On-grid Solar Could Change the Face of The Energy Industry in India
On-grid solar is preferred by masses as it provides an additional advantage to earn from your solar system. People can install an on-grid solar systems and enjoy the benefit of net metering policies to avail a credit in their electricity bills. But before the installation a buyer has numerous questions in his mind regarding the concept, subsidies, suppliers, method of installation, prevailing net metering rules etc. In this article, we attempt to answer all these queries.
What is On Grid Solar System?
An on-grid or grid-connected solar system is one which is connected to the grid and can function when the utility power grid is available.
Such a system can send the excess power generated back to the grid and enjoy a credit for that in the utility bills. As night falls, your electricity needs are taken care by the power grid.
How an On-grid solar system works?
The light from the sun falls on the solar panels from where electricity is generated. This DC from the sun is converted into AC with the help of the inverter, which is then used by us in the house or any commercial establishment. Till this stage operations of any solar system is the same. The main difference is beyond this point. After the electricity that is consumed by us, there can be two routes for the extra energy generated:
- It can be either stored in batteries for use at a later part of the day (off-grid solar system) or
- Fed to the grid (on-grid solar system).
Why On Grid Solar System is Important/Why We Install On-grid solar system?
Reduce your electricity bills - One of the biggest advantage of using an on-grid solar system is to reduce your electricity bill expenses. You can get a credit for the excess power that you sent back to the grid. Based on the feed-in-tariff rates (tariff fixed by government, for purchase of the solar power generated from solar plants) in your area your electricity bill is reduced for the amount of power that you have sold to the power grid.
Benefits of On Grid Solar System
a. Lower Payback time - A grid connected solar system saves you money on your electricity bill by sending back any excess power generated to the grid. Hence their cost is recovered over 3-8 years, depending upon your usage.
b. Easy to install - Installation of an on-grid system is easy and can be done by oneself on the rooftop. A minimum of 100 square feet is required for every Kilowatt of installation.
Other than residential rooftops, rooftops of commercial complex, housing societies, community centers, government organizations, private institutions etc. can also be utilized for such installation.
c. Less Costly - Since an on-grid solar system does not require batteries, it is cheaper to install when compared to an off-grid system.
d. Less Maintenance - An on-grid solar system involves less maintenance and generally has a longer life when compared to an off-grid system.
e. Subsidies and Other Incentives - Other than the above mentioned advantages, an entity installing an on-grid rooftop solar system enjoys several incentives and subsidies from the government, which differs from state to state and countries to countries. For example, the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has allowed for the benefits of net metering on rooftop solar installations of up to 1 MW in size. Similar policies exist in Kerala and Rajasthan. While Tamil Nadu does not prescribe net metering laws for industrial establishments. Other than attaining the green credential, a 20% subsidy is available on on-grid solar system. One can get a capital subsidy of upto INR 20,000 per Kilowatt. However, the eligible party should have a grid-connected, battery-less system and should be a domestic consumer to claim the benefit. You can convert your own property into a revenue generating avenue by investing in solar and achieving ROI in just 4-5 years.
How to get Subsidy
- His own electricity meter
- Valid identity proof and papers of his property can go for the installation of an on-grid solar system.
- Also, it must be kept in mind that the government cannot allow a larger meter than previous meter.
Read Full Details: How do I get subsidy on solar panels purchase in Haryana?
The only major disadvantage of an on-grid solar system is that it is not able to function or generate electricity during a blackout or power outage. The reason being, in case of a power cut, if the solar system keeps on supplying electricity to the grid, it might risk the lives of the people working on the damaged grid.
An on-grid solar system requires fewer components to operate when compared to its other contemporaries. The main components of an on-grid solar system are:
- Solar panels
- Solar Inverter
- Switch board
- Electricity meter/ meter box
- Electricity grid
We are familiar with most of the other parts except the electric meter or meter box. A meter box is a bi-directional meter that calculates the amount of electricity you are exporting or importing.
At the end of the billing period, if energy exported to the grid is greater than imported, then the distribution company pays the consumer. While, if energy imported exceeds energy exported, then the consumer pays the distribution company.
Accessories To be Used:
- ACB / DCB Box
- DC Wire
- Nut & Bolts
Loom Solar Introduces portable Solar Installation kit for 2 nos. of solar panel.
- Pre galvanized structure with corrosion proof
- height up to 3 feet
- long life, Robust design
Provisions of Net Metering
As we said earlier, in a grid-connected solar system, any excess power generated can be sold back to the grid and the customer will be credited for that. But how would you determine the amount of the credit in your electricity bill? Does it make sense to sell excess power to the grid? Could I not benefit from the extra energy generated? All these questions hover on a customer’s mind before taking the decision.
All these questions are determined by a state’s net metering provisions. The feed-in-tariff rates determine how much you will be paid for the extra energy generated from your solar system.
Current status in India
Many countries have attractive feed-in-tariff rates and generous government solar rebates for installing an on-grid solar system. On-grid solar system is very popular in western countries. In India too, grid connected ground mounted systems exceeded their 9 GW installation target for 2017-18 and installed a total of 9009.81 MW.
Rooftop solar has been an area of concern for the Indian government. Despite, various proactive measures taken by the Indian government, rooftop solar has failed to gather the required momentum in India. Lack of support from the local distribution utilities have been one of the major reasons hindering the growth of rooftop solar through net metering in India. Cumbersome regulations and the approval of the discom for net metering has proved to be the biggest hurdle. Despite nearly all the Indian states announcing net metering policies for rooftop solar, there are practical issues around grid integration and DISCOM finances.
The economics of rooftop solar energy in India has become extremely compelling. It makes great sense for commercial and industrial customers to use rooftop solar energy as it has become much cheaper than the grid electricity.
Benchmark Cost of Grid Connected Rooftop Solar in India
Leading On Grid Solar Brands in India are:
4. Trina Solar
5. Vikram Solar
6. Tata Power
9. Canadian Solar
11. Waaree Energies
12. Jinko Solar
How to install an on-grid solar system in 10 simple steps:
Step-1: A homeowner starts the search for supplier, installer, company etc. Nowadays, it is easier to compare options by looking online.
Step-2: The next step is to contact the shortlisted candidates and request a home visit to assess the rooftop solar potential.
Step-3: An engineer from the firm visits the spot.
Step-4: He assesses the rooftop for installation purpose. He checks the strength, capacity, available area for the installation.
Step-5: Next he checks all the home connections and loads.
Step-6: The engineer then discusses all his findings with the clients and explains about the benefits of going solar.
Step-7: He helps the client to take the right decision and install an on-grid solar system on his rooftop.
Step-8: The customer can choose from a long list of suppliers that are present in India.
Step-9: Depending upon the brand and price which ranges from INR 45,000 - INR 75,000 per Kilowatt in India, the customer makes his choice.
Step-10: The customer can check reviews and regular updates about the working of the system from the vendors.
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Price of On Grid Solar System:
The price of an on-grid solar system could cost between INR 45,000 and INR 75,000 per Kilowatt in India depending upon the brand you chose. Or the average cost of grid-connected rooftop solar systems is about Rs. 75 per watt.
We see the numerous benefits of installing a grid connected solar system. Not only does it increase your green footprint and makes you eco-friendly, but also aids in reducing your electricity expenses each month. This program is successfully running in countries like Australia, Canada, Italy, Spain, Denmark and United States. In India, net metering could act as an important incentive for consumer investment in onsite renewable energy generation and encourage consumers to go solar.