Going Solar: General Discussion on Solar DIY For Home & Office


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bhvm

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Gentlemen,
Going green is the need of time. We shoud try our best to participate in this movement to make word a pollution free place. I have Converted my Home and Office On Solar energy, and using less budget than commercial installs.

Now it makes me think ,Will it provide savings worth 30k per year? Heck my yearly electric bill is even half of that! Its just our Green favouring spirit that makes us do such financially stupid project. Shut off the brains and think by heart. Think for Mother earth.

I would like to invite all the Experts and Beginners to Discuss, Plan and install solar projects via this thread.

Links-
DIY Solar Panel
Discussion Forum & Home to the Indian DIY Hobbyist
 
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I myself a solar system Integrator. I can shed some light on this area as there are lots of misconception, bad practices, and superstitions.

First to quote from you
//financially stupid project.//

Actually Solar systems are best investments. Let us not compare with, we put our money on Cars and depreciating our investment on Maintenance and running cost. Instead compare the solar investment with real estate investment. If you know what you are doing, then you are doing what is right.

To start with, before installing a solar system, divide your investment in to 2. First to optimize your electrical consumption - LED Lights, Energy efficient Fans(30W only), 5 Star rated equipments(if possible), Inverter AC(if possible), Power Quality auditing (if required) and suggested corrective measures, Servo stabilizers (if required) etc. This first set will effectively reduce your actual power need to say 20% to 50%. Now the second part of investment to solar system for the optimized power consumption.

In this second part you have to be careful like we use to do our analysis before buying a Car or a home. There are too many lemons in the market to spoil our 25 years free energy. So instead of price competitiveness go for quality competitiveness. I can give you atleast a 100 examples were people trashed their money on Lemons. And we have done retrofit to those systems with real oranges and apples.

let us start the discussion. will share the little knowledge I gained in this industry.

And Solar is one super good DIY stuff. Actually it is very interesting and feasible to do DIY.
 
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Thread Starter #3

bhvm

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Re: Going solar- General disscussion on Solar DIY for home & office

please bring in on!! I'm in the discussion.

please provide details of systems you install
 
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Re: Going solar- General disscussion on Solar DIY for home & office

I think instead of talking about what I do and have done, I would give a brief Solar 101. That would help everyone solar enabled knowledge wise.

The basics of Solar technically categorized in to two considering the mass commercial success.

1) The Lighting system
2) The Thermal system

Lighting System is basically a system that receives energy from Solar Light. Examples: A typical Solar Panel-inverters systems, Solar Street Lights, Soalr Water pumping System. This is the area I acquired field experience.


Thermal system is basically a system that converts heat energy of solar in to heat energy. Solar Water heater, other unconventional experiments to generate electricity by concentrating solar heat to steam turbo to electricity. My exposure to thermal technology is minuscule.

Lighting system basically consists of a Heart of the system and Lung of the system.

Heart is - Solar Panels.
Lung is - Any electronics that converts the raw DC electricity from Panel to required format. Ex: Solar Inverter, Charge controller (AC/DC Street Light applications), Solar enabled Variable Frequency Drives for Solar water pumping system.

Types of a Lighting System:
a) Off Grid System

Power Sources: Solar, Utility Grid(EB), Battery.

Operation: In simple terms it is nothing but our UPS except that we have one more power source as Solar. But actually it is much much more than a normal UPS and involves lot many things than an UPS. This system uses the available energy from all these power sources to satisfy our need. The priority of power source can be set. Like if solar is available then it should be used or Battery should not be discharged below this level etc.

Advantage: Regardless of you have Utility grid available or not. you can enjoy free energy as far as you have solar and battery energy is available.

The other side:
No one is in the home, then the Solar energy produced will be stored in the battery and if the battery also full, then whatever the solar energy available for you is untapped non utilized.

Battery Maintenance - Battery is the weakling of a solar system, not exactly now a days as reputed brands giving 5 year warranty and most of the time honoring the same.

Separate UPS line and predefined load capacity has to designed as we do for UPS.

Usage:
Mostly small scale Home/Office usage of up to 100 Watt to 10/20KVA. Large scales in the cases of remote areas and specific requirements.

To Be continued...
 
