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Pictures of rooftop Solar system

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Continuing over from this other discussion (Rooftop solar for domestic needs), here are the pictures of the Solar system we put up at a remote rural location.

Batteries and charge controller, or "Solar power conditioning unit" as they call it

Small display on the conditioning unit, during morning hours. During afternoons, solar reading goes up to 40 or so, proof in the other pic.

The Solar Panels, four of them.

Manufacturer details, written on the back of Solar panels


sanjayv's picture

Microsun eh?

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Wonder how good all these panels are?  With automated equipment, there are so many panels and one worry in the industry is how many of these panels meet requirements for long term reliability.  Life of a panel is nominally 25-30 years.  You want it to work that long right?

silkboard's picture

No way to know really

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Its a big bet isn't it? 25 years is how long the seller said the panels would last. But without any warranty etc, who is to say these will or will not.

Perhaps the panels should only be rented and not sold outright.

  • Talk of 60K worth panel
  • Expecting it to last 30 years, or 360 months
  • Would you be more comfortable paying 800 Rs / month for it? Or 60K outright!? Or 10K down and 700 Rs / month!?

Anyway. back to the system pictured here, at the end of it, we felt that the system is just too expensive. A large capacity UPS would have sufficed. Except though, this one time when the power cables had snapped, and there was no grid power in for almost 2 days. Solar kept things on.

Too big an investment to deal with rare events.

  • Either the prices need to go down further
  • Or there has to be monthly payment scheme (like above), where one pays a  monthly rental for equipment just like paying the regular power bill
  • Or, government needs to make the power situation as worse as possible, so that buyers see it more worthy to invest in these :) :)
sanjayv's picture

Panel life

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Plenty of panels have lasted 25-30 years.  Issue now is that every Tom, Dick and Harry seems to be assembling PV panels now and one is not sure of their quality and reliability testing. Yes, panels are still a bit on the expensive side, but they are MUCH cheaper than anybody thought they would be at this point in time. Hopefully, price will continue to fall.

Overall cost gets pushed up by Panels and batteries,  In your particular installation, what you have is a storage system which could purely run on the grid and you have added solar as an option, is it not?

silkboard's picture

about conditioning unit

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Yes Sanjay, what we have (or have been 'sold'!) is a system that prefers charging (the storage, aka battery) from Solar Panels. If not enough charge current coming from panels, then it charges from grid.

However, two months ago, I was at a small town in Jharkhand, and noticed that shops that were selling batteries and UPS are now selling Panels also. Went to one such shop and asked after building a solar based system. Here is how it went

  • I want a solar panel
  • "What all will you run" - 4 lights, 2 fans
  • "Ok, take 2 of these 9K panels, 14K for battery, 4K for inverter" Ok, so total about 36K.
  • "But wait, where do you need it?" - this town
  • "Don't buy solar panels" - Why?
  • "You get minimum 6 hours of power every day here, that's enough to charge your batterries, but if you want it for a remote village, then its okay"
  • I want this system to charge from panels as well as grid, do you have charge controller or conditioning unit
  • "Don't buy all that, unless you want to waste money" - oh?
  • "I will just connect both (grid, panels) to batteries, whichever has current will keep charging your battery" - no problem with that? reduced battery life?
  • "Sir, I am making batteries for 20 years now, and selling these Solar things for 2 years, nothing will happen"

Anyway, leave aside the point about conditioning unit / charge controller. This is is how he is selling solar panels right now. 1 sample is anecdotal. But very interested to do a survey of 30 such battery/ups/solar resellers at small towns.

silkboard's picture

Ran water pump on it, but fridge problem remains.

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We had been having frequent power problems at this place due to a variety of reasons. So my father in law has started using Solar unit to run water pump. Runs well, and a good use of Solar investment. Its a 1/4 hp pump, runs without any problems for 10-12 minutes.

The fridge problem remains though. During peak sunshine hours, no problem, but come evening, most of the times when the compressor goes on (we think), then supposedly there is surging demand for current for a fraction of a second. Solar unit shuts down, and auto starts.

The fridge is rated 180 watts or so, and the solar unit is supposedly 1KW (can support upto 1 Kw of concurrent load). And since there is no problem during peak sunshine hours, we were wondering if there is some tuning that could be done to the conditioning unit. Had called the vendor for a check, they couldn't suggest any solution.

Vidyadhara B V's picture

Solar is future energy need of the country.

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May I know the cost fo the panel and can we connect the same to grid of BESCOM. What will the BESCOM pay back to us ? How it will be made as an agreement with the supplier and the BESCOM. Storing the electricity is costlier but if you are connecting to the grid the cost may come down. But their is no concrete measures taken by the BESCOM to ensure that the solar power generated in the roof top is connected to the grid and agreement is signed between the supplier and company to pay back the charges per unit rate. The rate has not fixed by the same. When it will be a reality. Many public buildings like Multistorey building, Vidhana soudha, raj bhavan and High Court to name a few can fix the solar panels on the roof and connect the same to grid. 

Vidyadhara B V

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