooftop or a backyard. Additionally, if the weight of each solar panel is about 50 lb then this would mean that the rooftop or backyard must support about 2 tons of overall weight.

This is important because the cost of solar panels constitutes 50-60% of the total cost of the commercial solar power plant.

Battery
The electricity generated from the solar panels can be used to charge a battery/batteries attached to the system. Lead acid batteries are the most widely used batteries and are generally available in 6 V or 12 V.

Inverter

The process of solar power plant involves the generation of DC power from solar panels and this needs to be converted into AC power so that it can be used to power various machinery in a business unit. An inverter serves that purpose and more importantly, the power being supplied has to match the voltage and frequency required by the industrial unit’s machinery and equipment.

Network
In order to ensure the flow of required electric power from the solar power plant the various components need to be interconnected through adequate cables, various types of switches, fuses, protection devices and earthing cables. The output from the solar power plant can be fed into the mains of a business unit so as to provide required electric power whenever needed.

Types of solar power plants
There are three types of commercial solar power plants – on-grid, off-grid and hybrid – that can be developed to suit certain types of requirements.

The on-grid type is compatible with the AC power of the grid supply. This system supplies power directly from the solar power plant during day time and if the supply is insufficient it allows supply from the grid. This system also enables the earning of revenue by supplying excess power generated to the grid through net metering.

The off-grid system is independent of the grid supply. This is useful when grid supply is erratic or when there is no grid supply at all.

The hybrid system is a combination of off-grid and on-grid system. This offers many advantages such as acting as standby power and generating revenues when excess power is supplied to the grid.

As can be seen from the above, there are many factors to be considered to set up a commercial solar power plant in India. These factors also determine the commercial solar panels cost in India and it is imperative that all factors be considered before installing a solar power plant.

Many factors determine the commercial solar panels cost in India and it is imperative that all factors be considered before installing a solar power plant.

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  • Amorphous solar panels: With tech advancements, these can someday be integrated onto clothing items
  • Solar heating panels: Systems that reduce energy bills and enable lower carbon footprints
  • Silicon solar panels: These can become a source of free electricity
  • Thin film solar panel: Most suitable for applications with large rooftops or wide open spaces
  • Solar array: Panels that can be used for heating, power generation and lighting

Electric power is a vital necessity for a variety of domestic, commercial and industrial applications. Each of these applications demands electric power that is compatible with the applications. Traditional methods of generating electric power include hydropower, thermal power and nuclear power. These days other forms of generating electricity such as solar power and wind power are becoming popular because of the renewable nature of the primary source of energy. A popular way of providing electricity drawn from solar energy is to set up a commercial solar power plant in India.

Working of solar power plant
Typically, the working of a solar power plant comprises a bank of solar panels receiving sun’s energy which is converted into DC electric power by photovoltaic (PV) effect produced by the PV cells in the panels. This DC electric power is fed to a battery which stores the energy. This DC power is converted to AC power by means of an inverter and the AC output of the inverter feeds the mains from where various applications draw electric power.

Factors to be considered
A solar power plant setup suitable for commercial application needs to be carefully planned so as to ensure the investment made on the solar power plant is properly utilized. In order to build a commercial solar power plant the following factors should be considered:

Output Required
The first thing to be determined is the load required to run the various machinery and equipment in the commercial establishment. This is important to determine the number of solar panels required to generate the power needed at the establishment. To begin, the average daily load is to be calculated which is expressed in watts. In addition, the type of power required – single phase, three phase, AC or DC – should also be determined.

For instance, if a solar panel can produce 300 W when exposed to the sun for 1 hour then it produces 2400 W in 8 hours of sunshine. This means that this solar panel can produce 2.4 kWh per day of 8 hours sufficient to run lighting and electrical appliances in a regular Indian household. However, for commercial applications the requirement would be higher and more panels are required. If a small scale unit consumes 240 kWh of electricity every day then the solar power plant would require 100 solar panels to produce the electricity required per day.

If each panel chosen is of 77 x 39 inches size (approximately 21 sq ft) then the area required to house 100 panels would be 2100 sq ft. This could be a rooftop or a backyard. Additionally, if the weight of each solar panel is about 50 lb then this would mean that the rooftop or backyard must support about 2 tons of overall weight.

This is important because the cost of solar panels constitutes 50-60% of the total cost of the commercial solar power plant.

Battery
The electricity generated from the solar panels can be used to charge a battery/batteries attached to the system. Lead acid batteries are the most widely used batteries and are generally available in 6 V or 12 V.

Inverter
The process of solar power plant involves the generation of DC power from solar panels and this needs to be converted into AC power so that it can be used to power various machinery in a business unit. An inverter serves that purpose and more importantly, the power being supplied has to match the voltage and frequency required by the industrial unit’s machinery and equipment.

Network
In order to ensure the flow of required electric power from the solar power plant the various components need to be interconnected through adequate cables, various types of switches, fuses, protection devices and earthing cables. The output from the solar power plant can be fed into the mains of a business unit so as to provide required electric power whenever needed.

Types of solar power plants
There are three types of commercial solar power plants – on-grid, off-grid and hybrid – that can be developed to suit certain types of requirements.

The on-grid type is compatible with the AC power of the grid supply. This system supplies power directly from the solar power plant during day time and if the supply is insufficient it allows supply from the grid. This system also enables the earning of revenue by supplying excess power generated to the grid through net metering.

The off-grid system is independent of the grid supply. This is useful when grid supply is erratic or when there is no grid supply at all.

The hybrid system is a combination of off-grid and on-grid system. This offers many advantages such as acting as standby power and generating revenues when excess power is supplied to the grid.

As can be seen from the above, there are many factors to be considered to set up a commercial solar power plant in India. These factors also determine the commercial solar panels cost in India and it is imperative that all factors be considered before installing a solar power plant.

How to set up a small solar

Renewable energy increased 575% in the last 4 years in New York City, with solar panels remaining one of the leading sources New Yorkers rely on for their clean energy. Some homes can’t install solar due to roof or shade issues, thus creating a space in the market for solar farms. Solar farms are becoming popular among people in this niche who have issues installing solar or just generally dislike the look of solar panels.

Solar farms are made up of acres of solar panels leased by landowners to people who do not want, or are unable to put, solar panels on their own homes. Leasing your land for solar can potentially be a fruitful business that adds to yearly revenue if the land is receiving a lot of sunlight. However, there are several key factors to understand before jumping into a solar farm.

How to set up a small solar

Things to consider before starting a solar farm:

How Much Does Solar Installation Cost Per Acre?

Typically a solar farm has around 1 megawatt (mW) of land to power about two hundred households around the area. The cost of installing 1 mW of solar panels would run the landowner around one million dollars. However, many farms are a lot smaller and require less money to install solar. This depends on the land and location of the solar panel installation . Each case would be different depending on the project and scale the landowner would want to build at.

How Suitable is Your Land?

