A solar photovoltaic power plant is a solar plant that converts solar energy through the photovoltaic effect into usable electricity.
The electricity generated is used for different domestic and commercial purposes. A Solar PV plant can be used to generate energy using sun rays. Since solar energy is renewable, it is environmentally friendly.
The most crucial benefit of using a PV solar plant is that it helps in lowering the electricity bills drastically. They can even last for more than 5 decades with proper care.
Solar plants are becoming a preferred choice of people nowadays due to the immense range of benefits they come with.
Find out all the details in the upcoming sections!
Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant – What are the Types?
Choosing the correct type of PV power plant is essential because investing in a power plant is a long-term commitment. You don’t want to rethink your decision after installing it.
There are three different types of solar power systems: Off-grid solar system, on-grid solar system, and hybrid solar system.
Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Find out everything about these three types in detail.
#1. Off-Grid System
Off-grid solar systems are independent systems that use batteries to store energy on cloudy days or when it is raining.
These systems are helpful in areas where electricity isn’t sufficient, or there are frequent power cuts.
An off-grid solar system requires regular monitoring of the battery’s electrolyte levels. This type of solar panel plant is mainly installed in remote areas because of its cost-effectiveness and energy efficiency.
Advantages of Off-Grid Solar System
- It is independent of any utility grid.
- You can increase the power of the batteries according to the requirement of the house or area.
Disadvantages of Off-Grid Solar System
- It is more expensive than on-grid solar power plants.
- The batteries come with a shelf-life. Besides, they are noisy and require frequent maintenance.
- The batteries are expensive. Replacing them is not cost-effective.
#2. On-Grid System
The on-grid solar power plant is also known as a grid-tied solar PV plant. These are the most common types of solar photovoltaic power plants and are used widely for residential solar system installation.
The on-grid solar system is connected to the utility grid and can generate power only when it is connected to the grid. This form of solar plant is less expensive. It is ideal for people looking to lower their electricity costs.
The on-grid solar photovoltaic power plant features the concept of net metering. Batteries aren’t needed in this case.
The concept of net metering is quite beneficial and hassle-free. It means the extra power produced by the solar system is sent back to the grid, resulting in a credit on the electricity bill.
If there’s a power cut (or power consumption is more than the power generation), the bi-directional meter takes the exported power back from the grid.
#3. Hybrid Solar System
The hybrid solar photovoltaic power plant is a hybrid model where the features of both off-grid and on-grid systems are combined.
The hybrid system has a battery backup, and it also has a net-metering system. A hybrid solar plant helps in reducing electricity costs significantly.
This solar system provides a continuous power supply and greater return than its cost over time. A hybrid solar power plant cost in India is expected to be somewhere between the range of ₹ 1,00,000 to ₹ 15,00,000.
The hybrid solar system is automatic and provides a comprehensive hybrid mix of all energy sources.
Classifications of solar power systems
Commercial Solar Plant
The Commercial solar photovoltaic power plant is connected to the utility grid. This type of solar power plant helps in reducing electricity bills in large industrial sectors.
Commercial Solar photovoltaic power plants are mainly used for industries, businesses, or large complexes that have a high energy consumption.
In a commercial solar power system, the solar panels gather sunlight throughout the day and create DC power.
The electricity produced is made to pass through a solar converter that converts the direct current to an alternate current, making it usable.
If the commercial solar photovoltaic power plant generates more energy than required, the excess electricity is immediately transferred via net metering to the utility grid.
Ground-Mounted Solar Plant
The Ground-mounted solar photovoltaic power plant is built on the ground and is mainly used for centralised power generation.
It is generally connected to a utility grid. A ground-mounted solar power plant can be installed anywhere (in a yard or a field) that receives the bulk of the day’s sunlight.
Ground installation, like rooftop installation, needs a specific place in a yard to set up the panels.
A ground-mounted PV plant provides uninterrupted solar energy. Thus, they are mainly used for agricultural purposes because farms require a continuous supply of electricity for heating water, running electric fences, pumping water, etc.