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Re: Going solar- General disscussion on Solar DIY for home & office

Off grid system needs battery, as solar irradiation is too inconsistant, the battery or grid is the sources to produce the perfect sinewave and seemless power figure. Hence Maintenance wise off grid needs frequent (Ones in 3 or 6 Months) acid filling for Battery. Otherwise if we go with reasonable quality product 10 years sure shot maintenance free service from Inverter and more than 25 years from Solar Panels. Also Diesel Generator, Wind mill or other form of Power sources can be incorporated in to the system.

a) On Grid/Grid Tie System

Power Sources: Solar, Utility Grid(EB)

Operation: It is pluck and enjoy power system (Not exactly). the connected Solar Power which is DC is converted in to AC and feed in to our electricity circuit by the Grid Tie inverter (Types - Micro/String/Hybrid). Battery is not required.

Advantage: This works only when Utility Grid is On. If there is a power shut down, this system also shuts down. This is not a flaw, this is design requirement called Anti Islanding, as per safety regulatory norms. The reason is, this type of solar system exports excess Solar energy to Utility grid. Means this solar system will give power for whatever you use, the extra power generated will be driven to utility grid, obviously home next door will be using it. In case some one shuts down utility grid and doing maintenance work and your solar system feeds electricity means that some one become No one. To prevent that this Anti Islanding feature is become norm. There are various Government plans to pay you for this power export to utility grid by you. Check with local authorities. These systems are simple, You don't need to scrap your head for a flawless perfect design(For offgrid it is required to consider various aspects to give 100% fail proof design), Batteryless hence zero maintenance. You can integrate 'N' number of these kind of systems without much hassel as and when required (there is a catch in this though, the local EB should restrict the upper limit based on your distribution transformer capacity).

The other side:
The meaning of power independance is different in Western countries. For them Power shutdown is a rarity. But In India we go for solar only because we don't have power or the quality is poor. So Grid tie system shuts off along with Utility grid not sounds good to everyone in India.

Local EB norms are not clear, even if it is clear the Local EB authority is not knowledgeous, Even if they are Knowledgeous, the grid itself is not up to mark (Like a 150V for single phase is a reality in India, Servo Stabilizer become a must then)

Usage:
Mainly Large scales. Educational Institute, Hospitals, Industries go for Grid tie either as Netmeetering or as Wheeling option. Small scale Home/Office usage rarely(Grid tie is most used in Western countries).
 
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bhvm

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Re: Going solar- General disscussion on Solar DIY for home & office

on grid system is not valid in India as government is not ready for it.
 
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Re: Going solar- General disscussion on Solar DIY for home & office

//on grid system is not valid in India as government is not ready for it// Not Exactly. For Example, In Tamil Nadu the govrnment has clear cut policies and guidelines for On grid system. The problem is TNEB both locally and Higherups is not suggesting the Netmeter standards (They have to do this). Despite this many on grid projects were installed in Tamil Nadu ofcourse guidline part of Our side has to be confirmed, and this translates in to is free electricity to Utility grid when the owner not using it.

Similarly Kerala has no guidelines. Hence you can put On grid just like that.

Netmetering is one part of the story, Electricity sales to EB, EPC, Wheeling requires on grid system. Which are any way happening with other form of energies.
 
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@kadumedu, That's really a good piece of information.[clap]


Depending upon the load, we should select the VA of a Solar Inverter.
Can you please tell me about the best brands/models available in India and an approximate costs for 850VA/1500VA/2000VA Solar Inverters?

Regards.,
 
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@kadumedu, That's really a good piece of information.[clap]


Depending upon the load, we should select the VA of a Solar Inverter.
.,
Yes. Selecting VA involves some design aspect to be considered. Type of Load, Surge Current of the load, Power rating, Single Phase or 3 Phase, Backup requirement (Night time support), load pattern thruout the day to optimize the solar capacity, future planning and so forth.

Can you please tell me about the best brands/models available in India and an approximate costs for 850VA/1500VA/2000VA Solar Inverters?
Below 3 KVA there are many. But few live upto the reputation. We use our own inverters for up to 250KW off grid systems.

the cost depends on quality. A chinese piece of 850VA available for 4k to 6kRs,

Offgrid price Apprx:
A good brand 800VA system costs around 10000/- and MPPT 1000VA is around 16k. 1500VA is around 20k and
2kVA is around 25K.
These holds 2 year warranty.

for 5 Year warranty systems the price would be
1KVA 26k and
2KVA 34k

Regards
 
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By personal experience I can say that
1) Solar water heater is actually cost effective solution, although it provides instant hot water when not much required e.g. summer, & could not provide or provide after much wastage of water e.g. winter. To minimize wastage of water, people do thermal insulation of pipes right from solar panels & overhead tank to bathroom, but never hot water comes as you open the tap.

