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We all are aware of the exhausting energy sources and its time that we
think about alternative solutions for our day to day requirements since we cannot
curb down our needs and our dependency on the energy sources. It is peak time that
we need to start reaching out for the alternative ways before we completely run out of
the resources. Some of the renewable energy alternatives are wind energy, solar energy,
tidal energy, thermal energy, geo-thermal energy. But most of these cannot be
harnessed at all locations. Hence, the best alternatives we can think of is the solar
energy which is never exhausting and also pollution free. Solar energy can be
harnessed at any location without any hindrance. One can install them for the street
lights, on the rooftops, fields, etc. So why not we go eco-friendly and harness the solar
energy which has less maintenance and presents easy installation on roof-tops or
There are many players in India manufacturing and providing a wide
range of solar energy products and solutions. The following report gives technical
details of a solar cell, module manufacturing procedure and also detailed description
of 1MW and 10MW solar power plants. Report concludes with a live Case Study on
off-grid solar power plant design.


The shortage of power, rapid consumption of non-renewable energy, everincreasing demand for power supply, daily warnings about our environment are enough
signs to tell us that it is time we need to do something. So, what can we do? How about
harnessing solar energy?? Some of the advantages of plugging into sun are:
Reduces dependence on exhausting resources.
Solar energy is renewable.
Making way for a healthier environment.
Solar panels help protect the atmosphere by generating electricity without the
greenhouse gases that traditional power plants produce. 1 kWh produced from coal
emits 0.33 kg of CO2. 1 kWh produced by the combination of all sources of renewable
energy emits 0.04 kg of CO2.
If we build a solar power plant that produces 40,500 kWh per year, we would save
7.3 tons of CO2 at no longer produce those watts in a carbon plant. So for every 1MWh
per year, we would save 0.18 tons of CO2.
Under JNNSM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission), Government of India
has taken steps to develop and deploy solar energy for supplementing the energy

requirements of the country. JNNSM was launched on 11 January, 2010 by the Prime
Minister and has set the ambitious target of deploying 20,000 MW of grid connected
solar power by 2022 is aimed at reducing the cost of solar power generation in the
country through (i) long term policy; (ii) large scale deployment goals; (iii) aggressive
R&D; and (iv) domestic production of critical raw materials, components and products,
as a result to achieve grid tariff parity by 2022. Solar mission will create an enabling policy
framework to achieve this objective and make India a global leader in solar energy.

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Another such program is Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) which allows a

country with an emission-reduction or emission-limitation commitment to implement
an emission-reduction project in developing countries. Such projects can earn saleable
certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2. The
mechanism is seen by many as a trailblazer. It is the first global, environmental
investment and credit scheme of its kind, providing a standardized emissions offset
instrument, CERs. A CDM project activity might involve, for example, a rural
electrification project using solar panels or the installation of more energy-efficient
boilers. The mechanism stimulates sustainable development and emission reductions,
while giving industrialized countries some flexibility in how they meet their emission
reduction or limitation targets.
The solar cell is the basic building block of solar photovoltaics. The cell can
be considered as a two terminal device which conducts like a diode in the dark and
generates a photovoltage when charged by the sun. These solar cells are then made into
solar photovoltaic (SPV) modules by sequence of processes. The prepared solar
modules are then arranged into series connection to form a complete PV array. These
arrays are then fixed in ground or roof-top. The supply from PV arrays is DC in nature,
but most of the electrical appliances need AC supply. Hence, inverters are used for the
conversion from DC to AC. Inverters can be either central or string in nature depending
on our need. The power so obtained is later sent to the substation following the
synchronization of the power with the grid.

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The sunrays falling on earth have two componentslight and heat. The heat
component has the solar Joules energy and the light component has the solar photon
Photons in, electrons out: The Photovoltaic effect
Solar photovoltaic energy conversion is a one-step conversion process which
generates electrical energy from light energy. The explanation relies on ideas from
quantum theory. Light is made up of packets of energy, called photons, whose energy
depends only upon the frequency, or colour, of the light. The energy of visible photons
is sufficient to excite electrons, to higher energy levels where they are free to move.
An extreme example of this is the photoelectric effect, which was explained by
Einstein in 1905, where blue or ultraviolet light provides enough energy for electrons
to escape completely from the surface of a metal. Normally, when light is absorbed by
matter, photons are given up to excite electrons to higher energy states within the
material, but the excited electrons quickly relax back to their ground state. In a
photovoltaic device, however, there is some built-in asymmetry which pulls the excited
electrons away before they can relax, and feeds them to an external circuit. The extra
energy of the excited electrons generates a potential difference, or electro-motive force
(emf). This force drives the electrons through a load in the external circuit to do
electrical work.
The photovoltaic effect was first reported by Edmund Becquerel in 1839 when he
observed that the action of light on a silver coated platinum electrode immersed in
electrolyte produced an electric current.

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The solar cell is the basic building block of solar photovoltaics. The cell can be
considered as a two terminal device which conducts like a diode in the dark and
generates a photovoltage when charged by the sun.
In reality cells dissipate power through the resistance of the contacts and through
leakage currents around the sides of the device. These effects are equivalent electrically
to two parasitic resistances in series (Rs) and in parallel (Rsh) with the cell.

