Q. How do Solar Panels produce electricity?

Ans. Solar Panels work on the phenomenon called the Photoelectric Effect to produce electricity. Solar Panels are nothing but blocks of specially designed semiconducting material which produce electricity when light falls on them. The electricity produced from multiple solar panels is combined and converted to electricity suitable for everyday consumption.

Q. If I install a Solar PV System at my place, how much working Life Span can I expect from it?

Ans. Solar PV System is a static system i.e. it does not consists of any rotating or moving parts. So it is not prone to any kind of damage caused due to the friction between the moving parts or any other mechanical phenomenon that causes damage to a generator or a motor. A Solar PV System can easily last for 25 years and can even work for a longer period if maintained properly.

Q. What kind of maintenance schedule do I have to follow to keep the Solar PV System in a healthy Condition?

Ans. A Solar PV System requires very minimal maintenance from the owner and is very easy to maintain. Regular cleaning of the Solar Panels should be ensured so that the system works at its full efficiency and occasional checks should be done to ensure that there is no shading over the Solar panels because of any obstruction. These small steps can result in a healthier and longer life span of your Solar PV System.

Q. If the Solar Panels are the only electricity producing unit in the system, then why do I need other components to make the system work? Doesn’t it add to the cost of the system?

Ans. Yes, it is true that the only electricity producing unit in the system are the Solar Panels and having other components adds to the cost of the system. But the electricity produced by the Panels is in D.C. form and have to be converted into A.C. form to be able to be used by the consumer. Also a proper and safe flow of the electricity needs to be ensured so that no damage is done to the appliances used or the consumer using it. This is why additional components are added to the system to ensure better reliability of the system.

Q. What happens to the power production on a cloudy day?

Ans. A Solar PV System doesn’t require direct sunlight to be able to work, though direct sunlight gives the maximum efficiency. The system continues to work even during the overcast conditions but the efficiencies are going to be reduced to some extent. The efficiency generally reduces to 70% during an overcast day. But in a place like India which receives more than 300 sunny days per year overcast conditions is not a major concern.

Q. If I invest in a Solar Rooftop Setup, in how much time will I make my money back?

Ans. In a Solar Rooftop System, the major investment is the equipment cost and has a minimal maintenance cost and no fuel cost. A Solar PV System has average pay back period of approximately 4 to 5 years. With the life span of a PV System as high as 25 years, more than 75% power produced by it may be considered as the free electricity.

Q. How much Roof Top Area do I require to install a Solar PV System?

Ans. It is mandatory for a Solar PV Setup to have a shade free area all the time of the day. The most important factor on which the area of a Solar PV System depends is the Panel Efficiency. Generally, a Solar Panel with 15% efficiency requires 100 Sq. Ft. of shade free roof area.

Q. Does the ambient temperature effects the efficiency of a Solar PV System?

Ans. Counterintuitive to the belief among the people, an increase in the ambient temperature around the Solar PV System results in decrease in efficiency of the system. It is to be noted here that though PV Systems work on the energy from the sun, they work on sun’s light energy and not on its heat energy. But the increase in temperature may result in lesser output voltage produced by the system which in turn results in the decreased efficiency of the system.

Q. How does shading affect the performance of a Solar PV System?

Ans. Shading has a very large impact on the performance of a Solar PV System. Since a Solar Panel is made of large number of Solar Cells, shading on a small part of it can reduce the energy produced by the rest of the Solar Panels. Therefore, it is mandatory to install the system in a shade free area.

Q. What is Net Metering? How can I benefited from it?

Ans. Net metering is the process through which you attain a “dual-benefit” by installing a solar power plant on the roof the building to generate electricity. Generated power is first used in the building as per the requirement and the surplus power is fed to the grid of electricity utility company (DISCOM). A bi-directional meter is installed in the supply line to register import and export of power. Net metering arrangements, thus, combine elements of captive power consumption and exchange of power with the utility. The bill is issued by utility after adjustment of import and export of electricity.

Q. What will happen in a situation when the power in the grid is out?

Ans. A typical Solar PV System is designed to shut down if the power in the grid is out. This is done so that in case of maintenance, any personnel doesn’t get electrocuted because of the power fed to the grid by the Solar PV System. But systems can be designed that can redirect power to a battery backup system from the grid in case of a power failure in the grid.

Q. Why should I setup a Solar PV System at my premises?

Setting up a Solar PV System at your premises gives you a chance to be self-sustainable in your power consumption and reduce your electricity bills significantly. Also a PV System is a clean and environmental friendly form of Power Generation. You can sell electricity to the already power deficit grid in the country thereby playing a role to fulfil the electricity requirement of the country. To sum up, it is a reliable, economic, social and environmental friendly form of Power Generation.

Q. What is an Output Warranty? What Output Warranty should I expect from a Manufacturer?

Ans. An Output Warranty is the Guarantee provided by the manufacturer that a certain percentage of output will be provided by its Solar Panels for a Specific period of time. An Output Warranty may last up to 25-35 years after the manufacturing of the Panels. For a good quality Solar Panel the Output Warranty is expected to be 90% for the first 10 years and 80% for 11 to 25 years.