SolarPower Plants – Making the Right Choice :
India has an ambitious target of setting up 100 GW of solar power by 2022. Out of this 40 GW capacity is expected from onsite solar power plants located in the consumer’s premises. Solar technology and prices have matured as a result of which solar power is an attractive option for industrial and commercial consumers. Simultaneously, a number of solar companies are now offering their EPC services. Due caution is required while selecting an EPC company. Buyers need to evaluate EPC companies on technical as well as commercial parameters.
Load analysis at a consumer’s facility
Improper designs have resulted in problems such as shading of solar modules excess capacity etc. in many projects. A good solar design takes into consideration parameters like shadows, location, structure loading and electricity consumption pattern.
Use of sub-standard materials in solar power plants has created problems for Buyers. Material used in solar power plant can be broadly classified into three items based on commercial value.
a) Modules – They make up about 55% of cost of solar power plant. China has developed large manufacturing base which allows manufacturing of solar modules at affordable cost. Modules of top tier companies should be preferred.
b) Inverters – They are most important components in the solar power system. They not only convert DC to AC but also optimise generation as per changing site conditions. Inverters make up about 12-15% of the cost of the solar project. Most of the inverter technology today is from Europe. Leading inverter manufacturers should be preferred.
|Balanceof the Plant|
c) Balance of Plant – Balance of plant includes module mounting structures, LT panels, cables etc. They are often given less attention compared to modules or inverters as value of these components is lower. However selection of these components is also important and affects performance of the solar plant.
|Improper shading of modules|
Good design can only be of value if it is planned and executed properly. Good project workmanship requires good project management practices, safety standards and material handling practices.
Choosing the right EPC Company is important for getting the most out of a solar power plant. While comparing companies, Buyers should consider parameters like experience of past projects, complexity of installations and understanding of technical aspects. If done and maintained in the right way, a solar power plant will not only reduce electricity bills but will also last long time.
Ashish Tikhe is the Senior Manager – Strategy & New Business at Sunshot Technologies Private Limited. Sunshot Technologies is a leading on-site solar power company. It provides customised solar power solutions industrial and commercial electricity consumers.