Fig: Equivalent circuit of solar cell including series and shunt resistances.

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I-V characteristics of a solar cell is shown in the figure below

Effect of resistances on I-V characteristics of a solar cell

Effect of (a) increasing series and (b) reducing parallel resistances.

Like all other semiconductor devices, solar cells are sensitive to temperature. In a
solar cell, the parameter most affected by an increase in temperature is the open-circuit
voltage (Voc). The impact of increasing temperature is shown in the figure below.

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Open-circuit voltage decreases with increase in temperature whereas short-circuit

current increases slightly. In a solar cell the rate of change of open-circuit voltage and
short- circuit current with respect to temperature is given by

Solar cells convert the photon light around the pn- junction directly into electricity
without any moving or mechanical parts. PV cells produce energy from sunlight,
not from heat. In fact, they are most efficient when they are cold.
When exposed to sunlight (or other intense light source), the voltage produced
by a single solar cell is about 0.58V DC, with the current flow being proportional to the
light energy (photons). In most solar cells, the voltage is nearly constant, and the
current is proportional to the size of the cell and the intensity of the light.
Some of the key concepts regarding the solar cells are the Standard Test Conditions
(STC) which are as follows:
1. AM (Air Mass Index) =1.5

2. Temp= 25 C
3. Irradiance= 100mW/cm

Key performance characteristics:

1. Jsc = q bs(E)QE(E)dE
Jsc = Short-circuit current density
q= is the electron charge
bs= Incident spectral photon flux density QE (E) = Quantum efficiency
2. Voc= (kT/q) ln(Jsc/Joc +1)
Jo c= Open circuit current density k=Boltzmann constant
T= temperature
3. FF (fill factor) = (Jm Vm)/ (Jsc Voc)
Voc= Open circuit Voltage
Vm = Maximum voltage
4. (efficiency) = (Jm Vm)/Ps

Jm = Maximum current density

Ps= input solar power
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Silicon is the eighth most common element in the universe by mass, but very rarely
occurs as the pure free element in nature. It is most widely distributed in dusts, sands,
planetoids, and planets as various forms of silicon dioxide (silica) or silicates. Over 90% of
the Earth's crust is composed of silicate minerals, making silicon the second most abundant
element in the Earth's crust (about 28% by mass) after oxygen. More modern silicon
compounds such as silicon carbide form abrasives and high-strength ceramics. Silicon is the
basis of the widely used synthetic polymers called silicones.
The process of solar cells manufacturing, first starts with the mining of quartz from
the earth and then conversion of that quartz into Mg-Si by carbothermic reaction. Mg-Si
is processed into poly-silicon by Siemens process. The poly-silicon is then made into ingot
with the help of a seed of the silicon. The circular ingot obtained is then cut into particular
shape at the edges. This structure is then cut into very thin slices to give wafers which are
processed to give solar cells. The upper surface of the module is n-type and the bottom
part needs to be made into p-type by diffusing POCl3 at 800C. The edges are then made
proper by the process of plasma edging and it removes the excess of the p-type material.

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Extraction of metallurgical grade Silicon:

Metallurgical grade Silicon is commercially prepared by the reaction of high-purity silica
with wood, charcoal, and coal in an electric arc furnace using Carbon electrodes. At
temperatures above 1900 C (3450 F), Carbon in the above mentioned materials and the
Silicon undergo the chemical reaction SiO2 + 2C Si + 2CO. Liquid Silicon collects in the
bottom of the furnace, which is then drained and cooled. The silicon produced in this manner
is called metallurgical grade silicon and is at least 98% pure. Using this method, Silicon Carbide
(SiC) may also form from an excess of Carbon in one or both of the following ways:
SiO2 + C SiO + CO
SiO + 2C SiC + CO.
However, provided the concentration of SiO2 is kept high, the Silicon Carbide can be
eliminated by the chemical reaction as:2SiC + SiO2 3Si + 2 CO

Mono-crystalline silicon ingot grown by the Czochralski process

Polycrystalline silicon rod made by the Siemens process

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Methods of manufacturing ingot:

