Let’s brief you first on what exactly a solar power plant is!
Well, a solar power plant is an assembly of several components that use the sun’s energy to generate electricity.
Since the sunlight is abundant, you can purchase a solar plant to collect the energy from the sun’s rays and power up the electronic equipment at home and in the office.
Talking about solar power plant purchase, various types of solar power plant options are available. Each category is unique and provides many benefits upon installation.
Amongst all the advantages, a definite one is that going solar helps reduce the electricity cost to a great extent.
Also, since the sun’s energy will never get extinct, you can keep using it for years without additional cost.
If this information has intrigued you, you might be curious to know more about the solar power plant types. Read below to learn about the five types of solar power plant options.
What Are the Five Categories of a Solar Plant?
The five categories of a solar plant are on-grid, off-grid, hybrid, commercial, and ground-mounted solar plants.
Let’s study all the types in detail.
- – On-grid
As the name suggests, this type of solar system works in conjunction with the grid. Therefore, it is also known as a grid-tied or grid-connected solar plant.
The excess power generated from the solar panels is sent to the utility grid via the net meter.
What you require is consumed, whatever’s in excess is transferred to the grid, and when the Sun goes down and the panels aren’t producing electricity, the required electricity units are imported from the grid.
You won’t need batteries to keep the power supply going on. This factor makes an on-grid solar power plant one of the best types of solar power plant options for residential purposes wherever there’s a reliable grid.
- – Off-grid
Moving on to the second type – off-grid solar power plant. As you already must have guessed, it is the opposite of the on-grid solar power plant. Let’s find out how!
Unlike the on-grid solar plant, the off-grid solar system is not attached to the utility grid. So, how does it store the excess power generated during the peak hours? Well, it uses batteries for this purpose.
During the night hours in the absence of sunlight, the batteries send the power through the inverter to keep your appliances running.
This way, the off-grid systems deliver electricity to the household even when there is no sunlight.
- – Hybrid
One of the most popular types of solar power plant options is the hybrid solar power plant. The term ‘hybrid’ denotes combination.
This solar power plant features the best properties of both on-grid and off-grid solar power plants. The excess energy is stored in batteries and the utility grid.
When the solar array produces energy in the daylight, it passes through the hybrid inverter into the net meter, and is supplied to the home appliances.
The excessive power is used to charge the batteries and is simultaneously transferred to the grid if the batteries are fully charged.
So, you get the best of both worlds.
- – Ground-mounted
The ground-mounted solar power plant is installed on the ground. This solar plant features similar functionality to the grid-tied systems.
The only difference is that since it is mounted on the ground, it is fixed at a central position from where energy is generated and supplied to the nearby regions. It comprises inverters, solar panels, and grid-tied equipment.
- – Commercial
The types of solar power plant list is incomplete without the mention of commercial solar power plants. These are also grid-tied solar plants and established in commercial regions.
They operate similarly to grid-tied systems and reduce electricity consumption at commercial premises’ like offices and corporate organisations’ to a great extent.
Now let’s look into the factors to consider when selecting the best from the five types of solar power plant options for your purposes.
Factors to Consider when Selecting the Best Solar Power Plant for Your Needs
A common question that might appear in your mind is how to select the best solar system from the many types of solar power plant options mentioned above.
Let’s look into the top four factors to check for making efficient buying decisions.
- – Operational Hours: A solar power plant should be able to supply energy for all the equipment you need to charge and for as long as you prefer.
For instance, if you want your refrigerator to operate for long hours, you need to determine whether a specific solar power plant type can provide energy for a long period. If not, consider buying the one that caters to your needs.
- – Cost: Cost is another important factor to check. Besides calculating the price between two solar power plants, consider buying an easy-to-operate solar power plant to avoid paying high maintenance costs in the future.
- – Angle: Check the angle of the solar panels. The direction of the panels is important to ensure maximum energy from the solar plants. The ideal position is the panels facing the true south.
- – Space availability: You would not want to buy a huge solar power system but have limited space for its installation. Measure the area for installation and then purchase a solar system that fits well.
Weigh these factors for all types of solar power plant options before making a final decision.
Now you know the different types of solar power plant options and how you can select the right one for your needs.
Although there is no right or wrong solar power plant, purchasing one that doesn’t suit your requirements will lead to inappropriate expenditure.
Remember to check the factors mentioned above to avoid making mistakes while investing.
Solar power plants are expensive. Therefore, it is essential to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the solar plant to get the best returns on high investments.
You can call the manufacturer and get a detailed knowledge of these types before shortlisting your favourites!
Q. What are the basic components used to make different types of solar power plant varieties?
The four basic elements used in making solar power plants are racking, inverters, panels, and storage units.
Q. How much space does solar power plant installation require?
The space requirements depend upon the solar system’s capacity.
As a general thumb rule: Every KW requires 100 sq.ft area for installation.
Q. What is the lifespan of the solar power plants?
Solar power systems can last between 25 to 30 years with proper maintenance.