Land that is suitable for solar farming has many different requirements. First up is a sunny platform for the solar panels to rest on. Having flat land will allow more energy to be absorbed by the solar panels and is generally preferable – especially when the land is facing south towards the sun. The sun energy in the area can be tested with tools like PVWatts to see how much energy the land is able to produce.

Knowing The Land

If you are someone who wants to start a solar farm , get to know the area around your land. Learn where the power lines and electricals will be placed to prevent damage towards the farming capabilities of the land. Know where the access roads are to prevent damage towards other parts of the land such as drainage due to excess water going onto the fields or any other damage that can be done to your property. Also, understand what is around the area of the farm to know what other buildings may cause problems with either the solar installation or even just getting light onto the panels. As a potential future solar farm owner, understanding what may cause shade to the panels is key to successful power maximization.

Knowing Your Community

Understanding the people who live around you will give you a better understanding of who actually wants to switch to renewable resources. Being able to look into neighbors or communities that are interested in switching will give you a better idea of who wants to lease and how long people would like to lease for.

Understanding the Taxes

Solar farms are just like regular farms with different regulations and taxes. It is considered a real property once the panels have been permanently put in place. The land is taxable unless it qualifies for any exemptions. There will be a five year rollback tax period for those who use the land for agricultural purposes. There is also another exemption for a fifteen-year period towards real property taxes from the land increasing in value for certain qualifying systems. Although, after fifteen years, there can be an effect on the tax liability going forward.

Removal of the Solar Panels

Probably the most tedious part of the whole solar process is when you finally decide to take down the solar panels and consider making the land agricultural again. The removal of the solar panels should be a part of the contract with the solar company. Determine who is responsible for removing the panels and who is responsible for the cost of the panel removals in the contract. Dismantling costs should be covered early in the contract to protect the land owner from any extra costs that may be associated with the removal process.

As the trend of clean and reusable resources continues to rise and gain traction, more people will likely switch to a clean energy source. Being at the front lines of leasing energy to homeowners gives you a serious head start.

By Kasey Liu

To speak to a team member at YSG about using your land for a solar farm, call us now at 212.389.9215 or send an email .

Let’s face it, installing an off-grid solar power system to a small cabin, shed or barn can be a bit of a challenge for anyone unfamiliar with solar power.

For starters, there is the task of figuring out how and where to attach the solar panels. And then of course, figuring out everything else – from batteries, to wiring, controlling the charge and more.

One thing is for sure, we certainly qualified as rookies when it came to installing solar power to our tiny cabin at the farm. ( See : Tiny Off-Grid Cabin Project)

Other than a few small solar lighting projects, we had never tackled installing “real” solar power.

And by real power, we mean enough energy to run indoor and outdoor lighting, a coffee maker, laptops, TV, and a few other small appliances when needed.

We knew although our system wouldn’t need to be huge, it had to contain the basics:

  • Solar panels for charging
  • A battery or battery bank for storage
  • A charge controller to control the battery charge
  • Wiring / electrical panel / outlets

And we also knew it would have to be easy enough for two “solar rookies” to figure out.

As you will see below, the project actually turned out to be quite simple to install. And that includes an easy and economical way to install solar panels to a roof as well.

The Answer To Installing Off-Grid Solar Power With Ease

Assembling and wiring all of the various components of a solar system can be a complicated process for a novice. Not to mention, it can get quite expensive. Especially if you make any mistakes along the way.

For us, the ultimate answer was to use a component Kodiak/Apex solar panel & generator system from a company called Inergy.

The panels and wiring all fit and plug together with ease. And in place of using a separate controller and battery system, a single small battery/generator unit placed in the cabin handles storing and dispersing the electric.

More importantly, it eliminated the need for us to install an electrical panel and outlets in such a small space. For us, it was a huge savings in time and money.

Making it even better, the battery power pack and outlet unit is portable. Meaning, when we need to, we can easily just lift it up and take it anywhere on the farm where we might need instant remote power.

Here is a quick look at how we installed our system, including a simple and inexpensive way to install solar panels to any roof.

Installing The Solar Panels To The Roof – Without Spending A Fortune!

Any solar power application starts of course with solar panels. Without them, nothing can ever be charged or used.

We chose to use (2) 150 watt solar panels to power our system. The two panels are enough to charge our battery/generator system completely in about 8 hours of decent sunlight.

We did a lot of research before installing our panels. And honestly, the more research we did, the more confused we became.

There are so many methods and products to install panels. You can use brackets, special clamps, or even complete rail systems to install multiple panels.

One thing is for sure, most of them are incredibly expensive!

So we decided to install our panels using 2 x 4’s and a little DIY ingenuity. Although are roof is metal, this method would work for a shingled roof as well.

The Install

We first installed an aluminum “L” channel on the back of the two panels to connect them together. Each panel had an electrical connector as well that pig-tailed them together.

Using small bolts and screws, we attached it to the panel, leaving the other portion of the “L” as a cleat.

How to set up a small solar

We then installed (4) 2 x 4’s onto the roof with 3″ long galvanized roofing screws. Each 2 x 4 measured 36″ in length, just slightly shorter than the panels and the “L” cleat.

As an added precaution, we used a silicone sealer on the back of the wood to help keep any water out as the screw went into the metal roof and the studs below.

From there, we simply slipped the outside of the “L” cleat over the edge of the wood.

To complete the panel install, we ran screws through the aluminum channel into the edge of the 2 x 4’s. And just like that, our 2 solar panels were in place for a grand total of about $5 in wood!

Getting Power Inside The Cabin

From there, the rest of the solar install was a cinch!

Since the Inergy units are plug and use, we simply ran the heavy duty charging cord from the panels into the cabin.

All that was left was to plug it into the solar generator / battery pack, and we had full power!

The generator pack has 6 standard outlets, 2 USB charging ports and even a 30 amp outlet. And it has worked beautifully in the cabin.

We use it nightly to power our outside lights, and we have used it inside for everything from lights to making coffee. It has even helped to create an instant pot dinner in the cabin with ease!

Here is to a little off-grid cabin living! Jim and Mary

How to set up a small solar

How much does it cost to build a solar farm?

Renewable energy is expected to account for more than half of global electricity by 2035, with solar power playing a leading role.

From ground-mount solar developments, to rooftop solar schemes and the emerging area of floating solar PV, solar is the third biggest renewable power source in the world, with more than 570GW installed capacity by the end of 2019.

In the UK, solar farms are now a familiar sight. There continues to be a constant flow of new planning applications, with new sites totalling 2.6GW being added to the pipeline in the first six months of 2020 alone.

So, what considerations need to be made when developing a solar farm, what might a project of this nature cost and how might one be funded?

What is a solar farm?

Solar farms – also referred to as utility-scale or grid-scale solar pv plants – comprise of rows of solar panels that are placed on special frames and fixed within the ground. In the UK, they will typically cover an area ranging in size from 1acre to 100+ acres. However, in countries including China, India and the US, they’ve been known to reach sizes of more than 13,000 acres.