a) Czochralski method: Used to create a monocrystalline cell. A single monocrystalline
silicon seed crystal is slowly pulled from the high-heat molten Silicon. As it is drawn
upwards, the Silicon cools and solidifies as a single ingot. This cylindrical ingot is then
sliced into thin pieces that are then cut into the cell shapes as visible on a monocrystalline
solar panel.
b) Siemens Process: This technique grows high-purity Silicon crystallites directly on the
surface of (pre-existing) pure Silicon seed rods by a chemical decomposition that takes
place when the gaseous Trichlorosilane (HSiCl3) is blown over the rod's surface at 1150C.
This technique is called Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) and produces high-purity
Polycrystalline Silicon, also known as polysilicon. While the conventional Siemens process
produces electronic grade polysilicon at typically 9N11N purities, that is, it contains
impurity levels of less than one part per billion , the modified Siemens process is a dedicated
process-route for the production of solar grade silicon (SoG-Si) with purities of 6N
(99.9999%) and less energy demand.
c) FBR Method: A more recent alternative for the production of polysilicon is the fluidized
bed reactor (FBR) manufacturing technology. Compared to the traditional Siemens
process, FBR features a number of advantages that lead to cheaper polysilicon demanded
by the fast-growing photovoltaic industry. Contrary to Siemens batch process, FBR runs
continuously, wasting fewer resources and requires less setup and downtime. It uses about
10% of the electricity consumed by a conventional rod reactor in Siemens process, as it does
not waste energy by placing heated gas and silicon in contact with cold surfaces. In the FBR,
silane (SiH4) is injected into the reactor from below and forms a fluidized bed together
with the silicon seed particles that are fed from above. The gaseous silane then decomposes
and deposits silicon on the seed particles. When the particles have grown to larger granules,
they eventually sink to the bottom of the reactor where they are continuously withdrawn.
The FBR technology produces polysilicon at 6N to 9N, a purity still higher than the 5N
to 6N of upgraded metallurgical silicon (UMG-Si), a third technology used by the
photovoltaic industry, that dispenses altogether with chemical purification, using
metallurgical techniques instead. Solar grade purity is 99.999% (5N) and electronic grade
purity is 99.9999999(9N)

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The two types of PV crystalline cells mono and multi are compared in the table below.
(Single crystalline)


1. Composed of single crystal of silicon

1. Composed of many crystals of silicon

2. Czochralski method is employed.

Cylindrical shaped ingot is obtained
with the help of a seed crystal.

2. Siemens method or Fluidized Bed

reduction method is employed. Cube
shaped ingot is obtained

3. Can function in low light conditions


3. Function better under high heat


4. More expensive

4. Less expensive

5. More efficient in real life conditions.

5. More efficient in lab conditions.

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Before getting into manufacturing process of solar modules let us have a look at some of
the IEC standards.
IEC TC 82 Working Groups
WG1: Glossary
Task: To prepare a glossary of terms relevant to PV.
WG2: Modules, non-concentrating
Task: To develop international standards for non-concentrating, terrestrial
photovoltaic modules -crystalline & thin-film.
WG3: Systems
Task: To give general instructions for photovoltaic system design and
WG6: Balance-of-system (BOS) components
Task: To develop international standards for BOS components for PV systems.
WG 7: Concentrator modules
Task: To develop international standards for photovoltaic concentrators and
WG 8: Solar cells and wafers (new group to be formed in 2013)
Task: To develop international standards for photovoltaic cells and wafers.
JWG 21/TC 82 Batteries
Task: To draw up standard requirements for battery storage systems intended for use
in photovoltaic systems.
JWG 1-TC 82/TC 88/TC21/SC21A
Task: To prepare guidelines for Decentralized Rural Electrification (DRE) projects
which are now being implemented.
Here are some of the IEC TC 82 standards
IEC 60891:2009 Edition 2.0 (2009-12-14)
Photovoltaic devices - Procedures for temperature and irradiance corrections to measured
I-V characteristics

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IEC 60904-1:2006
Edition 2.0 (2006-09-13)
Photovoltaic devices - Part 1: Measurement of photovoltaic current-voltage characteristics
IEC 60904-2:2007
Edition 2.0 (2007-03-20)
Photovoltaic devices - Part 2: Requirements for reference solar devices
IEC 60904-3:2008
Edition 2.0 (2008-04-09)
Photovoltaic devices - Part 3: Measurement principles for terrestrial photovoltaic (PV)
solar devices with reference spectral irradiance data
IEC 60904-4:2009
Edition 1.0 (2009-06-09)
Photovoltaic devices - Part 4: Reference solar devices - Procedures for establishing
calibration traceability
IEC 60904-5:2011
Edition 2.0 (2011-02-17)
Photovoltaic devices - Part 5: Determination of the equivalent cell temperature (ECT) of
photovoltaic (PV) devices by the open-circuit voltage method
IEC 60904-7:2008
Edition 3.0 (2008-11-26)
Photovoltaic devices - Part 7: Computation of the spectral mismatch correction for
measurements of photovoltaic devices
IEC 60904-8:2014
Edition 3.0 (2014-05-08)
Photovoltaic devices - Part 8: Measurement of spectral responsivity of a PV device
Complete standards published by TC 82 can be found on at this link:,FSP_LANG_ID:1276,25

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The process of manufacturing solar modules involves the following steps:


Segregation and Cell testing

Testing with sun simulator and tagging with RFID reader
Silicone taping and Framing
Bypass diode connections

1. Segregation and Cell Testing

The incoming solar cells are already processed with anti-reflective coating, screen
printing and BSF (Back Surface Field=250m) coating. The incoming cells with silver
lining are first tested. The silver lining on the cells has very less thickness since more open
area is needed to capture the sunlight. The front part of the cell is made n-type by using
phosphorous metal on silicon and the rear surface is made p-type diffusing boron.
2. Tabbing:
Tabbing wire is used to connect the solar cells in series to get the desired voltage. The
tabbing wire should be 18-20 mm thick to get better current. A good tab wire is made out of
copper coated with solder for easy flow.