2) When it involves battery, the equation changes. Whatever you save on electric bill, is spend on battery. I had used solar lights with battery included so as to use when lights go off, but cost of battery replacement is almost similar to Chinese lamps that require electric connection to be charged.

Actually I am in search of solar project for my farmhouse as I had to spend 60-70K rupees to bring 3 phase 24 hour electric connection to my farmhouse. Several persons consulted but everybody advised to spend money on electric connection, rather than on solar project. (Power consumption estimated around 6-10KV).
 
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By personal experience I can say that
1) Solar water heater is actually cost effective solution, although it provides instant hot water when not much required e.g. summer, & could not provide or provide after much wastage of water e.g. winter. To minimize wastage of water, people do thermal insulation of pipes right from solar panels & overhead tank to bathroom, but never hot water comes as you open the tap.

2) When it involves battery, the equation changes. Whatever you save on electric bill, is spend on battery. I had used solar lights with battery included so as to use when lights go off, but cost of battery replacement is almost similar to Chinese lamps that require electric connection to be charged.

Actually I am in search of solar project for my farmhouse as I had to spend 60-70K rupees to bring 3 phase 24 hour electric connection to my farmhouse. Several persons consulted but everybody advised to spend money on electric connection, rather than on solar project. (Power consumption estimated around 6-10KV).
Battery is weakling of a solar system. But it is neither nonviable nor non feasible. The 5 year warranty from some of the brands make sure the solar returns are seamless.

We are specialized in Thin Film CIS technology panels from Shell Petrol and Saint Gobain as they are 20% more performing and more reliable than traditional crystalline panels. With those panels we average the daily peak irradiation to 6 Hours(crystalline is 4 hours and actually CIS average is 7 to 8 hours). With this performance the 5 year return of investment (barring Interest rate and power tariff rate hike) is assured and battery reinvestment will be 30 to 60% of the actual cost, as not all battery go bust and the battery scrap value is there always. Mind you the solar panel and inverter are meant to work more than 10 years to 25 years.

As for your farm house I can give you consultation free of cost. Please PM me.
 
Thread Starter #12

bhvm

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I myself a solar system Integrator. I can shed some light on this area as there are lots of misconception, bad practices, and superstitions.

First to quote from you
//financially stupid project.//

To start with, before installing a solar system, divide your investment in to 2. First to optimize your electrical consumption - LED Lights, Energy efficient Fans(30W only), 5 Star rated equipments(if possible), Inverter AC(if possible), Power Quality auditing (if required) and suggested corrective measures, Servo stabilizers (if required) etc. This first set will effectively reduce your actual power need to say 20% to 50%. Now the second part of investment to solar system for the optimized power consumption.

And Solar is one super good DIY stuff. Actually it is very interesting and feasible to do DIY.
Although I have installed Solar for Home and office, its out of the urge for Green movement rather than Financial one. I will say that In a way, the solar is still not financially viable. Decent solar install costs 3 lac and Battery replacement every 3~5 years. Now I am never getting a elec bill of even 3 lac in 3 years. Lets add new battery after 5 years and the equation goes really stupid.
Off grid system needs battery, as solar irradiation is too inconsistant, the battery or grid is the sources to produce the perfect sinewave and seemless power figure

a) On Grid/Grid Tie System

Power Sources: Solar, Utility Grid(EB)
Advantage: This works only when Utility Grid is On. If there is a power shut down, this system also shuts down. This is not a flaw, this is design requirement called Anti Islanding, as per safety regulatory norms. The reason is, this type of solar system exports excess Solar energy to Utility grid. Means this solar system will give power for whatever you use, the extra power generated will be driven to utility grid, obviously home next door will be using it. In case some one shuts down utility grid and doing maintenance work and your solar system feeds electricity means that some one become No one. To prevent that this Anti Islanding feature is become norm. There are various Government plans to pay you for this power export to utility grid by you. Check with local authorities. These systems are simple, You don't need to scrap your head for a flawless perfect design(For offgrid it is required to consider various aspects to give 100% fail proof design), Batteryless hence zero maintenance. You can integrate 'N' number of these kind of systems without much hassel as and when required (there is a catch in this though, the local EB should restrict the upper limit based on your distribution transformer capacity).

