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Submitted by: MANSI BEDI, M.ARCH, IV SEM


In India the sun is of particular significance as an energy resource because of the abudance
of solar or sun irradiation. Although, this abundance varies from location to location and
also according to the prevailing season, it is predictable.
The technology most central to harnessing energy from the sun is the solar collector
popularly known as the solar cell. The solar cell is a wide-area, semi-conductor diode made
out pure silicon to which impurities are added in a controlled doping process. The module
absorbs photons of sunlight to create a potential difference across a junction

1. Benefits
Power generated from solar modules has the following advantages over the power
generation of traditional sources:
Solar modules produce power passively when exposed
to sunlight without any moving parts. This makes them
maintenance-free and therefore long-lasting. (Some
warranties are for up to 20 years.)
The fuel required for them to operate is free sunshine.
They are harmless to the environment.
Various manufacturers of solar modules exist and some of the
best of these are manucatured under the trade names: (a)
Siemens (b) British Petroleum (BP) (c) Kyocera (d) Solarex (e)
Helios (f) Solec (g) ASE (h) Unisolar; etc.
A small 55 watt solar module can produce up to 440 watts in 8 hours of peak sunshine. We
assume the population of India is 120 million with an average of 5 persons/household. If
each household installs one 55 watt solar module, the total amount of power generated
daily, for an average of 20 years is:
120,000,000 x 440 = approximately 5,300 MW (megawatts) daily 1
This is a substantial amount of power which can be fed into the utility via utilityinterconnect devices.

2. System Components in a Solar Installation

Other peripheral equipment is required for harnessing solar energy.They are:

The solar panel

The solar panel is composed of solar cells that collect solar radiation and transform it into
electrical energy. This part of the system is sometimes referred to as a solar module or
photovoltaic generator. Solar panel arrays can be
made by connecting a set of panels in series
and/or parallel in order to provide the necessary
energy for a given load. The electrical current
supplied by a solar panel varies proportionally to
the solar radiation. This will vary according to
climatological conditions, the hour of the day, and
the time of the year.
Several technologies are used in the
manufacturing of solar cells. The most common is The solar panel,
crystalline silicon, and can be either Source:
monocrystalline or polycrystalline. Amorphous silicon can be cheaper but is less efficient at
converting solar
Storage systems or (batteries) provide continuity of power once power generation ceases at
night or during overcast weather. Storage systems remain one of the biggest challenges
confronting the R.E (renewable energy) industry.
Batteries still remain the most popular way to store
the power generated from solar modules. There are
different types of batteries but the ones specified
for solar energy usage are the deep cycle type.
These are very expensive.
The battery stores the energy produced by the panels
that is not immediately consumed by the load. This
stored energy can then be used during periods of low
solar irradiation. The battery component is also sometimes called the accumulator. Batteries store
electricity in the form of chemical energy. The most common type of batteries used in solar
applications are maintenance-free lead-acid batteries, also called recombinant or VRLA (valve
regulated lead acid) batteries.

Aside from storing energy, sealed lead-acid batteries also serve two important functions:
They are able to provide an instantaneous power superior to what the array of
panels can generate. This instantaneous power is needed to start some appliances,
such as the motor of a refrigerator or a pump.
They determine the operating voltage of oner installation.

For a small power installation and where space constraints are important, other type of
batteries (such as NiCd, NiMh, or Li-ion) can be used. These types of batteries need a
specialized charger/regulator and cannot directly replace lead-acid batteries.
The Regulator
The regulator (or more formally, the solar power charge regulator) assures that the battery
is working in appropriate conditions. It avoids overcharging or overdischarging the battery,
both of which are very detrimental to the life of the battery. To ensure proper charging and
discharging of the battery, the regulator maintains knowledge of the state of charge (SoC) of
the battery. The SoC is estimated based on the actual voltage of the battery. By measuring
the battery voltage and being programmed
with the type of storage technology used by
the battery, the regulator can know the
precise points where the battery would be
overcharged or excessively discharged.
The regulator can include other features
that add valuable information and security
control to the equipment. These features
measurement of ampere-hour, timers, : A 30 amp solar charge controller, Source:
alarms, etc. While convenient, none of these
features are required for a working photovoltaic system.
The electricity provided by the panel array and battery is DC at a fixed voltage. The voltage
provided might not match what is required by oner load. A direct/alternating (DC/AC)
converter, also known as inverter, converts the DC current from oner batteries into AC. This
comes at the price of losing some energy during the conversion. If necessary converters to
obtain DC at voltage level other than what is supplied by the batteries, can be used. DC/DC
converters also lose some energy during the
conversion. For optimal operation, design
oner solar-powered system to match the
generated DC voltage to match the load
should be used.
The load
The load is the equipment that consumes
the power generated by oner energy
system. The load may include wireless
workstations, lamps, TV sets, VSAT
modems, etc. Although it is not possible to

An 800 watt inverter, Source:

precisely calculate the exact total consumption of oner equipment, it is vital to be able to
make a good estimate. In this type of system it is absolutely necessary to use efficient and
low power equipment to avoid wasting energy.
Putting it all together
The complete photovoltaic system incorporates all of these components. The solar panels
generate power when solar energy is available. The regulator ensures the most efficient
operation of the panels and prevents damage to the batteries. The battery bank stores
collected energy for later use. Converters and inverters adapt the stored energy to match
the requirements of oner load. Finally, the load consumes the stored energy to do work.
When all of the
components are
in balance and
maintained, the
support itself for

A typical solar powered backup system,


3. Types Of Application
Being modular, renewable (i.e, solar) power systems can be tailored to a wide variety of
applications, tasks or situations, some large and some small. Within a single system , the size
range varies from the small battery backup one-unit inverter/charger for single unit
computers, to the sophisticated solar/utility system in the VSAT (NuNet area). Both quality,
scale and sophistication are on the upward trend.

