Solar energy is rapidly gaining footprint worldwide. India is no different and is accelerating towards the adoption of this renewable energy rather quickly. The availability of technology and resources is enabling the feasibility of solar implementation in India. The role of government through the formation of specialised bodies such as MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy) and SECI (Solar Energy Corporation of India) has also helped the case of solar power in India. From net metering to subsidy – solar power is proving to be a win-win situation for everyone in the ecosystem.
The push towards solar power is mostly because of its unprecedented advantages. However, today’s market is full of options – from different solar panels to entire solar systems altogether. Choosing the right solar power system, including the right solar panels is crucial for maximum efficiency; hence, choose reputed brands like Luminous offering end-to-end rooftop solar power system solutions that are suited for all residential needs.
If you’re looking for a rooftop solar system, it’s essential to understand about solar panels and other technicalities associated with a solar system.
We are all aware that the sun is the only source of solar energy. Solar panels also called photovoltaic panels (PV panels) are devices comprised of photovoltaic cells (PV cells) that convert sunlight into electricity.
Solar cells or PV cells are made from silicon, a semiconducting material that converts light into electricity.
There are two types of solar panels – Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline. The two options vary in their performance, appearance, costs, how they are made and the purpose of installation.
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Monocrystalline solar panels are made from a single continuous crystal structure and can be identified by its solar cells, all appearing as a single flat colour (typically black). They have a smooth texture, and the thickness of the slice is visible. These panels are slightly expensive to produce.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Polycrystalline solar panels contain many crystals as opposed to a single crystal in monocrystalline solar panels. Manufacturers melt many fragments of silicon together to form polycrystalline solar panels. These panels have a blue hue and are easily distinguished from monocrystalline solar panels. Polycrystalline panels are less expensive and ideal for Indian conditions.
|Monocrystalline Solar Panels||Polycrystalline Solar Panels|
|Cost||More expensive||Less expensive|
|Performance||Good under low irradiation conditions||High while increasing the operating temperature|
|Efficiency||More efficient||Less efficient|
|Aesthetics||Black hue||Blue hue|
|Longevity||25 years||25 years|
The choice of solar panels will depend on the use case and the area available for solar installation.
Monocrystalline Solar Panel and Polycrystalline Solar Panel
Now that you know the difference between the two, let’s understand the types of solar systems and the one apt for your requirement before we move to net metering and subsidy.
Solar Power Systems
For residential purposes, solar power systems are typically installed on rooftops. These power systems are of two types:
- On-Grid System
On-grid systems work together with the grid, i.e. the mains electric supply. The homeowner consumes electricity generated by the rooftop solar system, and any power that is left is supplied back to the grid.
On-Grid Solar System
Now, this is where net metering comes in the equation. All the electricity that is fed back to the grid and consumed by the owner is calculated by a net meter. The difference is then reflected in the electricity bill.
Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they fed in the grid. The difference between the electricity generated by the consumer from a rooftop solar solution and the import of power from distribution companies (DISCOM) is billed to the customer.
For instance, if you have an on-grid solar power installed on your rooftop, the system is likely to generate more energy than your consumption. So, with a net-meter, the electricity that is consumed and fed into the grid is calculated. The net energy usage is then billed to you.
- Net metering allows solar energy users to control their electricity bills
- Net metering protects the electric grid and creates a smoother demand curve for electricity that allows electric companies to manage peak loads efficiently
Here’s a state-wise net metering policy in India.
- Off-Grid System
Off-grid solar systems have a battery connected to them that stores the electricity generated by solar panels. These solar systems are typically used in areas with high power cuts or places that have no grid.
The Government of India has launched a subsidy scheme for rooftop solar solutions to support the upfront cost of solar installation. Both the central government and State Nodal Agencies offer subsidy schemes.
According to MNRE, the government pays 30% of the benchmarked installation cost for solar systems. The states in the North MNRE PV Rooftop Cell category (Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Lakshadweep and Jammu & Kashmir) get up to 70% of installation costs.
Some other perks offered are:
- Homeowners opting rooftop solar systems can avail priority sector loans of up to 10 lakhs from nationalised banks. The loan taken for a rooftop solar system will fall under the category of home loan or home improvement loan.
- Homeowners are also eligible for generation-based incentives that will pay them Rs 2 per unit of electricity generated.
- Homeowners with rooftop solar panels can sell the excess of power, and they would receive a regulated cost per unit as set by the government.
Specifications to Avail Subsidy for Rooftop Solar System:
- A requirement of 100 square feet of space for the installation of the rooftop solar system
- To avail incentive, the customer should generate 1100 kWh to 1500 kWh per year
Solar power has two significant benefits – first, it’s cost-effective, thus promotes savings; second, it’s sustainable, which means it tackles the impending climate change. The push towards solar in India is massive, and as of July 2019, India’s solar installed capacity has reached 30GW, a substantial jump from the initial target of 20 GW in less than four years.
If you’re considering going solar, make sure to choose solar panels and solar systems from reputed brands like Luminous. They offer maximum efficiency, different batteries, pure sine wave output and a 25-year warranty!