Solar PV

What is a Solar PV System?

When light strikes an object at a certain energy level or higher, electrons are released from it. This phenomenon is called the photoelectric effect. The frequency of light determines its energy level. Red has a lower energy level and violet has a higher energy level. It is this high energy level that kills life in ultraviolet light. This phenomenon has a small oddity. Suppose you have to hit a small rod with a hammer at a weight of one kilogram, then no matter how many times you hit it with a weight of less than a kilogram, it will just make a noise. Similarly, even if you hit with ten kilos or one kilo, the bend will not change significantly. If you hit with ten kilos, the remaining nine will be wasted. So is solar power. A good portion of what is gained will be lost in the heat. This is one reason why the efficiency of the solar thermal system is generally above 70%, while the efficiency of the PV system is reduced to close to 15%.

Solar panels are technically a diode. As they get heated up electrons flow in only one direction due to the diode nature. The leakage of the diode increases with temperature, resulting in reduced output. Therefore, it is not necessary to get more power when you get more sunlight. However, by making some changes in the creation of the panels, this efficiency can be increased. Increasing the efficiency of the panel will reduce the overall panel size but increase the cost. High-efficiency panels are recommended only if you can afford it and you have limited space. Panels used for space travel can have an efficiency of up to 30%. The price will go up as well. Low-efficiency panels are available from Rs 20 per watt.

When solar panels are used for homes and similar energy needs, the cost is more important than efficiency. Normally the average lifespan of any electrical appliance is fifteen years. But we rarely use any devices beyond five years. Because technology becomes obsolete in a flash. This factor should be taken into account in the case of solar panels also. Accordingly, it may be a misconception to assume that a solar panel will have a lifespan of more than ten years. So while calculating the revenue and cost of the solar panel, we should take into account the battery life and limit it to eight to ten years. Figures on industrial-scale solar power generation will change.

Technically the lifespan of a polycrystalline solar panel is 25 years. That is the time taken for a 1kW panel's capacity to get reduced to 0.8kW. In the first ten years, the capacity of that panel will be 0.9kW. The law stipulates that panel providers must pay compensation or replace the panel if it goes below that. Non-polycrystalline panels will vary in price and durability. While the life span of a dye-sensitized group is shorter, that of a monocrystalline one is longer. But how much should we pay for the extra/ less life, that's the question.

Silicon is one of the most abundant elements on Earth. A polycrystalline solar panel is one of the simplest devices that can be made with silicon. There is no other technology in this field that is so valuable as long as space limitation is not an issue. We believe that only something like ‘a biological panel that grows on its own and repairs itself’ can beat it.

Should I buy a solar panel or not?

At present, the maximum amount to be paid for KSEB's electricity is up to Rs 8. As long as the power to set the price of electricity is vested in the Government of Kerala and KSEB, the price will not skyrocket. KSEB is currently an electricity surplus company. Existing electricity itself cannot be sold. On an industrial scale, the price of solar power fell below Rs 5. If KSEB's electricity price goes up too much, people won't buy it. KSEB pays about 3.50 paise for surplus unused/unsold electricity. As the surplus power increases, so does the loss.

At the same time, when installing solar panels in homes, the actual cost is above Rs 10 per unit. The main problem is in the calculation of life expectancy. Life expectancy at home is 10 years, while in the industry it is 20-25 years. Similarly, on an industrial scale, the production capacity of a plant is 100kW or more. Then the installation cost per kilowatt will be much less. While the average installation cost for a 1KW capacity system is close to Rs 30,000 for 100kW, we can do it in less than INR1000 per kW. Looking at these figures, solar panelling for home use may seem like a luxury.

Is energy freedom necessary?

When we talk about the basic needs of human beings, we talk about food, shelter and clothing. Is knowledge and energy a basic need? Wahni's political stance states that anything that can determine and control the survival and course of an individual or society can be considered a basic need. Therefore, health, knowledge and energy all come in basic necessities. Fluctuations in petrol-diesel prices can destabilize the financial situation of households, even if they do not have a vehicle at home. Therefore, it is essential for the sustainable existence of the society that energy production should be decentralized and free as soon as possible. If we think our freedom is more important, then every home must have solar or other independent power generation system.

I know it’s a little luxurious. Yet I consider my freedom is more important. What kind of system should I install?

If you decide to switch to solar, first switch your hot water needs and drying needs to solar. Only then think about power requirements. When it comes to power requirements, solar power can be used in three ways.

  1. Grid-Tie Solar
  2. Off-Grid Solar
  3. By Directional-Hybrid Solar

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