IT should come as no surprise that rooftop solar photo voltaic (PV) systems are fast finding favor across both large factories and small manufacturing units.
Across the world and especially in India, factory owners have grown increasingly fed up with the rising costs and at times, unreliable performance of grid electricity. Therefore, more and more are opting to install customized solar PV systems on their roofs.
If you, too, are a factory owner, here’s why you should go solar:
Rooftop solar PV system designs can be highly customized. Whether your total connected load is a few kilowatts (kW) or even at a few megawatts (MW), system sizes can be specifically tailored to meet your energy, space and budget requirements.
And if the system is drawing less power that its designed power output, you might be able to feed the difference into the grid and earn credits on your electricity bill. You can always purchase power from the grid at night, when power prices are much lower. Neat, right?
Low Maintenance Cost
Solar panels, or modules, are made of solar cells (purified silicon) encased in a light metal frame (usually aluminium). Together multiple modules are connected through PVC enclosed wires. The module’s mounting structure is also made of light aluminium brackets that are bolted to the roof floor/rooftop.
Therefore, in the absence of any moving parts and because corrosion is not a pressing issue, these systems call for minimal maintenance. All you need to do is to regularly wipe the glass panels for dust and debris (usually bird droppings). Also, system installation is carried out by experts and takes little time (as little as a few weeks for large connected loads).
Rooftop solar PV systems generate electricity as long as the sun shines, which for most manufacturing units coincides with their peak hours of operation. Therefore, during the day – provided the sun is out – you will have the option of not drawing expensive electricity from the grid. Instead, you can power a part of, or the entire connected load at absolutely no cost!
Now you might think – what if the grid is down AND the sun is behind the clouds? Well, you will need to install energy storage systems (lead acid or lithium ion battery packs).
Admittedly, it will add to system costs, but India is lucky to enjoy nearly 300 sunny days a year. So failing any natural calamity or major grid failure, you are always likely to have access to at least one source of power. Now that’s energy security!
Falling Costs For Rooftop Solar Systems
Costs for solar PV systems are falling rapidly. According to the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), rooftop systems without battery storage now cost only about Rs. 90-100 per Watt (Rs. 90,000 – 1 lakh per kW). Add the cost of storage and it rises to about Rs. 170 – 250 per Watt.
Even so, once installed, you will save so much from your monthly electricity bill that the systems will have paid for themselves within a few months or years. In fact – come to think of it – the larger your energy consumption, the more sense it makes for you to go solar.
And if you’re still not convinced, consider this: China, the global leader in low cost manufacturing, is investing heavily in rooftop solar systems to meet its rising energy demands. It is pushing for systems in factories, schools and even greenhouses to tap into the abundant source of energy.
India is one of the sunniest countries in the world, so the potential for rooftop solar here is only limited by how much space you can find!