In India, the energy usage demand is increasing quickly nowadays. Electricity is the main contributor to the economic growth of the country. The electricity that is supplied to your residential or commercial space comes from a common grid. The large-scale power plants deposit power straight into the national grid and then it is supplied to customers. The growing power consumption demand has resulted in the high reliance on fossil fuels, which is believed to end by 2050.
The increasing fossil fuel prices, chances of future power shortages, risk of increasing global warming, and loss of energy during transmission are some common concerns to go for a solar system for commercial building, residential group societies, and homes.
The shift to renewable solar energy provides the best solution to the power crisis in India. Sustainable solar power provides a reliable and constant supply of electricity even when a centralized grid fails. Currently, renewable energy provides great opportunity and doesn’t involve fuel supply challenges or gestation time as involved in traditional centralized plans.
What are solar microgrids?
Solar microgrids are decentralized energy systems powered by a distributed source – solar energy. These systems are an array of PV or photovoltaic cells that produce energy and send it to a PCU (power conditioning unit). PCU is a central controller that transfers electricity straight to shops, homes, commercial buildings, street lights, industrial users, and other areas.
If during the day, the produced solar energy is extra or unused, the power controlling unit transfers it to the battery bank for further consumption – after sunset or during a power outage. These structures don’t possess increased capacities. They generally range between as small as 100kW to some MW. A solar microgrid is faster and cheaper to deploy. They can operate with or without the main power grid support. Solar microgrid uses hybrid or off-grid inverters to become completely independent.
How does a solar microgrid work?
A photovoltaic (PV) array or a group of solar panels absorbs energy from the sun. These panels are linked to a solar charge controller to transfer the electricity. The controller is responsible for regulating the voltage and current. It helps in protecting the panels and batteries from potential damage happened due to overcharging by transforming the power into usable electricity.
The entire electricity is then moved to a combiner box which provides complete system protection. Moreover, it also helps in preventing the loss of energy during transmission and facilitates system performance monitoring. It also consolidates the power being generated into a single connection.
The entire electricity is then channeled to an inverter through this connection. The inverter transforms power from DC to AC to easily run everyday household appliances, power machinery, and more electronic appliances.
The surplus energy produced at a certain time will be stored in solar batteries for future use and reduce dependency on the main grid. It also prevents the possibility of fluctuations in supply during bad weather, overnight, or other situations of low production. Sometimes, extra power is given to the main grid for boosted efficiency. The power going through the inverter runs via one or more meters that keep a record of power consumption by individual users or the community. From this point, the electricity is supplied to end users like industrial buildings, houses, residential flats, etc.
Need for solar microgrids
The advanced solar microgrids become an excellent substitute for other off-grid sources including diesel because of the following reasons –
Round-the-clock power supply
Multiple houses are plunged into darkness when the centralized grid fails or power goes down due to poor climatic conditions, natural disasters, or other reasons. The solar microgrid provides a great solution of it by offering a 24*7 power supply. Not just for homeowners but access to reliable electricity helps in performing rescue operations during natural disasters.
Solar microgrids offer a regular power supply in remote areas having no grid infrastructure or lack reliable electricity. In Indian urban regions, businesses can go for solar microgrid installation to power their crucial business operations and ensure better productivity.
Save the nature
Traditional power sources like fossil fuels are becoming unstable and cause environmental damage during electricity production by releasing harmful gas emissions. Diesel is not just frightfully expensive but also leads to polluting the nearby environment also. Switching to clean and sustainable solar energy is a good move to promote renewable energy throughout the world and save the planet as no greenhouse gas emissions, waste, or pollution are produced.
How solar microgrids can be beneficial?
The main benefit of installing a solar microgrid is its simple setup process and a cost-effective solution. Compared to conventional electricity, solar microgrids prove much more cost-effective. These systems provide enhanced reliability to the users by acting as an independent system with the capability of islanding power generation. This reliability is incredibly helpful in isolated and rural areas where the main grid is unavailable or damaged.
Just like rooftop solar system maintenance, microgrids also need minimal maintenance. It is generally recommended to clean the system regularly whenever you notice any dust, dirt, or dip in power production. A typical microgrid can include wind turbines, solar panels, diesel generators, and biogas. Thus, if solar production doesn’t prove sufficient to meet the demand, the controller can get power from other sources to ensure a consistent power supply.
Another advantage of using microgrids is meeting the power demand of small geographical regions during peak hours. These systems decrease the load on the national grid. Moreover, these solar systems can be scaled according to the rising power demands.
What is the cost of a solar microgrid?
The cost of a solar microgrid can vary based on the size of the grid, logistical costs dictated by location, the ownership model, and the complexity. In a group housing solar microgrid, a common payment model would consist of homeowners paying charges monthly either based on the consumption as determined by a meter or through a flat rate.
The entire consumption charges are collected and managed by a central body having members of the community and assigned to pay the installation, repair, and network upgrade costs. In a privately owned microgrid, a private firm would consider a profit margin in pricing. The installation cost of the solar microgrid will be higher in extremely remote regions than in cities.
Solar microgrids are sustainable solutions to solve power security problems in independent India. The leading players in the solar sector offering the 10 best solar panels plan to install around 10,000 solar microgrids over the coming six years to deliver electricity to millions of users across the nation. If you’re looking for solar microgrid installation, contact Megamax Solar experts to get an affordable solution based on your customized needs.