The ideal location to build a solar farm is on land that is flat, or on a south-facing slope. Due to their scale, the clean electricity generated by a solar farm will usually be fed back into the local electricity grid, so suitable sites will also need to have a grid connection. Being in close proximity to overhead cables and a substation is usually a good indicator that a connection application may be successful.

For every 5MW of capacity installed, a solar farm will typically produce enough energy to power more than 1,350 homes, while saving 1,200 tonnes of carbon annually – based on an average annual consumption of 3,600 kWh of electricity per home. Around 20 acres of land is usually required for every 5MW of capacity installed.

How to set up a small solarWhy are solar farms so popular?

Solar installations are silent to run, unobtrusive and require little maintenance. Along with advances that have been made in the technology itself and the flexibility of its application, a key factor behind the strong growth of the solar market is cost – prices having plummeted by around 82% since 2010.

In the case of farms and agricultural holdings, solar farms provide a number of additional advantages. The land used for a solar farm can continue to be used for the grazing of small livestock and can easily be converted back to its original form in the future.

The capabilities of specialist operations and maintenance services have also increased. Such services can be used to monitor the performance of solar assets, and as well as acting reactively to rectify any dips in output, will carry out proactive and predictive maintenance that can help enhance performance and return on investment.

The use of energy storage technology, such as battery storage units, which can be co-located alongside solar farm developments is also helping increase their efficiency. Battery storage units can store green power, releasing it when it is most needed. This ensures that as much renewable energy as possible is being captured and used. They can also open the door to new revenue streams by helping National Grid to balance supply and demand.

Funding a solar farm

Every project is different and the overall cost of an individual solar farm will be influenced by a number of factors, including:

  • Size/capacity of the site
  • Location
  • The solar technology and other components used
  • Whether there’s an existing grid connection
  • EPC contractor used
  • Type of Operations & Maintenance contract put in place
  • Ongoing security measures implemented

With other variables also impacting on the cost, including events such as COVID-19, it is very difficult to provide a general guide to the potential development costs with any real accuracy. If you are considering using land for a solar farm, it is best to speak to an experienced developer who can assess your requirements and the best potential use of the land available.

The three main funding routes are:

  1. Self-funded

Landowners with sufficient capital available may choose to self-fund a project and would receive the full benefit of the technologies installed and any revenue generated.

Many energy companies operate Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for generators who meet certain installed capacity thresholds. These are perfect for generators and also ‘prosumers’ who are both a generator and consumer, as they allow the sale of any electricity that isn’t used.

  1. Part-funded

Another funding option is a partially funded model, whereby an agreement is drawn up with a developer for how the costs, revenues and other benefits will be split. This is not such a common approach with landowners, but it is a possibility for certain landowners interested in having a stake in the development.

  1. Land lease

The most popular option for landowners is to lease land to a developer in return for a guaranteed long-term rental income. At Anesco, for example, we offer competitive rental payments, which are also RPI linked. This reduces risk while guaranteeing the landowner an income stream for the term of the agreement. In some instances, a further payment linked to site revenue may also be available.

Rental income is usually inflation-linked, with many developers looking to secure agreements of up to 40 years, or potentially longer. Developers may also want rights to install battery storage alongside the solar array, either from the outset, or a later date, so this should be factored into discussions about rental payments.

Large-scale solar power on the rise

The number of solar farms under development in Australia has exploded in recent years. After several years of market and policy uncertainty and with costs coming down, solar farm developers and investors are now feeling confident about the prospects of medium and large-scale solar power.

Solar farms are distinguished from standard commercial solar installations in their size, location and purpose; solar farms are generally in the megawatt-scale (as opposed to kilowatt-scale), are ground-mounted as opposed to roof mounted, and will either be built to sell energy into the grid or to a designated purchaser – usually heavy energy user or electricity retailer.

Solar Choice has developed or is currently developing of a number of solar farms ranging in size from 2 megawatts to 200 megawatts throughout Australia, including the Mount Majura Solar Farm in the ACT and the 2GW Bulli Creek Solar Farm in Queensland.

NexTracker single-axis tracker at Mount Majura Solar Farm.

Solar farm rental incomes vs owning the solar farm

For landowners, most straightforward way to benefit from a solar farm is a long-term rental payment for use of their land. Because developing, paying for and maintaining a solar farm out of your own pocket may be expensive and the risks involved potentially quite high, it is generally better to leave this part of the process to an experienced developer.

For those intent on paying for and owning the solar farm themselves, it’s important to consider who will purchase the energy generated. There are essentially three options:

  • You will consume the energy directly yourself. This is really only an option if you have heavy daytime electricity loads, e.g. on an industrial farm or other large facility.
  • You will have a power purchase agreement (PPA) with another entity. In this case, you will have reached an agreement with a large energy consumer or electricity retailer to purchase the energy that your solar farm produces at a predetermined rate. PPAs generally require time, skill and experience to negotiate successfully.
  • You will sell the energy into the grid / on the National Electricity Market (NEM). If the site of your proposed solar farm is on the east coast of Australia or part of one of the other, smaller grids throughout the country you may consider simply building the farm and trying your luck with revenues on the open or regulated market. This approach is the riskiest of the three, as wholesale electricity markets can be volatile and unpredictable.

Solar farms: What else do you need to consider?

Circumstances vary from region to region and from property to property. If you are interested in owning and running a solar farm, Solar Choice can offer you professional consultancy and management advice on your project.

You can register your interest with us by filling out this form.

We sell a range of DIY Solar Power Systems suitable for camping, cabins or week-enders, or energy conscious Spartans.

These systems are designed to be easy on the budget and are not meant to run air conditioners or similar. To get an idea what you can run on these systems please read the DIY Solar System information pages and fill in the corresponding appliance form to find out whether or not a DIY Solar Kit will suit your needs.

All systems include at least one solar panel, solar battery charge regulator, deep cycle battery, fuses, breakers, sockets & cables. Some even come with battery enclosure. Our systems are “plug n play” – no technician required!

How to set up a small solar

How to set up a small solar

How to set up a small solar

How to set up a small solar

How to set up a small solar

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Rainbow Power Company Ltd

We install solar systems in Northern NSW and Southern QLD.

QLD:
Gold Coast (from Coolangatta to Southport), Nerang and Hinterland (Beaudesert) and out West (Warwick, Stanthorpe, Killarney)

NSW:
Northern NSW (Tweed Heads to Iluka, including Evans Head, Byron Bay and Ballina); the Far North Coast Hinterland (Yamba via Lismore to Murwillumbah) and out West (Casino to Tenterfield, including Drake and Tabulam, as well as Woodenbong and Bonalbo)

We also have sales agents in
Grafton:contact Andy Wilkinson directly on 0409 508 144, and
Tenterfield:contact Diamond J Legend directly on 0425 769 444.

