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Residential Hybrid Solar Power Systems: Soaking up the sun's rays is great

Even after your solar power system has been completed, convincing everyone in the family to use less electricity is not as straightforward as you may believe.

Going solar is not all it's cracked up to be, especially if your neighbours do not comprehend the experimental nature of establishing a grid-connected solar power system.

Solar Panels

Conduct research

When I first began investigating solar power systems, I found the entire process intimidating. We're being urged to pay as much as we would on a car, but there are few regulating agencies to ensure that we're not all purchasing the equivalent of a Ferrari label affixed to the hood.

In order to help you make a more educated decision regarding household solar power systems, I will describe what I did and why I did it. However, I am not an expert in this topic; consequently, I recommend that you spend several hours conducting your own study.

Energy analysis

Having a prepaid power system made it simple for me to determine that our daily average usage was approximately 60 kWh. If you do not know how much electricity you use on a daily basis, installing a solar power system to get you through rolling blackouts or load shedding will be ineffective.

As you conduct your own energy audit for battery-backed devices, you will quickly realise that any equipment with a heating element is an energy hog. During a blackout, if you have a 5kW inverter and use a toaster (about 1kW), an electric kettle (1.6kW), and a microwave oven (1.4kW) in addition to the AC (2kW), you have overloaded the inverter.

Worse yet, warranties on certain inverters, including certain Growatt types, are voided if the inverter is overloaded. Therefore, if you don't take the time to discover how much electricity your appliances need, you could overload your inverter and violate the guarantee within a few days of its installation.

I solicited bids from at least three businesses, asking each installer the same 15 questions.

- Do not naively trust what the solar power installers say you, since suddenly everyone quoting you will have been in the solar industry since Ra was a toddler.

- Compare their responses to your own study and speak with individuals who have already installed solar energy systems. You'll be spending between INR6,00,000 and INR15,00,000, so take your time selecting an installer who provides the finest advise for your circumstance.

- One of our prospective installers said that with a 3kW inverter and a 3kW battery, he could reduce our energy consumption by more than 70%. That sounded too good to be true, and it was, because he failed to inform me that his plan to save us 70% would include disconnecting our geysers, refrigerators, and washing machines from the inverter.

There are advantages and disadvantages to excluding geysers from solar power systems, which means that they will only ever draw power from DISCOM/the power grid. This will prevent the AC from ever draining your battery, but that was not our requirement.


Do not abandon the grid

We are all upset with how local DISCOMs operates, but going off-grid is not an option. There are times when the power grid is useful, such as during a week of rainy weather when your solar panels produce less than 30 percent of their regular output.

And if something goes wrong (and something usually goes wrong) with any of your system's components and the inverter stops producing electricity to your home, you'll be thankful that the grid is still an alternative. A grid-connected/hybrid system is the optimal solution for most household solar power requirements.

Converting sunshine into cash

Solar panels are cumbersome. Ours are 545W monocrystalline panels (polycrystalline panels are inefficient in foggy conditions) weighing approximately 40kg each. Due to the age of our home, we had to replace some of the roof beams to ensure that the solar panels' weight would not be an issue.

I spent a considerable amount of time observing which areas of the roof received the most sunshine during the day and ensuring that no trees were blocking it. I saw that one of our neighbours had put fifteen super-duper glass solar panels throughout this process. They are gorgeous, completely black, and sparkle joyfully in the sun.

After overcoming my panel envy, I approached our street's WhatsApp group for recommendations on solar power installers, and we ultimately chose a business recommended by one of my neighbours.

In addition to answering the seemingly endless number of questions I had, I enjoyed that Bigwit Energy aimed to reduce our overall electricity consumption. Their primary objective was to teach me how to use the energy generated by the panels to "convert sunlight into money." They also offered a financing option, which we did not use because we elected to extend our bond.

What we did

There were two 200-litre geysers in the main residence and one in the cottage. We turned off one of the home's geysers and immediately saved 20 kWh per day.

We replaced the 4kW elements in the two remaining geysers with 2kW elements and implemented timers to prevent the geysers from being on continuously.

When you build a solar power system, you can place certain appliances, such as the electric stove, on the necessary list (these appliances will draw power from the inverter) and others, such as the refrigerator, on the non-essential list (these appliances will only be powered by the grid and not by the inverter).