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Bus Wire (Connecting wire): Similar to tab wire but it is much wider and used to carry
the current across the cell and can range from 2.5mm to 5mm depending on the power and
size of the cell. It is made out of copper coated with solder. At the end of the tabbing process,
2 pairs of positive and negative terminals are left out for further connection into the bypass
diodes which are fixed at the end of the whole process.

3. Stringing:
Process where the solar cells are connected in series. Standard module sizes are 6 x 3,
6 x 6, 6 x10 and 6 x12. At the end of the process we get a cell module. After this process the
module is sent for lamination.
4. Lamination:
The cell module so obtained is covered with Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) sheets at
the top and bottom which reduces the loss of electrical conductivity and also reducing the
CTM (cell to module) loss. High transmission glass (having low iron content) is fixed on
the top EVA and the bottom EVA is covered with a back cover which is made up of PVF
(Poly Vinyl Fluoride) made of TPT (Tedlar Polyester Tedlar). The TPT is made up of
multi-laminated sheets and possesses high durability, impermeability, insolubility, erosion
durability, mechanical stability, hydrophobic property.

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In the laminator, renise sheets are used to avoid sticking of the EVA sheets. The
elasticity of EVA and toughness of TPT gives the solar cell better astigmatic property and
comprehensive protections. The laminator is a double vacuum chamber with temperature
around 100C which melts EVA in about 8-10 mins. Once the lamination is completed, the
structure so obtained is sent to the curing oven where the cross-linking of the EVA sheet
takes place. After curing, the edges of module are sharpened and sent for testing.

5. Testing with Sun Simulator and RFID reader

The module is placed on a sun simulator. A beam is made incident on the module
which has a spectrum similar to the sun spectrum. This simulates the IV characteristics
(upside down characteristics of a forward biased diode) and provides the specifications
about the modules.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
RFID is a method for Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC). It is
wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data for automatically identifying and
tracking purpose. The tags contain electronically stored data. The RFID reader and writer
feeds the data related to the module to RFID tag placed on the solar module. Unlike a
barcode, the tag does not necessarily need to be within line of sight of the reader, and may
be embedded in the tracked object.

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Data sheet of an SPV module of 60 cells

6. Silicone Taping and Framing

Once the modules are cleared from testing, they are sent for silicone taping and framing.
Silicone taping is done to protect the modules from water.

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Alternating silicon-oxygen chains with hydrogen attached to the remaining silicon
bonds form the ubiquitous silicon-based polymeric materials known as silicones. These
compounds containing silicon-oxygen and occasionally silicon-carbon bonds have the
capability to act as bonding intermediates between glass and organic compounds, and to
form polymers with useful properties such as impermeability to water, flexibility and
resistance to chemical attack. Silicones are often used in waterproofing treatments,
moulding compounds, mould-release agents, mechanical seals, high temperature greases
and waxes, and caulking compounds.
Once the silicone taping is done, the modules are framed with aluminium metal and
the name plate with the specifications is also placed.

7. Bypass diode connections

While selecting bypass diodes or blocking diodes, Imax is taken into consideration. Bypass
diodes are used in parallel with either a single or a number of photovoltaic solar cells to
prevent the current(s) flowing from unshaded solar cells overheating and burning out
weaker or partially shaded solar cells. Bypass diode hence provides current path around the
weaker cell. Bypass diodes in solar panels are connected in parallel with a photovoltaic cell
or panel to shunt the current around it, whereas blocking diodes are connected in series
with the PV panels to prevent current flowing back into them.

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Two types of diodes are available as bypass diodes in solar panels and arrays: the pnjunction Silicon diode and the Schottky diode. Both are available with a wide range of
current ratings. The Schottky barrier diode has a much lower forward voltage drop of
about 0.4V as opposed to the PN diodes 0.7Vdrop for a Silicon device.

This lower voltage drop allows a savings of one full PV cell in each series branch of
the solar array therefore; the array is more efficient since less power is dissipated in the
blocking diode. Most manufacturers include both blocking diodes and bypass diodes in
their solar panels simplifying the design.
SPV Modules:

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Special Features:
High energy conversion efficiency because of high fill factor.
Cells sorted by power and current to minimize field mismatch losses.
Electroluminescence test carried out for micro-cracks.

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Inverter converts DC output of PV panels into a clean AC current for AC appliances
or fed back into grid line. Inverter is a critical component used in any PV system where
alternative current (AC) power output is needed.
Basically there are two types of inverters, they are:
String inverter
Central inverter


A string inverter is commonly used in home and commercial solar power systems and
is often situated some distance away from the solar array. Depending on the size of the
installation, there may be more than one string inverters for a solar power plant.