There are two ways you can recoup some of the costs of setting up and maintaining your rooftop solar and battery system. The first way is through government rebates, which can contribute to the cost of purchasing and setting up your system, depending on where you live and what programs are available. Once you have your system installed, the second way is by selling some of the electricity you generate back into the grid, which is called a feed-in tariff.

Government rebates

There are federal and state rebates available for rooftop solar and battery storage which can significantly reduce the cost of purchasing and installing a solar system.

We have compiled a list of the major schemes operating in Australia but there may be more rebates available to you. You can search for federal and state government rebates on the Federal Government’s energy rebates webpage.

Generally, when you receive a quote for a solar or battery storage system, the retailer will show any rebate amount that you are receiving.

National

The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) provides a financial incentive for individuals and businesses to install small-scale renewable energy systems such as rooftop solar, solar water heaters and heat pumps. This occurs in the form of small-scale technology certificates (STCs), which are issued up front for a system’s expected power generation (based on its installation date and geographical location) until the SRES expires in 2030.

The price of STCs changes according to market conditions. The total level of subsidy you receive will depend on several factors, including the location and size of the solar system and the price of STCs at the time the system was installed.

More comprehensive information about how STCs are calculated and what you can expect in return is contained in our Guide to Installing Solar for Households and via the Clean Energy Regulator.

The Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) is also run by the Federal Government and intended for generating large-scale renewable energy in the form of power stations. More information on the LRET can be found on the Clean Energy Regulator’s website.

Australian Capital Territory

The ACT Government has committed to subsidising up to 5000 battery storage systems in ACT homes and businesses. More information can be found through the link below.

Queensland

The Queensland Government provides interest-free loans and grants for solar systems and battery storage to eligible home owners and small businesses. More information can be found through the link below.

South Australia

The South Australian Government provides a subsidy for the cost of battery storage and low interest finance. More information can be found through the link below.

Victoria

The Victorian Government will subsidise the cost of installing solar and battery storage from 1 July 2019. More information can be found through the below links.

Feed-in tariffs

A feed-in tariff is the rate you are paid for any electricity generated by your rooftop solar system that is fed back into the grid.

Feed-in tariffs are generally available for residential systems and do not necessarily extend to commercial customers. However, in most cases, commercial customers should be able to negotiate a rate with their electricity retailer.

Almost all feed-in tariffs offered now are ‘net’ feed-in tariffs. This means that the electricity produced by your solar panels will be used in your home first, and you will only be paid for excess electricity that is exported to the grid.

Feed-in tariffs differ from state to state and from retailer to retailer. In some states the government regulates a minimum rate, and in other states it is up to you to negotiate a deal with your electricity retailer.

There is no government-regulated minimum retailer payment in New South Wales or southeast Queensland. It is worth shopping around to find out which electricity retailers offer the best rates for solar customers.

Questions to ask your electricity retailer

  • What price will they pay you for exported electricity (in cents per kWh)?
  • What is the cost of the electricity you purchase from your retailer (in cents per kWh), and will you lose your off-peak rates once you install solar?
  • Will you be charged a higher daily fixed charge if you install solar?
  • How will you be paid for electricity you produce? Will you receive cash or a credit on your electricity bill?
  • Are there any penalty clauses (termination costs) or other administration fees?
  • Will your metering need to be upgraded so you can receive the feed-in tariff, and are there any costs involved?
  • How often will excess energy be calculated (e.g. instantaneously, daily or quarterly)?

For more information on feed-in tariffs, you can visit the website of your relevant state government body by using these links:

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Did you know over 27% of Australia’s electricity generation now comes from renewable energy

India is on the cusp of a solar revolution and we at Tata Power Solar have been right at the forefront, leading the move towards sustainable energy solutions.

Investing in rooftop solutions leads to great savings, while protecting the environment. Tata Power Solar offers solar rooftop for home. Save and Earn from your idle rooftop space.

Calculate the power generation and know Your Savings on the electricity bill – Tata Solar Mate

Together with our partners, we offer a variety of financing options
for our residential customers.

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Tata Power Solar has devised NOC as a tool to provide value added services to customers.

Fuel your devices with the power of the sun.

By Natalie Wallington | Updated Mar 23, 2022 8:32 AM

How to set up a small solar

Working from your living room couch may be more enjoyable than a stuffy cubicle, but both setups can keep you feeling tethered to a power outlet. Luckily, there’s an easy way to cut that cord and move your workspace outdoors—without worrying about charging battery packs ahead of time.

Portable solar panels are gaining popularity as folks look for a simple, sustainable way to juice up their devices while off the grid. Whether you’re a hardcore backpacker heading deep into the wilderness or a sunbather hoping to get some work done in your local park, there’s a personal solar panel out there suited to your needs.

Why buy a portable solar panel?

When you think of solar panels, you probably imagine a vast field of shiny black slabs angled toward the sun. The portable versions of those stationary arrays employ the exact same energy-capturing technology, just bundled within lightweight, compact designs. This makes them ideal for a variety of uses, from powering a recreational vehicle to charging your electronics on the go.

Portable solar panels are also a great way to familiarize yourself with renewable energy. While you may not be ready to install a solar roof on your house, charging a phone or laptop with a small panel can help you gauge the light levels in your area and see how well solar power may be able to meet your needs.

Factors to keep in mind

Even though most portable solar panels are easy to set up and simple to use, there’s always a lot to consider when investing in a new piece of technology. We’ve gathered what we think are the most important factors to think about before you start powering up in the great outdoors.

Wattage

Start by figuring out how much electricity you need. Some personal panels are available in a number of different wattages—a measure of pure electrical power. For example, the Goal Zero Boulder Briefcase, a panel that folds into a compact rectangle with handles for easy portability, is available in 50-watt, 100-watt, and 200-watt varieties. The designs with higher wattages are larger and more expensive, so the best panel for you will depend on what electronics you’re hoping to power. Make sure you read our guide on how to properly charge devices when you’re done here.

Lower-wattage panels won’t prove useless in your mission to stray away from traditional energy sources, but they may charge your devices more slowly than you’re used to. For best results, take a look at your device’s specifications and figure how much power their charging cables allow in. This can help prevent you from buying a panel with a wattage that exceeds your devices’ limits.

Power storage options

Many portable panels come with the necessary cables and batteries you’ll need to store electricity for later. A power bank is especially helpful if you hope to use solar energy when there’s no sun: illuminating a campsite at nighttime, charging your phone during a thunderstorm, or keeping your laptop running on a cloudy afternoon are all good examples. If you want to stock up on solar power, consider purchasing a kit that includes the necessary batteries, converters, and cables.

It’s also possible to skip the accessories and use your solar power instantly. Many portable panels have USB ports that allow you to charge your electronics directly. A small, lightweight option may be all you need to keep your phone or laptop running on a sunny day. Foregoing batteries and cables can also help keep the cost of your solar setup low.