We decided to include everything but the electric stove on the list of necessities, including the pool pump. We accomplished this so that we could use energy-intensive appliances (the washing machine, dishwasher, pool pump, and geysers) between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the sun is shining, to maximise the efficiency of our solar panels.

We began with seven solar panels, a 5kW battery (always choose lithium over lead or gel) and a 5kW UTL inverter. I chose the UTL inverter because we can put up to 13 panels on one inverter, and if we want to expand the system, we can install a second UTL inverter with extra panels that can be linked to the present inverter so that the entire system runs as one.

After a few weeks, we added three additional solar panels, and after experiencing four-hour outages, we added another 5kW battery because the existing battery barely lasted the duration.

During nighttime power outages, we do not use large appliances and turn off the geysers. The battery powers the refrigerators, freezers, outside LED lighting, Wi-Fi router, laptops, and electric fence.

When we experience blackouts during the day, we use more appliances and turn on the geysers because the 10 solar panels generate around 5.4kW of energy during the day. With a 5kW inverter, you can have 10kW of batteries, but any more than that may strain the inverter. We built a second battery since we are approaching the rainy season, and four-hour blackouts on gloomy days without maximum power output from the solar panels will necessitate battery reserves.

Things will not go well

We installed the entire system in the spare bedroom so that I can monitor it.

Using the app on my iPhone, I am able to track our usage and the amount of power generated by the solar panels. Even when I turn on my appliances one at a time, I can see how much energy each one is consuming.

I frequently adjust the battery levels to ensure that they drop to 50% twice a day (when there are no power outages), as this prolongs the life of batteries. When we experience rolling blackouts, I alter the charging schedules such that the batteries are fully charged prior to the power outage.

As soon as we put the additional three solar panels, the inverter began to send power back to the grid, which was clearly not intended.

This issue enraged the Bigwit technician, Gurjant , and me because this was a brand-new system that should have been operating flawlessly. Gurjant double-checked that each component was installed correctly. Then he removed the inverter and returned it to UTL, who graciously inspected it practically immediately because it was fresh new.

UTL found no wrong with the inverter, but once Gurjant restored it, it continued to deliver electricity to the grid. Eventually, he chose to replace the Current Transformer unit, which turned out to be defective, as soon as he inserted the replacement, everything was back to normal.

This experience made me glad that I chose Bigwit Energy because things will go wrong with your installation, and when they do, you'll be glad that you interrogated the installers thoroughly and chose one that is devoted to getting the job done correctly.

Pay when your earnings increase

We did not have Rs 20 lacs to invest on our solar power system, so we decided to start small and "pay as you grow," or add components as we could afford to. However, if you do not need to adhere to a budget, you can opt for a 15kW system right away and keep your air conditioner, water heaters, and electric kettle.

The additional solar panels and battery have increased our initial installation cost of Rs6,32,000 to Rs18,24,000 This is the reason why the entire system is covered by our homeowner's insurance.

Using LED lighting, using key appliances during daylight hours, and adding geyser timers and lower kilowatt elements have allowed us to reduce our daily grid power consumption to 20 kWh. This represents a 66% savings, yet our lights remain on during blackouts. Despite the fact that none of this has been simple to accomplish, it was all worth it.

The system must be constantly monitored and adjusted, particularly during load shedding, to guarantee that none of the appliances deplete the batteries, which must be at 100 percent before the lights go out at night.

Several questions to ask a potential solar energy installer:

What happens if the inverter, the battery, or the solar panels malfunction?

How long do typical component repairs typically take?

Will you remove damaged components and return them to the manufacturer/importer if something goes wrong?

What are the equipment's warranties, and are they voided if the equipment is overloaded?

Has this inverter a smartphone app and is it user-friendly?

Will the inverter require any firmware or software updates? Are they straightforward?

Will you provide a certificate of conformity upon completion of the project?

What happens if the solar panels are struck by lightning?

How many times has this battery and inverter been returned?

How well do you know this equipment's importers?

How many additional solar panels can this system accommodate?

Can you show me photographs of a recent installation you performed?


If you want to be the part of BigWit solar rooftop family, you can give us a call on 7082955224 or send us a mail on BigWit Energy is one of the best solar companies in Delhi, Maharashtra, Chandigarh. We offer EMI plans of upto 3 years and PPA options for commercial clients pan India!

Alternatively you can schedule a callback from us at your preferred time over here.



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