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Central inverters are designed for applications such as large arrays installed on buildings,
industrial facilities as well as field installations - they are basically just a very large string

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A solar tracker is a device that orients a payload toward the sun. Payloads can be
photovoltaic panels, reflectors, lenses or other optical devices.
In concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) and concentrated solar thermal (CSP)
applications, trackers are used to enable the optical components in the CPV and CSP
systems. The optics in concentrated solar applications accepts the direct component of
sunlight light and therefore must be oriented appropriately to collect energy. Tracking
systems are found in all concentrator applications because such systems do not produce
energy unless pointed at the sun.
The sun travels through 360 East to West per day, but from the perspective of any
fixed location the visible portion is 180 during an average 1/2 day period (more in spring
and summer; less, in fall and winter). Local horizon effects reduce this somewhat, making
the effective motion about 150. A solar panel in a fixed orientation between the dawn and
sunset extremes will see a motion of 75 to either side, and thus, according to the table
above, will lose 75% of the energy in the morning and evening. Rotating the panels to the
east and west can help recapture those losses. A tracker rotating in the East-West direction
is known as a single-axis tracker.
The sun also moves through 46 North and South during a year. The same set of
panels set at the midpoint between the two local extremes will thus see the sun move 23
on either side, causing losses of 8.3%. A tracker that accounts for both the daily and seasonal
motions is known as a dual-axis tracker. Generally speaking, the losses due to seasonal angle
changes are complicated by changes in the length of the day, increasing collection in the summer
in northern or southern latitudes. This biases collection toward the summer, so if the panels are
tilted closer to the average summer angles, the total yearly losses are reduced compared to a system
tilted at the spring/fall solstice angle (which is the same as the site's latitude).
The primary benefit of a tracking system is to collect solar energy for the longest period of
the day, and with the most accurate alignment as the Sun's position shifts with the seasons.
In addition, the greater the level of concentration employed, the more important accurate
tracking becomes, because the proportion of energy derived from direct radiation is higher, and
the region where that concentrated energy is focused becomes smaller.

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There are mainly two types of trackers:

1. Single-Axis tracker: Single axis trackers have one degree of freedom that acts as an axis
of rotation. The axis of rotation of single axis trackers is typically aligned along a true North
2. Dual-Axis tracker: Dual axis trackers have two degrees of freedom that act as axes of
rotation which are normal to one another. The axis that is fixed with respect to the ground
can be considered a primary axis. The axis that is referenced to the primary axis can be
considered a secondary axis.


1. HSAT: Horizontal Single Axis Tracker
The axis of rotation for horizontal single axis tracker is horizontal with respect to the
ground. The posts at either end of the axis of rotation of a horizontal single axis tracker can
be shared between trackers to lower the installation cost.
Field layouts with horizontal single axis trackers are very flexible. The simple geometry
means that keeping all of the axes of rotation parallel to one another is all that is required for
appropriately positioning the trackers with respect to one another.
Appropriate spacing can maximize the ratio of energy production to cost, this being
dependent upon local terrain and shading conditions and the time-of-day value of the
energy produced. Backtracking is one means of computing the disposition of panels.
Horizontal trackers typically have the face of the module oriented parallel to the axis of
rotation. As a module tracks, it sweeps a cylinder that is rotationally symmetric around the
axis of rotation.
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2. HTSAT: Horizontal Tilt Single Axis Tracker

In HSAT, the modules are mounted flat at 0, while in HTSAT; the modules are installed at
a certain tilt. It works on same principle as HSAT, keeping the axis of tube horizontal in N-S
line and rotating the solar modules E-W throughout the day. These trackers are usually
suitable in high latitude locations but do not take as much land space as consumed by
Vertical single axis tracker (VSAT).

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3. VSAT: Vertical Single Axis Tracker

The axis of rotation for vertical single axis trackers is vertical with respect to the
ground. These trackers rotate from East to West over the course of the day. Such trackers
are more effective at high latitudes than are horizontal axis trackers.
Field layouts must consider shading to avoid unnecessary energy losses and to
optimize land utilization. Also optimization for dense packing is limited due to the
nature of the shading over the course of a year.
Vertical single axis trackers typically have the face of the module oriented at an
angle with respect to the axis of rotation. As a module tracks, it sweeps a cone that is
rotationally symmetric around the axis of rotation.

4. TSAT: Tilted Single Axis Tracker

All trackers with axes of rotation between horizontal and vertical are considered
tilted single axis trackers. Tracker tilt angles are often limited to reduce the wind profile
and decrease the elevated end height.
Field layouts must consider shading to avoid unnecessary losses and to optimize
land utilization. With backtracking, they can be packed without shading perpendicular
to their axis of rotation at any density. However, the packing parallel to their axes of
rotation is limited by the tilt angle and the latitude.
Tilted single axis trackers typically have the face of the module oriented parallel to
the axis of rotation. As a module tracks, it sweeps a cylinder that is rotationally symmetric
around the axis of rotation.

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5. PASAT: Polar Aligned Single Axis Tracker

This method is scientifically well known as the standard method of mounting a
telescope support structure. The tilted single axis is aligned to the polar star. It is
therefore called a polar aligned single axis tracker (PASAT). In this particular
implementation of a tilted single axis tracker, the tilt angle is equal to the site latitude.
This aligns the tracker axis of rotation with the earths axis of rotation.
1. TTDAT: Tip Tilt Dual Axis Tracker
A tip-tilt dual axis tracker is so-named because the panel array is mounted on the
top of a pole. Normally the E-W movement is driven by rotating the array around the top
of the pole. On top of the rotating bearing is a T- or H-shaped mechanism that provides
vertical rotation of the panels and provides the main mounting points for the array. The
posts at either end of the primary axis of rotation of a tip-tilt dual axis tracker can be
shared between trackers to lower installation costs.
Other such TTDAT trackers have a horizontal primary axis and a dependent
orthogonal axis. The vertical azimuthal axis is fixed. This allows for great flexibility of the
payload connection to the ground mounted equipment because there is no twisting of
the cabling around the pole.
Field layouts with tiptilt dual axis trackers are very flexible.