Solar Power Plant Price
A Power plant solar capacity is an excellent alternative for environment-friendly electricity generation. The cost of solar plant varies depending on the size of the plant.
1MW solar plants in India can cost around ₹400 lakhs. The demand for solar plants is increasing with time as they help conserve the environment.
The solar panels can cost anywhere between ₹30,000 to ₹40,000 depending on the model type. A 1kW on-grid solar plant might cost around ₹50,000 to ₹70,000; whereas, a 1kW off-grid solar plant might cost around ₹90,000 to ₹1,00,000.
The bottom line is that the cost of solar plants and solar systems is ever-changing. Always ask your EPC solar company about the precise cost before proceeding with the investment.
Technologies Used In a Solar PV Plant
Three main types of solar PV plant technologies are used. These include:
- – Photovoltaic solar PV plant
- – Concentrated solar PV plant
- – Thermal solar PV plant
1. Photovoltaic technology
Photovoltaic devices produce energy from sunlight. It is the most common technology used in solar power plant systems.
Certain semiconductors help convert sunlight into usable energy. A solar photovoltaic power plant runs on four primary components:
- – Solar Inverter
- – Solar Panel
- – Solar Battery
- – Solar accessories
2. Concentrated technology
Concentrated pv plants are power plants where mirrors are used to generate electricity by concentrating the sun’s energy.
The energy is converted to room temperature heat, which is used for running machines or steam turbines.
3. Thermal technology
This technology uses Thermal Energy Storage (TES) to store the power; thereby, making it a sophisticated technology. A Concentrated solar pv plant requires water for cooling.
A thermal PV plant has tracking systems that keep the sun rays focused on a point by using a receiver. Solar collectors are used to generating electricity.
How To Choose The Best Solar PV Plant?
Choosing the right solar photovoltaic power plant is essential to yielding the maximum output. You should focus on points like the quality of the panel, efficiency, etc.
Here are some factors that you should consider.
- – You can opt for an off-grid solar photovoltaic power plant if your area gets long power cuts. The off-grid system has a battery providing power backup. The battery can be exchanged if damaged.
- – The on-grid solar plant helps reduce the electricity bills and provides the feature to transfer the extra power to the grid via a net-metering system.
- – A hybrid system has both the advantages of a power backup and net-metering.
- – The hybrid power plant helps transfer the extra energy and provides power backup.
Pros And Cons Of a Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant
Advantages of solar photovoltaic power plants
- The most significant advantage of solar photovoltaic power plants is the green electricity they generate. There is no need to be concerned about the panels emitting dangerous greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
- There is no need to pay for raw materials as solar PV plants depend on sunlight.
- The solar energy factory doesn’t make noise. Hence, it is a perfect solution for residential and urban places.
Disadvantages Of a Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant
- The power generation from a solar photovoltaic power plant ceases at night.
- Solar power plants require large areas for installation. Space could, thus, be an issue in a commercial installation where bigger solar systems are required to meet the power needs.
A solar photovoltaic power plant does require investment, but the benefits are worth every single penny spent.
The future of the solar photovoltaic power plant looks promising. With the advancement in technology, installation and maintenance prices have already reduced.
The prices will only reduce further. Hence, solar electricity will become a lot cheaper than it’s today.
Q1. What amount of electricity can I save from an on-grid solar photovoltaic power plant?
The electricity saving depends on the capacity of the solar system. The higher the capacity, the lesser the electricity bill, and the more the savings.
Q2. What are the capacities found in solar power plants?
A Solar plant is available in many sizes such as 1kW, 2kW, 3kW, 5kW, 10kW, etc. The prices vary depending upon the capacity of the solar power plants.
Q. Can I install a commercial solar power plant in my home?
You can install a commercial solar plant in your home; however, it will require more space.
A residential rooftop solar system will be enough to meet your power needs. So, there’s actually no need for you to install a commercial solar plant at home.