Updated: Jul 1, 2021
Apart from producing energy , a well designed solar power plants can improve the power factor , improve overall efficiency by mitigating cable losses and wasteful expenditure on parasitic load.
Solar power plant equipment has evolved and seen tremendous technological advances in the last decade. Today ,it allows us to make full use of the solar radiation by converting it into useful electricity and using it directly without having to integrate any batteries to the system.
The plant shown above is an industrial installation with a peak DC capacity of 565 kWp and peak AC capacity of 460 kWac. Universal Steel Discs , Karnal is leading exporter of agricultural disc blades and implements.
July of 2020 , the factory had just reopened after a 3 month long covid lockdown and trying to clear off the backlog went full capacity . Electricity expenses incurred by the factory was about Rs. 1500000 ($ 20000). This is when the owners decided to go solar. The solar plant project started partially by November and by the mid of March 2021 , 565 kW solar panels were installed and fully operational.
This year in May 2021 again after a 1 month long lockdown the factory went full load. This time though the electricity bill incurred was ~ Rs. 600000( $8000). A whopping 60% drop in electricity expenses in a month.
While financially evaluating solar projects the savings considered should include all factors as modern solar power plants can do a lot more than plainly producing energy. Following is a pie chart showing the breakup of this 8.5 lac rupee savings and how these were well thought of since the design stage of the solar plant.
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Solar power plants can earn green back in the following 4 ways
1) Active power production :- Solar panels produce electricity and they do it quite consistently . Electricity from the solar power plants is grid quality power and can be synchronised with the grid. This means that whatever solar power is available gets consumed on priority and the deficit is drawn from the grid. Mechanisms like net metering allows extra energy to be exported to the grid to which credits are paid by the Discoms. A well installed , premium equipment solar power plant can produce 1500 kWh / kWp per year and degrade only upto 0.75% per year.
2) Power factor correction :- Just as the solar power plant can produce active power it can also produce or absorb reactive power (responsible for bad power factor) . Compared to APFC (automatic power factor correction units) solar power plants can quite accurately mitigate the import or export of reactive power. The advantages apart from high reliability are (a) No maintenance of APFC panels (b) ) unlike capacitors bank they do not induce harmonics in the system (c) can be monitored on daily basis .
3) Energy Efficiency and existing cable losses :- In addition to monitoring the solar production modern systems like SMA , Germany based solar power plants have 360 degree monitoring and control . This means we could monitor each and every parameter of the grid like grid power import , solar power export , reactive power requirements , voltage on all three phases , frequency and currents. This allows the user to clearly see the power consumption pattern and reduce wasteful expenditure.
Summary of monetary benefits for a month at universal steel Discs , Karnal , haryana , India.
Data from the plant :- Daily . monthly and yearly snapshots
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