Portability

The size, weight, and design of your personal solar panel will all determine its portability. If you’re planning to drive to a sunny field to get some work done, a heavier and more bulky panel might be fine: you can keep it in your car until you reach your destination, so its size and weight won’t be an issue. On the other hand, backpackers and hikers should choose small, lightweight panels that won’t become a burden on long outdoor treks. Before you buy, make sure you check a panel’s weight and dimensions, as well as those of all its accessories.

Weather resistance

While most solar panels are at least somewhat weather-resistant, not all of them are truly waterproof. The last thing you want is to ruin your brand-new gadget and be stuck without electricity simply because it wasn’t designed to withstand the elements. Depending on the intensity of your outdoor excursions and the weather in your area, make a point to determine your panel’s hardiness before you buy.

Price

The last factor to consider is how much money you’re willing to spend on your new portable solar panel. It’s unlikely that such a small panel will ever pay for itself through the electricity it produces, but the freedom and access to the outdoors it can provide you is inherently valuable.

Price will vary depending on your panel’s power output, energy storage components, and overall bulk. It’s possible to find small power packs with solar components in the $20 to $30 range, but a larger (and more powerful) panel can cost as much as a few hundred dollars. No matter your needs, there’s a panel out there that can help you venture off the beaten path.

How to set up a small solar

Natalie Wallington is a contributing writer for PopSci’s DIY section. Her reporting on social and environmental justice has appeared in the Washington Post, Audubon Magazine, VICE News, and elsewhere. In her spare time, she collects stationery and naps on the couch with her retired racing greyhound. Visit her website to see more of her work.

How to set up your solar panel connection

When it comes to solar panel connection, there are a few ways you can connect multiple 4WD solar panels . You can use a parallel or series connection, or a combination of the two.

The diagram below illustrates how to wire solar panels in series or parallel.

Series

Wiring multiple solar panels in series means you are wiring each panel to the next. This solar panel connection creates a string circuit. The wire that runs from the solar panel’s negative terminal is connected to the next panel’s positive terminal, and so on. Connecting in series is one of the easiest ways to connect your solar power systems.

Connecting two fixed solar panels in this way (same wattage) will multiply the system voltage by 2 and keep the output current at the same level.

Parallel

Connecting solar panels in parallel is a slightly different process. All of the positive terminals of the solar panels are connected together, and all of the negative terminals of the solar panels are connected together. It’s similar to when you jump-start a car – positive to positive, and negative to negative.

Connecting two portable solar panels , or any other type of solar panel, (same wattage) in parallel will multiply the total power output current by 2 and keep the system voltage at the same level.

Parallel solar panel connections should be made using ‘Y’ connectors available at REDARC. To have a complete and efficient system, it’s also wise to incorporate a solar regulator into your solar energy set up.

How to set up a small solar

6 steps to Off-grid Solar

Are you interested in designing an off-grid solar system? Here are the 6 steps to get you started.

#1) Figure out how much power you need

This is the most important step, and many people try to skip over it. Don’t!

Planning a solar system without knowing how much power you need is like planning a car trip and not knowing how far you are going, and in what vehicle. Ok, now go buy gas for the trip. How much? Well, that depends on your distance and gas mileage. Same with solar. You can’t just say I’m going to by 2 solar panels and a battery and hope it will be enough for my needs. Use our load calculator and enter what you will be powering with your solar power system. You’ve got to remember absolutely everything that will be powered by your system – seemingly little changes can make a big difference.

#2 Calculate the amount of batteries you need

Now that you know how much power you need, you need to figure out how many batteries you need to store it.

  • Do you need only enough storage for a day or two or do you need to have enough batteries to store 3 or 4 days, or more, worth of power?
  • Do you have another power source, like a generator or turbine, that will kick in if the sun doesn’t shine?
  • Will you be storing the batteries in a warm room or will they be in a cold location?

Batteries are rated for storage at around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The colder the room, the bigger the battery bank you need – by over 50% more for below freezing. Each of these answers affects the size, and cost, of your battery bank.

What voltage battery bank do you need – 12V, 24V, or 48V? Generally, the larger the system, the higher voltage battery banks are used to keep the number of parallel strings to a minimum and reduce the amount of current between the battery bank and the inverter. If you are just having a small system, and want to be able to charge your cell phone and power 12V DC appliances in your RV, then a basic 12V battery bank makes sense. But if you need to power much over 2000 watts at a time, you’ll want to consider 24 volt and 48 volt systems. Besides reducing how many parallel strings of batteries you’ll have, it’ll allow you to use thinner and less expensive copper cabling between the batteries and the inverter.

Use our off-grid calculator to calculate what size battery bank you need based on these answers.

#3 Calculate the number of solar panels needed for your location and time of year

The second half of our off-grid calculator can help you figure out how many solar panels you’ll need for your solar system. After knowing how much energy you need to make per day from the load calculator, you’ll need to tell it how much sunshine you’ll have to harvest from. This available energy from the sun for a location is referred to as “sun hours.”

The number of “sun hours” is how many hours the available sun shining on your panels at an angle throughout the day equals sunlight, as if it were shining directly on your solar panels when they get the most power. As you know, the sun isn’t as bright at 8AM as it is at noon, so an hour of morning sun may be counted as half an hour, where the hour from noon to 1PM would be a full hour. And unless you live near the equator, you do not have the same number of hours of sunlight in the winter as you do in the summer.

You want to take the worst case scenario for your area, the season with the least amount of sunshine that you will be using the system. That way, you do not end up short on solar energy for part of the year. If it’s a summer camp, you don’t need to plan for winter, but if it is a year-round home, or a hunting cabin, you need to tell it the number of sun hours that correspond to winter.

#4 Select a solar charge controller

Alright, so we have batteries and we have solar, now we need a way to manage putting the power from the solar into the batteries. An extremely rough calculation to figure out what size solar charge controller you need is to take the watts from the solar, and divide it by the battery bank voltage. Add another 25% for a safety factor.

Now there’s a bit more to consider with selecting the charge controller. Charge controllers are available with two major types of technologies, PWM and MPPT. In short, if the voltage of the solar panel array matches the voltage of the battery bank, you can use a PWM charge controller. So, if you have a 12V panel and a 12V battery bank, you can use PWM. If your solar panel voltage is different than the battery bank, and can’t be wired in series to make it match, you need to use an MPPT charge controller. If you have a 20V solar panel and you have a 12V battery bank, you need to use MPPT charge controller.

#5 Select an inverter

Now that we have efficiently charged batteries, we need to make the power usable. If you are only running DC loads straight off your battery bank, you can skip this step. But, if you are powering any AC loads, you need to convert the direct current from the batteries into alternating current for your appliances. It is very important to know what type of AC power you need. If you are in North America, the standard is 120/240V split phase, 60Hz. In Europe and much of Africa and some countries in South America, it is 230V single 50Hz. In some islands, it is an interesting mixture of both. Some inverters are configurable between voltages and/or frequencies, many are fixed. So check the specs carefully of the inverter you are interested in to make sure it matches your needs.

