A grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) system or grid-connected energy system is a system connected to the utility grid. They are used to collect energy from the sun, convert it into electricity, and supply power to homes and commercial units. These systems are also known as grid-tied solar systems and can be installed on commercial or residential rooftops. In addition, the generated solar electricity can be used in all types of electrical sockets and ports.
This PV system consists of a simple design and is more cost-effective than other photovoltaic models. One of the main reasons why most people are installing a grid-connected PV system is that it allows consumers to use solar electricity when there is no sunshine. Also, rooftop solar system maintenance is relatively simple and needs less often.
What are the Main Components of a Grid-Connected PV System?
Mainly, five components are used in the designing of a grid-connected photovoltaic system. All these components function together for electricity production and supply power to the essential electrical loads.
- Solar panels collect sunlight and transform it into direct current electricity, which is sent to a solar inverter.
- Solar inverter converts received DC power into AC electricity and supplies it to the homes.
- A bidirectional meter or net meter imports the exported units from the main grid at night and keeps all electrical appliances running on solar electricity. The process of power exchange is called net metering. The Indian government has approved this facility in every Indian state and Union Territory.
- Grid is like a certain type of battery where additional power is sent and accessed again when required.
- Mounting structures are structures or stands where solar panel systems are mounted. These structures must be strong enough to handle the weight of mounted solar panels.
Alongside these main components, there are some miscellaneous equipment that are used in the making of a grid-connected photovoltaic system. It includes Earthing strips & cables, AC cables, MC4 connectors, DC cables, a DC combiner box, and an AC combiner box.
What are the Different Types of Grid-Connected PV Systems?
1. String inverter system
As the name suggests, these sorts of PV systems use a string inverter to convert DC power into AC power.
2. Micro-inverter system
These are highly energy-efficient systems that use micro-inverters connected to each solar panel. Since each panel works independently, they offer more electricity production.
3. Central inverter system
A central inverter is used in these sorts of PV systems to transform DC electricity into AC power. These systems are best suited for large-scale solar installations.
4. Battery backup system
This grid-connected PV system has a battery backup that stores excess power from the sunlight and saves it for access during emergencies. Businesses or homeowners can use stored energy from a battery bank during high energy demand or power outages.
5. Hybrid system
These grid-connected photovoltaic systems are the perfect combination of central inverter and micro-inverter systems. Micro-inverters are used for optimum electricity generation while a battery bank and central inverters ensure reliable backup during emergencies.
How Grid-Connected PV Systems Produce Electricity?
The process of producing power from grid-connected photovoltaic systems starts with converting the absorbed sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. The produced DC electricity is then transformed into alternating current or AC electricity using an inverter. The AC electricity is then transferred to the electrical grid to be supplied to commercial complexes, homes, and other buildings.
If the PV system produces extra electricity, it will be sent back to the electrical grid. The consumers can get credits on their monthly electricity bills for excess electricity they fed. They can access the electricity from the grid during power outages, cloudy days, or whenever their PV systems are not producing sufficient electricity. The electrical grid works as an emergency power backup.
How Using a Grid-Connected PV System Can Benefit You?
A grid-connected photovoltaic system has various advantages including the following –
- Installing grid-connected PV systems is a simple process and doesn’t need any additional space. They can be conveniently installed on your rooftop.
- The grid-connected systems ensure a constant supply of reliable electricity. So, you will have enough power during scarcity of sunlight or a technical issue.
- These systems comprise a low gestation period.
- The extra produced energy can be sold back to the grid in exchange for credits, improving the system’s efficiency.
- Compared to other types of solar systems, advanced models of a grid-connected photovoltaic system are cheaper because they don’t need extra batteries for solar energy storage.
- Maintaining these systems doesn’t charge higher costs and a lot of effort because they don’t have complicated inverters or batteries.
- Since sunlight is the only source of electricity, installing this type of solar system for commercial building or residential properties can reduce electricity consumption and utility bills.
- Alongside household power applications, grid-connected PV systems can be used as a sustainable and affordable energy source in educational institutions, commercial facilities, and industrial units.
- The grid-connected PV systems are environment-friendly devices that work without harmful carbon emissions and no water pollution of any type.
Cost of a Grid-Connected PV System
The installation cost can vary based on your power consumption needs, the year of installation, system type you are selecting, inverter cost, system size, features of your system, and many more factors. However, the average installation cost of a 1 KW grid-connected PV system can range between INR 45,000 to INR 60,000.
You can save on installation costs by taking the benefit of government subsidies, offered for residential rooftop solar system installation. The subsidy amount can differ from state to state and is based on your solar system capacity.
Switching to renewable grid-connected solar systems is a convenient and sustainable choice. It helps in protecting the environment from carbon emissions and enjoys savings on money with reduced electricity bills. If you want to learn more about this system to enhance solar energy adoption and determine if it would be suitable for your home, then contact us at Megamax Solar to share your customized needs.