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2. AADAT: Azimuth Altitude Dual Axis Tracker

An azimuthaltitude dual axis tracker has its primary axis (the azimuth axis) vertical
to the ground. The secondary axis (often called elevation axis) is normal to the primary
axis. They are similar to tip-tilt systems in operation, but they differ in the way the array
is rotated for daily tracking. Instead of rotating the array around the top of the pole,
AADAT systems can use a large ring mounted on the ground with the array mounted on
a series of rollers. The main advantage of this arrangement is the weight of the array is
distributed over a portion of the ring, as opposed to the single loading point of the pole
in the TTDAT. This allows AADAT to support much larger arrays.

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Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) is a technique used to get the maximum
power from one or more power plants. It is the purpose of the MPPT system to sample
the output of the cells and apply the proper resistance (load) to obtain maximum power
for any given environmental conditions. MPPT devices are typically integrated into an
electric power converter system that provides voltage or current conversion, filtering, and
regulation for driving various loads, including power grids, batteries, or motors.
Solar inverters convert the DC power to AC power and may incorporate MPPT: such
inverters sample the output power (I-V curve) from the solar cell and apply the proper
resistance (load) so as to obtain maximum power.
Maximum power point is the product of the maximum voltage (Vmpp) and maximum
current (Impp). Some solar panels have a higher maximum power than others.

In the above graph, the line which intersects the IV-curve gives the maximum power
transfer point.

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Inverters are used in grid synchronization with the solar power plant. Special protective
devices are used to prevent the risk of danger in the event of mains interference. The more
the PV plants feed into the grid, greater are the demands placed on the grid services.
If the feed-in power of the PV plants is greater than the capacity of the local grids, then
adjustable local grid transformers are used to regulate the voltage and prevent the upper
limit from being exceeded. This task can be performed by power storage systems.
When a large amount of power is being consumed, then the line voltage in these weak
grid lines decreases, thus the act of feeding in solar power counteracts this voltage drop and
in turn, supports the grid. Measures need to be taken to avoid excessive increasing in
voltage during the period when the feed-in is high and the consumption is low. Also, in this
situation the currents may also flow in reverse direction. Disconnection devices are used in
between the PV generating plant and the grid, which can disconnect the plant from the grid
in cases of repair, failure, etc. In smaller plants, ADD or manual disconnection is done.
ADD (Automatic Disconnecting Device):
ADD device monitors the energy feedback into the 230/400 V grid. If mains power is
switched off by the electricity supply company, or by a protective device, it is vital for smallscale power plants to be disconnected within a few milliseconds. Monitoring the voltage
and frequency and recognizing isolated (off-grid) operation are essential requirements for
any ADD.

MSD (Mains Switching Devices): Similar to the ADD; it measures the grid
impedance and is able to recognize power failure and cut-offs on the basis of
impedance jumps.
- 31 -


Location: Mominpet, Sangareddy, Telangana. Production - 1 MW

Types of tracker system-Single axis, Single axis horizontal tilt and Dual axis
In single axis tracking system 19 modules are connected in series to form one string.
Inverters used here are string inverters of capacity 17kW, for every 4 strings (76 modules)
one inverter is used.
Readings of an inverter at the time of visit:
Day: 16 Dec 2014 Time: 2:16 PM
9771 W
41.72 kWh
76350 kWh
DC input current 13.6 A
DC input voltage 511 V
AC output current 12.6 A
AC output voltage 236 V

- 32 -

AC supply from inverters is stepped up to 11kV using transformer and finally

connected to the grid.
Transformer Specifications:
Rated voltage
Rated current

11000 V
400 V
65.6 A
1804.2 A
50 Hz



Switchyard which gives extra protection to the system contains components like
auxiliary relay, vacuum switch gear, over current and earth fault relay, trip circuit supervision
relay, under voltage relay and master trip relay.
Vacuum switchgear:

Remote Terminal Units (RTU) are installed in all inverters and any fault at inverter level can
be identified by the operator sitting in the control room with the help of SCADA system.
Number of lightning arrestors used - 1
PV arrays are earthed using GI Flat material.

- 33 -


Each block with 12 rows has a motor for single axis tracking. Each row contains two
strings and each string contains 24 modules in series. For every 8 strings i.e. 4 rows there
is one AJB (Array Junction Box). Number of inputs for AJB is 8 (+) inputs and 8 (-) inputs
from total 8 strings

Fig: Internal circuit diagram of AJB

Fig: Internal circuit of AJB

- 34 -

Fig: Single axis tracking setup

DC supply from AJBs is given to inverter. In this plant centralized inverters are
used. Inputs from 16 AJBs are connected to one AJB. Inverter consists of three parts.
(i) DC section
(ii) IGBT section
(iii) AC section

In total there are 9 inverters. Capacity of each inverter is 630kW.