If you do have the North American standard, you must figure out if you have any appliances that use 240V, or if they are all just 120V. Some inverters are able to put out 240V, and you can wire the output to use either 120V or 240V. Other inverters are stackable, each one outputting 120V, but when wired together, or stacked, can create 240V. And others are only capable of outputting 120V, and cannot be stacked. Again, read the specs to determine which inverter is right for you.

You also need to know how many watts total your inverter will need to power. Luckily, way back in step one, you created a loads list that figured out both the constant watts and surge requirements of your loads. Please note that an inverter is designed for a specific voltage battery bank, like 12, 24 or 48 volt, so you need to know what voltage battery bank you are going to have before you settle on the inverter. Keep this in mind if you think you may be growing your system in the future. If you plan on having a higher voltage battery bank later, be aware that the lower voltage inverter won’t work in the new bigger system. So either plan ahead and go with the higher voltage to begin with, or plan on changing out your inverter in the future.

#6 Balance of system

OK, we’re kind of cheating by lumping everything else into one final step for balance of system, but there are a lot of other little components needed, including:

  • the fuses and breakers for over current protection
  • what breaker boxes will be used
  • how you are going to mount the solar panels
  • what size wire you will need

Once you’ve gone through these 6 steps, you’ll be off and running to designing your own DIY off-grid solar system.

Updated: August 28, 2019

OFA supports solar power on buildings, in fencerows or in small plots of land, or in otherwise vacant areas such as hydro corridors. Although solar power is costly, rates can be reasonable once the project is amortized, and small scale solar is quiet and unobtrusive.

However large scale solar on good farmland is not suited to Ontario. OFA believes solar development will cause erosion, bake the soil, disrupt carbon and nitrogen fixing, create habitat for weeds, and destroy habitat for many native creatures that share farmland. Large scale solar on good farmland will not produce any more power than if it were located on rooftops or rocks and it will reduce farm production needlessly. OFA policy is to protect good farmland rather than using it for solar.

Small Projects

Ontario’s microFIT solar projects are less than 10 kW in capacity and can supplement farm income by about $12,500 a year. Costs are in the same range as other farm investments, so it is relatively easy and very useful to compare an investment in small solar with other potential farm investments.

For microFIT solar, Ontario pays 80.2 cents a kWh for rooftop solar and 64.2 cents for ground mounted solar. The units require approximately 25 meters by eight meters on the ground and slightly less on a roof. Panels can be fixed or mounted to track the sun. If fixed the panels should face within 25 degrees of south. A bias to the east will produce more power in the morning and more power overall as the panels work better in the cool of morning than in heat later in the day.

Installation

Ontario has many solar suppliers. Some have been in business 30 years, others a few months. Choose a vendor who has been in business 10 or more years and has experience as an electrical contractor. Be sure to also buy components with at least a 10-year guarantee.

Durable panels are essential. They may take slightly more space, but the panels have to last, or they will not be producing 10 years out when the owner hopes to be earning profits. The owner can pay cash or borrow. Either approach works well:

  • Ground mounted installations cost approximately $65,000 to $85,000.
  • Roof mounted units cost $75,000 to $95,000.

A land owner could also lease the site to a solar developer. If you lease out a roof area you will be obligated to maintain the roof for the full 20-year period. Many leases also obligate the land owner to provide site security. Annual rents are typically $200 to $500 per year.

Place the panels so they add to or at least do not detract from the appearance of your property. If the appearance is a problem, they may add $12,500 a year to your income, but subtract $75,000 from your property value.

Taxes and Insurance

Property tax will vary by county but is unlikely to be more than $400 a year. For income tax, solar panel income is not farm income and cannot be used to offset farm losses. The panels enjoy a beneficial capital cost treatment and the income can be shared, put into RRSPs, RESPs or Tax-Free Savings Accounts.

Insurance is very useful to cover hail, wind, lightening, vehicle contact accidents, fire and vandalism. Ground mounted systems should have posts in place to stop trucks or tractors from hitting the panels. The panels also produce potentially lethal amounts of power whenever the sun shines. Emergency personnel should be advised of this with a warning notice.

A microFIT solar project can be an excellent supplement to farm or retirement income. It may or may not pay as well as other investments in your farm, so the alternatives should be compared. If you do opt to go ahead with a solar project, the key decision is the choice or vendor/installer. Choose a reliable firm that has been in business ten plus years and has strong capabilities as an electrical contracting group.

In February 2011, Ontario Hydro notified 1,500 microFIT solar project applicants that connection would not be possible. To avoid disappointment, do not spend any money on the project until the conditional offer has been upgraded to a final offer.

For more information on small scale solar options, contact your local Member Service Representative or OFA’s Guelph office.

Small-scale solar installations have been an important innovation to bring electricity to remote areas. Despite their rather low capacity, small solar plants offer several use cases and benefits: powering lights, charging smartphones or powering appliances such as water pumps which can help farmers irrigate their fields more easily. While these systems represent a large investment for most users, financing is increasingly possible using a pay-as-you-go (PAYGo) model, which involves making regular payments to a PAYGo company that rents or sells small solar installations. Customers either lease a solar panel and make payments until they own it or they regularly pay an installment based on their usage , thus making electricity more accessible to more low-income consumers.

However, small solar installations face many risks which jeopardize their ability to provide a continuous energy supply. Unexpected expenses or loss of income can harm a farmer’s ability to keep up with the PAYGo installments and keep the lights on. A powerful storm can damage a solar-powered water pump. A destroyed pump is not only a lost investment but may also lead to a reduced harvest income. So what insurance solutions are available as financial protection mechanisms against these risks?

Direct and indirect insurance solutions

While insurers offer coverage for larger plants, there are few solutions for smaller plants and their associated risks. Those that do exist can be divided into direct and indirect insurance solutions (see figure). Direct insurance solutions cover the solar installation itself. Indirect insurance solutions cover another step in the solar power supply chain.

How to set up a small solar

Direct insurance coverage is pretty straightforward. Solar panels and solar-powered equipment such as water pumps can be damaged by vandalism, theft or weather, such as a heavy storm or hail, and should thus be insured against those risks. South African insurer, Santam, offers a solution for insuring solar installations against the risk of weather-related damages. Their regular agricultural insurance cover was expanded to include solar panels, under the rationale that solar panels are as much an agricultural input as seeds or crops.

Indirect coverage to insure against customer defaults

But damage to installations is not the only reason small-scale solar panel owners lose access to electricity. Those customers who are signed up with a PAYGo model must keep making regular payments in order to keep the lights on. Unfortunately, payment defaults or late payments are a common challenge for PAYGo companies. Standard procedure in the event of payment default is for the PAYGo company to remove the solar panel from the customer’s premises. However, in remote locations, this procedure is often too costly. In addition, PAYGo companies are often critical intermediaries for providing energy access to off-grid communities and taking that access away should be a very last resort.

