Are you planning on installing a solar power plant and want to understand the nitty-gritty of how solar designs are created to utilise maximum sunlight exposure for high energy production? If so, this is the only guide you’ll ever need.
There are essentially 7 steps that, when sequentially followed, result in outstanding solar designs. Here’s a snippet of the steps:
- Selecting the PV module
- Calculating the number of modules
- Selecting the inverter
- Calculating the number of inverters required
- Calculating the size of the string
- Selecting the mounting structure
Does this pique your interest? Want to know more about these steps at length? If yes, dive in!
#1. Selecting the PV Module
The base of good solar designs is a solar module. The module you select should largely be based on five factors. These five factors are as follows.
- – Technology: There are two types of PV panels available in the market i.e. polycrystalline panels and monocrystalline panels.
- – Efficiency: Poly panels are less efficient than mono panels. The efficiency range for poly panels is about 16-17%. Meanwhile, mono panels provide an efficiency of about 19-20%.
- – Cost: Mono panels are more expensive because they’re more efficient. People often choose poly panels when there is no space crunch. Alternatively, if shadow-free space on the rooftop is an issue, then the choice should be mono panels.
- – Availability: Availability is an important factor to consider as India is dependent on China. How? PV cells that are used to produce solar panels have to be imported from China.
- – Warranty and Service Support: Ideally, you should choose PV panels with a longer warranty period and good support services. Which means that the brand you’re buying from should be premium. That’s because if the brand won’t last, the warranty that was promised won’t matter either.
#2. Calculating the number of modules
The next step is calculating how many modules are required for the solar designs. The way to do this is to follow this simple formula:
Total wattage required ÷ wattage of one module = total number of modules required.
For instance, for one module of 350 Wp requiring a total wattage of 10 kW or 10,000 W, the total number of modules required will be, 10,000 ÷ 350 = 28.57
Thus, 29 modules are needed.
#3. Selecting the inverter
The next step is to select the inverter for the solar designs. The inverter you select should largely be influenced by the following factors.
- – Technology: There are two types of solar inverters available in the market – string inverters and micro-inverters.
- – Efficiency: String inverters are less efficient than micro-inverters as micro-inverters have a higher capacity.
- – Cost: Micro inverters are more expensive; whereas, string inverters are cheaper due to differences in capacity.
- – Availability: As mentioned above, people usually prefer solar inverters readily available in the market.
- – Warranty and Service Support: Solar inverters with a longer warranty period from a premium brand are the ideal choice.
#4. Calculating the number of inverters
Let us now calculate the number of inverters you will require for the solar designs. This method requires the same formula we used to calculate the number of modules needed.
Total wattage required ÷ wattage of one inverter = total number of inverters required.
For one inverter of 2500 Wp requiring a total wattage of 10 kW or 10,000 W, the total number of modules required will be 10,000 ÷ 2500 = 4
Thus, 4 inverters will be required in this case.
How to divide the modules per inverter?
To know how many modules need to be distributed per inverter for an optimum solar design, we will have to divide the number of modules by the number of inverters.
For example, if you have 29 modules and 4 inverters, then you simply need to calculate it this way: 29 ÷ 4 = 7.25. Thus, each inverter will have 7 or 8 modules.
Please know that this number is just an indicative figure. During practical applications, you must be flexible while arranging the modules per inverter.
#5. Calculate the size of the string
Calculating the size of the string for solar designs can be done through software. But, just to be aware of the basics, to calculate the correct string size, you need to know the following information.
- – Voc of PV module
- – Vmp of PV module
- – MPPT range of the inverter
- – Vmax range of the inverter
#6. Selecting the mounting structure
Several factors must be considered while deciding on the mounting structure to be used for the solar designs. The geographical location will affect some of these factors. Some aspects to be kept in mind are as follows.
- – Wind load/snow load: The geographical location plays an important role since you need to understand the load the mounting structures would have to bear.
- – Type of roof structure: The type of roof, its tilt, and what it is made of will help determine the mounting structure’s type.
- – Tilt or type of mounting: The main objective is to ensure that the mounting structures should hold the panels in such a way that the panels are perpendicular to the sun during the peak hours (11 AM to 2 PM).
- – Structure material: The two most popularly used materials are G.I and aluminium.
- – Environment: You should consider whether the structures are to be part of a coastal environment or a highly corrosive environment.
- – Cost: The final cost for the mounting structures will be calculated depending on all the above-mentioned factors.
The different kinds of mounting structures for solar designs are fixed tilt, flush mount, single-axis tracking, ballasted solar structure, and east-west racking.
Simulation software creates a controlled experimental environment for the testing of solar cells, solar systems, solar designs, and more. Engineers use simulation software to design better solar systems. It is especially helpful in shadow analysis.
We hope that now you know everything about solar designs and the kind of details and preparations required. Switching to solar is the need of the day – global warming is an issue bigger than high electricity bills. Since installing a solar system tackles both, it’s probably the best investment of the modern time.
1. What is the efficiency of a ground-mounted solar power plant?
Any solar power plant’s efficiency varies according to the PV panel used in its construction. A poly panel has an efficiency of 16-17%. A mono panel has a 19-20% efficiency.
Surprisingly, ground-mounted solar panels that have trackers installed have better efficiency. However, there’s no need for trackers in the case of residential installations.
2. Is my rooftop suitable for installing solar panels?
An asbestos sheet roof is not ideal for installing a solar power structure. However, if your roof is made of other materials like an RCC or metallic sheets, it is perfect for solar installation.
With a suitable mounting structure and good solar designs, your system will be able to fulfil all your power requirements.
3. Is it easy to shift solar structures after installation?
It is as easy to uninstall solar systems as it is to install them. But remember that these are delicate structures and should only be handled by professionals for a smooth uninstallation process.