- 35 -

DC to AC conversion happens in IGBT section. AC output from inverter is given to

380V/33kV transformer. Output from transformer is given to Ring Main Unit (RMU). Each
RMU has 1 input and 2 outputs. Input terminal is connected to output of a transformer and one
of the output terminals of RMU is connected to HT panel and the other is connected to RMU
of other transformer. The purpose of RMU is to form a ring bus providing an alternate path to
supply from transformer in case of any faulty condition that effects the connection between
transformer output and grid.

Fig: Ring Main Unit

HT panel is connected to switch yard which is installed with switching devices and CTs
and PTs to measure energy being supplied to the grid.

Fig: Switchyard

- 36 -

Protecting devices:
Lightning arrestors are installed for protection from lightning. In total there are 7
lightning arrestors.
Earthing is done to every AJB with GI Flat material and connected to earth pit. These
earth pits are internally connected to form a loop.
Fencing is done for protection from intruders.
SCADA system is also installed for identification of faults.
As of now generation of the plant is 6.5MW and construction for generation of
remaining 3.5 MW is under progression. PR of the plant is 82.07% and PLF is 24.56%- 30%.
The total area of plant is 68 acres.

Fig: Transformer

- 37 -


HV -33kV
Voltage at no-load
LV2-380V LV3-380 V
Rated current
HV- 41.98A LV1- 1215.47A LV2- 1215.47A LV31215.47A
Remote Terminal Units (RTU) are installed in all inverters and any fault at
inverter level can be identified by the operator sitting in the control room with the help of
SCADA system.
Readings on SCADA monitor at the time of visit:
Day: 22 Dec 2014
Time: 12:40 PM

Fig: Plant generation on the time of visit

Fig: Readings of one of the inverters

- 38 -



Evaluating technical performance of a solar power plant is very important for the
growth of solar PV industry. There are two solar plant performance indices. They are:
1. Plant Load Factor
2. Performance Ratio


The ratio of the total number of kWh supplied by a generator or generating station to the
total number of kWh which would have been supplied if the generator or generating station
had been operated continuously at its maximum continuous rating is called Plant Load
Factor. This is also known as Capacity Utilization Factor (CUF). PLF of a plant will
generally be around 22%.
The performance ratio is a measure of the quality of a PV plant that is independent of
location and it therefore often described as a quality factor. The performance ratio (PR) is
stated as percentage and describes the relationship between the actual and theoretical
energy outputs of the PV plant. It thus shows the proportion of the energy that is actually
available for export to the grid after deduction of energy loss (e.g. due to thermal losses and
conduction losses) and of energy consumption for operation.
The closer the PR value determined for a PV plant approaches 100%, the more efficiently
the respective PV plant is operating. In real life, a value of 100% cannot be achieved, as
unavoidable losses always arise with the operation of the PV plant (e.g. thermal loss due to
heating of the PV modules). High-performance PV plants can however reach a
performance ratio of up to 80%.
Performance Ratio (PR) of a plant for a period of time = Energy measured (kWh)/
(Irradiance (kWh/m2) on the panel x Active area of PV module (m2) x PV module

- 39 -

In the Indian solar context, CUF is perhaps the most overused word when it comes to
measuring a solar power plant performance. The interesting thing is, not many people
outside India understand the CUF because most of them use a much better metric
Performance Ratio (PR).
How CUF is calculated and how different it is from the globally accepted standard
of Performance Ratio (PR).
CHROSIS, a Germany based consulting firm, has published this excellent whitepaper on
the subject that gives some good insights on the subject.
Some of the highlights of the whitepaper are as follows:Capacity Utilisation Factor (CUF) =Energy measured (kWh) / (365*24*installed
capacity of the plant).
So on one side, PR is a measure for the performance of a PV system taking into
account environmental factors (temperature, irradiation, etc.) and on the other side is
CUF that completely ignores all these factors and also the de-rating or degradation of the
Some more factors that can also be important when comparing PR vs. CUF:
PR will take into account the availability of the grid, CUF will not.
PR will take into account the minimum level of irradiation needed to generate
electrical energy, CUF will not.
PR will take into account irradiation levels at a given period of time, CUF will not
PR can be used as a tool to compare different solar PV systems with each other even
if they are located at different locations since all environmental factors will be taken into
account. Therefore only the design and the ability of the system to convert solar energy
into electrical energy will be compared with each other.
Therefore it is not convincing that the CUF is a good tool to provide insights into a
solar PV system.