Thus, there is a need for other indirect insurance solutions which can help PAYGo companies avoid taking that last resort of removing their customers’ energy access. Understanding the factors behind customer default is necessary to determine the best solutions. PAYGo companies as well as insurers have identified two main reasons leading to defaults: an unexpected illness with high hospitalization costs or crop losses and low yields .

Innovative solutions help with unexpected medical costs and crop losses

Free or affordable health insurance offered as an add-on for PAYGo customers who pay their installments on time is one solution which helps customers with unexpected medical expenses. For example, PEG Africa, a PAYGo solar provider in West Africa, partnered with insurance provider BIMA to set up an insurance product combined with a PAYGo model. The PAYGo company has found that the health insurance functions as an incentive for paying installments on time, thus improving the repayment rate.

Another solution involves using agricultural crop insurance to cover a PAYGo company’s loan portfolio, given that PAYGo companies are affected by extreme weather conditions in a similar way to farmers since most of their customers are farmers. Agricultural insuretech company Pula has recently piloted this concept in Zambia. In the event of an adverse weather event, the insurance would pay out a benefit to the PAYGo company, providing support to offset loan defaults. This type of solution could also enable investors to offer lower interest rates to PAYGo companies.

Improving access to electricity in remote areas

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how quickly unexpected medical costs can add up and devastate people’s financial situations, especially in low-income communities. Climate change and the increasing frequency of associated extreme weather events make damage to crops and solar facilities more likely in the future. The insurance solutions described here, be they direct or indirect, can help counteract these challenges. By de-risking solar panel financing, innovative insurance products can improve access to renewable energy and help keep the lights on for remote communities.

Feb. 1 2021, Published 4:49 p.m. ET

If you live in an apartment, your household energy consumption is probably a lot lower than that of someone who lives in a house. But still, we don’t blame any apartment dwellers who occasionally feel jealous of people whose houses are outfitted with shiny solar panels, sending a message to all the neighbors that they live in the most eco-friendly house on the block.

Installing solar panels in an apartment may not be as straightforward as doing so for a house — but is it possible? Are there solar panels for apartments?

How to set up a small solar

Yes, you can install solar panels in your apartment.

There are several companies that sell solar panels for apartments; however, powering your entire apartment on solar energy may be a lofty task.

Keep reading for a few awesome, apartment-friendly solar panel solutions, as well as a few other ideas for getting your apartment building or office building to run on renewable energy.

Grouphug’s Window Solar Charger

NYC-based company, Grouphug, sells a bamboo-framed Window Solar Charger, which you can simply hang in your window using an included suction hook. The small solar panels will absorb the sun’s energy, and you can directly plug any USB charger into it, whether it’s for your cell phone, smart watch, AirPods, or bluetooth speakers; the company also sells a tiny USB-C adapter for $3, which would allow you to charge a MacBook.

Grouphug’s Window Solar Charger goes for $149, but is on sale for $134 at time of publication. Plus, the product was featured on Shark Tank.

SolarGaps

SolarGaps makes smart solar blinds outfitted with solar panels, which are installed on the outside of your windows. The panels absorb energy from the sun, and work to generate electricity, offset energy consumption, block heat energy from entering the building through the windows, keep the building cool, and therefore reduce air conditioning use (and costs). SolarGaps says installing these smart blinds can help you save up to 30 percent on your electricity bills.

You can get SolarGaps blinds installed in either your apartment or office — prices vary due to the custom nature of the blinds, so fill out this form to get a quote.

Yolk’s Solar Paper or Solarade

Yolk’s Solar Paper is a paper-thin, lightweight, portable solar power charger that’s small enough to store inside a notebook. Just place it flat in the sun (or hang it in your window) and plug your phone into the USB slot, and a dead phone will become fully charged in 2.5 hours — but it can charge even faster if you purchase and attach additional Solar Paper panels. Prices start at $148.

Yolk also makes Solarade, the world’s smallest solar charger, which can charge your devices as quickly as a wall charger. The Solarade goes for $96.

Build your own windowsill solar panel with Amazon parts.

For $211, you can buy all the component parts needed to build a 100-watt windowsill solar panel off of Amazon. A detailed blog post by Hacker Noon explains how you can do this yourself, though the blogger notes that it will take about 8.5 years to get financial payback.

Talk to your building manager about switching to solar energy.

How to set up a small solar

If you live or work in an apartment or office building, you might consider speaking with your building manager or landlord about switching your building to solar power. If they can afford the initial investment, there are so many benefits to installing solar panels for your entire building. According to solar power company Intermountain Wind & Solar, doing so can: help your entire building save on energy costs; result in the generation of surplus energy, which your building manager can then sell to the local energy company; and increase property value and therefore draw in new potential residents.

So you’d like to start enjoying greater energy independence and lower utility bills, and you’re ready to start reaching out to solar providers to get answers to your questions. You may be wondering “How long does it take to install solar panels?” or “How fast can I get solar installed on my roof?”

Homeowners throughout Massachusetts often ask us these types of questions, and we’re pleased to share the details of what they can expect with the installation of their residential solar PV system, from start to finish.

How the Solar Installation Process Works

The solar installation process involves a few key steps to ensure your solar PV system is perfectly suited for your home and properly filed with your town. The period between our initial meeting and installation is typically between 90 and 120 days; however, that time frame could be as short as 30 – 45 days depending on your town’s permit process.

With Boston Solar, we don’t use any subcontractors and our whole solar team is vertically integrated, meaning from the first call to turning on your system, you’ll be with the team here at Boston Solar. This also helps streamline the process for you!

1. Meeting with Boston Solar and Signing a Contract

Our process starts when we schedule a time for one of our in-house solar experts to meet with you at your home. During our initial meeting, we’ll discuss the benefits of renewable solar energy as well as your goals for going solar. Then, during a follow-up visit, we’ll talk about the optimal system options for your home, pricing, and financing options before you sign a contract.

2. Design & Engineering (30-45 days)

Once you sign your contract, one of our experienced solar technicians will visit your home to fine-tune the details of your solar energy system design. We’ll make sure your system is perfectly suited for your home and order the materials needed for installation. This process typically takes 30 to 45 days.

3. Permits & Materials (30-40 days)

Once your system design is confirmed, your dedicated Customer Experience Coordinator will pull all necessary permits for your solar installation. This typically takes 30 to 40 days or less, depending on your town. We’ll keep you updated throughout this process.

4. Solar Panel Installation (1-5 days)

When your town approves the permits for your system, your coordinator will call to schedule your installation. The installation process itself usually takes only one to three days and is completed by a highly skilled team of in-house installers.