The other side:
The meaning of power independance is different in Western countries. For them Power shutdown is a rarity. But In India we go for solar only because we don't have power or the quality is poor. So Grid tie system shuts off along with Utility grid not sounds good to everyone in India.
.
I would rather not fall into this. Indian Grid is more inconsistent than anything and power fuluctuations means i've lost Fridge, Computer, UPS etc totally burnt. Also there is no honesty and knowledge is totally absent.

Battery is weakling of a solar system. But it is neither nonviable nor non feasible. The 5 year warranty from some of the brands make sure the solar returns are seamless.

We are specialized in Thin Film CIS technology panels from Shell Petrol and Saint Gobain as they are 20% more performing and more reliable than traditional crystalline panels. With those panels we average the daily peak irradiation to 6 Hours(crystalline is 4 hours and actually CIS average is 7 to 8 hours). With this performance the 5 year return of investment (barring Interest rate and power tariff rate hike) is assured and battery reinvestment will be 30 to 60% of the actual cost, as not all battery go bust and the battery scrap value is there always. Mind you the solar panel and inverter are meant to work more than 10 years to 25 years.

As for your farm house I can give you consultation free of cost. Please PM me.
I am interested in CIS tech. I am an avid solar hobbiyist and your input will sure help me. Can we chat on Yahoo/Gtalk or whatsapp?
 
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Although I have installed Solar for Home and office, its out of the urge for Green movement rather than Financial one. I will say that In a way, the solar is still not financially viable. Decent solar install costs 3 lac and Battery replacement every 3~5 years. Now I am never getting a elec bill of even 3 lac in 3 years. Lets add new battery after 5 years and the equation goes really stupid.

I would rather not fall into this. Indian Grid is more inconsistent than anything and power fuluctuations means i've lost Fridge, Computer, UPS etc totally burnt. Also there is no honesty and knowledge is totally absent.
Thats true. But with proper Inverter and servo stabilizers we would actually can save our other connected equipments. Reputed Inverters come with Surge protection, Lightning protection, Over voltage/Under Voltage protections. Our Own servo stabilizers(we are basically from servo stabilizers) works even below 120V too.

I am interested in CIS tech. I am an avid solar hobbiyist and your input will sure help me. Can we chat on Yahoo/Gtalk or whatsapp?
We can have Gtalk. Will PM my id.
 
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We are specialized in Thin Film CIS technology panels from Shell Petrol and Saint Gobain as they are 20% more performing and more reliable than traditional crystalline panels. With those panels we average the daily peak irradiation to 6 Hours(crystalline is 4 hours and actually CIS average is 7 to 8 hours). With this performance the 5 year return of investment (barring Interest rate and power tariff rate hike) is assured and battery reinvestment will be 30 to 60% of the actual cost, as not all battery go bust and the battery scrap value is there always. Mind you the solar panel and inverter are meant to work more than 10 years to 25 years.
Hi kadumedu,

Since CIS solar panel is a new tech, not just the CIS products even its information is not available in my locality. Presently, I think the only option for the interested people over here in my locality is to get the products from Chennai.

Can you please tell me, does if offer extra years of warranty than the Crystalline Panels?
Whats the approximate cost of 250W CIS solar panel? What are the different sizes/watts of panels available for home usage.?

Regards.,
 
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Hi kadumedu,

Since CIS solar panel is a new tech, not just the CIS products even its information is not available in my locality. Presently, I think the only option for the interested people over here in my locality is to get the products from Chennai.
It is technology proven for more than 20 Years. Infact independant studies revealed CIS technology from Shell/Saint Gobain are reliable and preformance is more than crystalline panels. Especially India like Hot countries Crystalline panels tend to perform low and degrade much faster


Can you please tell me, does if offer extra years of warranty than the Crystalline Panels?
Crystalline normally given 5 Year product warranty and 25 years performance warranty. CIS frm Shell holds 7 years product and 25 Years performance warranty. Saint Gobain it is 10/25.


Whats the approximate cost of 250W CIS solar panel? What are the different sizes/watts of panels available for home usage.?

Regards.,
It depends on stock availability and many factors. The normal Crystaline panel from Reputed brand Canadian Solar, BP etc costs 50 to 56 Rs per watt. CIS costs 47 to 50 Rs per Watt (Stock clearance is going on now with even lesser price for CIS).
 

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