Types of Applications for a solar powered system,

1. Typical Grid tie solar installation installation
2. Gird- tie solarmodule installation with battery backup
3. Off grid installation
4. Solar Power backup system

Non-battery systems.
Some renewable systems require no power storage facility at all; these employ the direct
use of the sun in which solar modules generate electricity for immediate use, as in
community borehole water pumping applications. In this case enough electricity is
generated during the day to fill the tank for continuous usage.
Battery based backup systems
There are also systems which are not wholly renewable as they consist of batteries charged
by grid power or generators (without the solar modules) for use during power outages.

These backup systems are affordable to a wider number of people for providing continunity
during power outages for lights, computers, televisions, etc.

Typical indoor installation for a solar powered back up system,

Source: Company brochure for Trace Engineering, The power company

PV- generator or PV-utility hybrids

Hybrid systems which take power from the generator or the grid when it is available to
supplement what is being generated from a solar array which would not otherwise provide
the entire power requirement. This obviously is a cost-saving device in todays cash
strapped environment; moreover solar power helps to keep storage sysems in top
conditions much better than rectifiers or chargers.
Other possibilities that exist are the standalone PV systems in which the solar modules are
the sole source of power for residence or office.
There are other hybrid systems such as the the solarwind hybrid systems in which solar
power and small winddriven turbines provide the power requirement complementing one
another for continuity.
Whichever option one chooses certain principles apply:

The system can always be re-engineered in either direction being modular to suit the
task at hand.
Absolute efficiency is required in application of power for best results.

4. Other Applications of Photovoltaics

Cathodic protection is a method of protecting metal structures from corrosion. It is
applicable to bridges, pipelines, buildings, tanks, wells and railway lines. To achieve cathodic
protection a small negative voltage is applied to the metal structure and this prevents it
from oxidising or rusting. The positive terminal of the source is connected to a sacrificial
anode that is generally a piece of scrap metal, which corrodes instead of the structure.
Photovoltaic solar cells are often used in remote locations to provide this voltage.
Electric Fences
Electric fences are widely used in agriculture to prevent stock or predators from entering or
leaving an enclosed field. These fences usually have one or two 'live' wires that are
maintained at about 500 volts DC. These give a painful, but harmless shock to any animal
that touches them. This is generally sufficient to prevent stock from pushing them over.
These fences are also used in wildlife enclosures and secure areas. They require a high
voltage but very little current and they are often located in remote areas where the cost of
electric power is high. These requirements can be met by a photovoltaic system involving
solar cells, a power conditioner and a battery.

In remote locations, photovoltaics can provide the energy requirements for electric fencing

Remote Lighting Systems

Lighting is often required at remote locations where the cost of power is too high to
consider using the grid. Such applications include security lighting, navigation aids (eg buoys
and beacons), illuminated road signs, railway crossing signs and village lighting. Solar cells

are suited to such applications, although a storage battery is always required in such
systems. They usually consist of a PV panel plus a storage battery, power conditioner and a
low voltage, high efficiency DC fluorescent lamp. These systems are very popular in remote
areas, especially in developing countries and this is one of the major applications of solar

Remote lighting systems

Telecommunications and Remote Monitoring Systems

Good communications are essential for improving the quality of life in remote areas.
However the cost of electric power to drive these systems and the high cost of maintaining
conventional systems has limited their use. Photovoltaics has provided a cost-effective
solution to this problem through the development of remote area telecommunications
repeater stations. These typically consist of a receiver, a transmitter and a PV based power
supply system. Thousands of these systems have been installed around the world and they
have an excellent reputation for reliability and relatively low costs for operation and
Similar principles apply to solar powered radios and television sets, emergency telephones
and monitoring systems. Remote monitoring systems may be used for collecting weather
data or other environmental information and for transmitting it automatically via radio to
the home base.
Solar Powered Water Pumping
There are more than 10,000 solar powered water pumps in use in the world today. They are
widely used on farms and outback stations in Australia to supply water to livestock. In
developing countries they are used extensively to pump water from wells and rivers to

villages for domestic consumption and irrigation of crops. A typical PV-powered pumping
system consists of a PV array that powers an electric motor, which drives a pump. The water
is often pumped from the ground or stream into a storage tank that provides a gravity feed.
No energy storage is needed for these systems. PV powered pumping systems are widely
available from agricultural equipment suppliers and they are a cost-effective alternative to
agricultural wind turbines for remote area water supply.

Solar powered water pump

Rural Electrification
Storage batteries are widely used in remote areas to provide low voltage electrical power
for lighting and communications as well as for vehicles. A PV powered battery charging
system usually consists of a small PV array plus a charge controller. These systems are
widely used in rural electrification projects in developing countries.
Water Treatment Systems
In remote areas electric power is often used to disinfect or purify drinking water.
Photovoltaic cells are used to power a strong ultraviolet light that can be used to kill
bacteria in drinking water. This can be combined with a solar powered water pumping
Desalination of brackish water can be achieved via PV powered reverse osmosis systems.
These are used in arid parts of Australia to produce fresh water from artesian supplies.
Miscellaneous Applications of Solar Cells

Photovoltaics can ben used in a variety of environments, on Earth, Space and Mars

Photovoltaics can be used in a variety of applications including:

consumer products such as watches, toys and calculators

emergency power systems
vaccine and blood storage refrigerators for remote areas
aeration systems for ponds
power supplies for satellites and space vehicles
portable power supplies for camping and fishing