5. Inspections & Commissioning (15 to 30 days)

After your solar panels have been installed, our team will conduct a quality control review and attend all inspections by your local building department. After inspections, your local utility will swap out your electrical meter and give permission to operate (PTO). Then, your coordinator will schedule a time for our Solar Commissioner to test and turn on your system. The inspections and commissioning process typically takes 15 to 30 days.

How to set up a small solar

Install Solar in 2019 for Greater Financial Benefits

Because the solar installation timeline can cover a period of a few months, it’s important to plan ahead if you’re looking to go solar soon. This year is an especially advantageous time to start the solar installation process, as there are still a number of financial incentives in place.

. but not for long! While the 30% Federal Solar Tax Credit is still in place in 2019, it will drop to 26% after this year — and then disappear by 2022. Meanwhile, there is still time this year to qualify for statewide SMART incentives; but with those incentives being offered on a first come, first served basis, time is running out to claim them as well.

Learn More About Installing Solar with Boston Solar

The sooner you start the solar installation process, the sooner you can start enjoying benefits like reduced electricity bills, increased energy independence, and protection from rising energy costs. If you’re considering solar and want to learn more about what to expect, get in touch with Boston Solar. We’re proud to help homeowners from Central Mass to the greater Boston area, from the North Shore down to the South Shore, harness the benefits of clean solar power. With over 3,800 installations and counting, we’re prepared to answer your questions and help you navigate a seamless solar installation process.

Considering solar for your home in Massachusetts? Call 617-858-1645 or contact us today to get a free quote!

How to set up a small solar

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Solar Power Project Scheme

To establish solar photovoltaic power plants both grid connected and off‑grid solar power plant, either on roof top or over land for captive consumption of entire power generated by the solar power plant by existing units. To establish 1 MW and above capacity solar photovoltaic power plants over land, for full or part sale of power to TANGEDCO after consumption of power for own requirement, by existing/new units.

Financial assistance can be considered for

  • Site development cost like leveling, approach road formation etc.
  • Civil works like fencing, construction of stores/warehouse, substation, control room etc.
  • Purchase & installation of Plant & machinery like solar PV modules, trackers, power conditioning system including inverters, switch yard equipments, transformers, internal cabling and earthing, control and instrumentation panels etc. on turnkey basis or otherwise.
  • Land cost is not eligible for loan purpose.

i.For setting up solar photovoltaic power plants set up by existing units for captive consumption:

  • Existing Assisted and Non-assisted units.
  • The existing unit should be in operation for the past 3 financial years.
  • The existing unit should have earned at least cash profit for the last 3 financial years.
  • The net worth of the existing unit should be positive.
  • The units assisted by the corporation shall be in standard assets category for the last 3 financial years.
  • Existing Units which are having loan with other Banks/FIs should be in standard category with respective institutions for the last 3 financial years.
  • Existing units set up with own funds are also eligible to avail assistance. Such units should have earned net profit for the last 3 years and their net worth should be positive.
  • The existing unit should not come under the purview of sick unit definition.
  • The units should have sufficient cash generation including income from proposed power plant to meet our repayment commitment for the proposed loan and DSCR should not be less than 1.5:1.00.

ii. For units which are going to sell entire/part of power generated to TNEB:

Existing assisted/non-assisted units which are in >

standard category for the last 3 years > : 25% (minimum)

New Units/Existing units not coming under above category > : 35% (minimum)

Good, easily marketable immovable property in the form of land/ land and building only at not less than 35% of term loan in case of existing assisted and non-assisted units which are in standard category for not less than 3 years, and 50% of term loan for all other cases shall be obtained. For Board cases collateral to be decided on case to case basis. The proposed solar power project site shall not be taken as collateral. Agricultural land cannot be taken as collateral.

Personal guarantee of the borrower and also owner of collateral property shall be obtained.

BSC has no power even if the proposed loan is within its sanctioning limit and these proposals shall be placed before RLSC.

For other cases, loans will be sanctioned by the respective sanctioning authority.

Experimenting with small solar panels is helpful in learning how solar energy works. Small scale solar panels are capable of producing only a few watts of power, but they can teach us much more about how larger solar panels are used to help power homes. Small solar panels work the same way that their larger counterparts do, by taking energy from the sun through photovoltaic cells and directly powering a DC electrical device or by storing the energy for later use in a rechargeable battery. Small solar panels are available from a number of sources including Radio Shack and Amazon. The solar panel pictured in the example was purchased from Harbor Freight Tools. Amazon has the Elenco Solar Educational Kit which also includes a 5 VDC motor to match the 5 volt solar panel. The solar panel pictured has a selectable output voltage selector and a built-in blocking diode to allow rechargeable battery changing. Blocking diodes in short will allow voltage to pass only in one direction. This is useful in the case of a solar panel being used to charge batteries because it it were not present the batteries would be discharged back to the photovoltaic cells at night when there is no sunlight to provide power. There is some loss of energy by passing the voltage through a blocking diode, but it is useful for experimentation. Many full-scale solar panel arrays use low-loss Schottky diodes and a fuse between the batteries and each solar panel.

Let’s try a simple experiment with the solar panel by testing the output DC voltage and output current from the panel.

Materials Needed

  • small solar panel
  • A voltmeter or multimeter with probes
  • Sunlight or an incandescent light source

Step 1: Set up the solar panel under a good light source. Generally, direct sunlight will provide the full amount of voltage from the panel. Incandescent light will only provide approximately 50 percent to 75 percent of the stated voltage output of the panels from a distance of about 5 feet from the light source (60 watts). For higher wattage bulbs or closer distances, the output voltage will be higher.

Step 2: Connect the output black (-), negative lead from the solar panel to the negative probe wire of the voltmeter. Connect the output red (+), positive lead from the solar panel to the positive probe wire of the voltmeter. Alligator clips make the connection very easy.

Step 3: Set the voltmeter to test for DC voltage. It may be necessary to set it to a factored dial setting on the voltmeter. Set the meter to DC test, 10 if there are different test settings. Turn on the voltmeter.

Step 4: Observe the voltmeter voltage reading.

Step 5: Set the voltmeter to test for DC current. It may be necessary to set it to a factored dial setting on the voltmeter.

Step 6: Observe the voltmeter current reading.

Step 7: The example solar panel model has a selectable output switch. Changing the switch setting varies both the output voltage and output current. The higher the voltage output the lower the current and vice versa. If your solar panel has selectable settings, try repeating Steps 3-6 with different output settings. If not, try moving the solar panel closer and further away from the light source while output readings are observed.

Solar panels are capable of producing electricity from not only sunlight, but also from artificial light sources. The amount of voltage produced from a small solar panel is surprisingly good, however, the amount of current produced from this same solar panel is minimal. To produce enough electricity to be useful, much larger solar panels are required. We also found that directing the panels towards the light source helps to maximize the energy output. In practice, the position of solar panels is optimized to receive the most amount of sunlight possible. Many times, solar fields also include servo motors to help change the position of the solar panel to track the sun’s position using a photoresistor sensor.

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