- 40 -

An example of calculating PR:

To calculate the Performance Ratio (PR) of the installed 127 kWp SPV plant for January
Analysis period: Jan-2012
Measured total solar irradiation intensity in Jan-2012: 171 kWh/m2 (Calculation below)
Generator area of the PV plant: 889 m2
Efficiency factor of the PV modules: 14.4%
Electrical energy actually exported by plant to grid: 16,833 kWh
PR= Actual reading of plant output in kWh p.m. / Calculated nominal plant output in
kWh p.m.
Calculated nominal plant output= Annual incident solar irradiation at the generator surface
of the PV plant x relative efficiency of the PV plant modules
=171 x 889 x 14.4%
=21,890 kWh
=> PR=16,833/21,890
Solar radiation data:

Daily average solar intensity in W/m2

Average solar intensity in W/m2



















- 41 -



































Daily Average 230 W/m2

Jan Total- 230 x 24 hrs x 31 days=171 kWh/m2

- 42 -


Potential Induced Degradation is a very recent phenomenon that has taken the solar
industry by surprise.
Potential Induced Degradation (PID) is an undesirable property of some solar
modules. The factors that enable PID (voltage, heat and humidity) exist on all photovoltaic
(PV) systems, but the effect does not occur on all or even most PV systems. According to
Dr. Peter Hacke of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), All c-Si
[crystalline silicon] modules have elements of reversible and non- reversible [PID]
mechanisms. The key is to understand the extent to which modules experience these
PID was first recognized in the 1970s, and has been studied since. The rapid growth
in PV plant deployments, combined with dramatic reduction in module prices (and in some
cases, module quality), has brought renewed interest in the phenomenon. And because the
issue is highly technical, requiring at least some understanding of chemistry and physics, the
renewed interest has been accompanied by substantial fear, uncertainty and doubt in the
market today.
The Causes of PID:
Potential Induced Degradation, as the designation implies, occurs when the modules
voltage potential and leakage current drive ion mobility within the module between the
semiconductor material and other elements of the module (e.g. glass, mount and frame), as
shown in Figure 1, thus causing the modules power output capacity to degrade. The ion
mobility accelerates with humidity, temperature and voltage potential. Tests have revealed
the relationship of mobility to temperature and humidity: Planar contact with the panel
surface also causes a capacitive coupling to the cells, resulting in a capacitive leakage current
of varying strength. The PV system and environment interact to cause PID. The
conditions necessary for the occurrence of PID involve:(i)

Environmental factors
- 43 -

While the environment is set for each individual installation, it is possible to prevent PID
by properly controlling only one of the factors
Initial test conditions for potential induced degradation (PID) of solar modules developed
German testing institutes and solar companies present first step toward specific,
relevant PID test conditions
Test conditions make it possible to clearly, easily and quickly distinguish between
crystalline silicon modules that are stabilised against PID and those prone to PID
PVSEC Hamburg, 5 September 2011 Potential induced degradation (PID) has recently
been identified as a key factor impacting the energy yield of solar modules. Output of a solar
module can be reduced if the module is exposed to high negative voltage between solar cells
and the ground during operation, especially in major plants. Basically, this effect is
reversible. It can also be avoided by implementing additional system design measures. The
more economical option, however, is using a technology that provides for modules or cells
that are resistant against PID.
A broadly accepted or even standardized test for PID resistance, which would
facilitate quick and easy assessment, is not available at present, though couple of solar
companies have obtained PID test reports.
Four independent institutes the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems
(ISE), Photovoltaic Institute Berlin (PI-Berlin), TV Rheinland and VDE Testing and
Certification Institute and the German Solar companies Q-Cells, Schott Solar and Solon
have defined conditions to test crystalline PV modules for their PID sensitivity. These
conditions were comprehensively checked for applicability and accuracy in separating PIDfree products from items that are prone to PID.
The inspection was carried out at room temperature (25 Celsius) to provide a
simple test that would not require expensive special equipment. According to the
established parameters, negative voltage of 1,000 volts is to be applied to the cells of a
module for seven days (168 hours) through the junction box.

- 44 -

The front panels of all modules are covered with aluminium foil or a continuous
film of water and grounded, ensuring full comparability. A module will be deemed resistant
against PID if power output decreases by less than 5% during the test. Solon had produced
special modules that were prone to PID to confirm the test conditions relevance.
Significant losses in output were observed when testing these modules.
When they were inspected at the institutes laboratories, PID-protected glassfoil standard modules from series production at Q-Cells, Solon and Schott achieved output
reductions of less than 5%, proving that they are resistant against PID. A cross check with
an unrepresentative sample of modules from other brand manufacturers procured in the
market revealed a loss of output of significantly more than 50% for some modules. This
means a preliminary test design has been developed, which assesses crystalline solar
modules sensitivity to PID in a simple, specific and relevant manner and separates modules
that are prone to PID from their PID-resistant counterparts.
However, it is not yet possible to draw conclusions on the long-term
performance of installed modules on the basis of these test conditions, as it will largely
depend on module wiring and climatic factors. The involved institutes and companies are
committed to further developing PID tests into a general standard.
Potential Induced Degradation can have profound adverse impact on the financing
and operating of PV plants. While the entire PV system interacts to cause PID, the failure
mode occurs in the modules. Fortunately PID does not occur in all modules, and tests are
available to determine whether modules are susceptible or resistant to the effect. Many
module manufacturers have taken steps to produce PID resistant modules. And for existing
c-Si modules that do experience PID, the effect is usually reversible with cost-effective
mitigation measures.
Because mitigating PID in the PV plant can increase initial system costs, a judicious
choice of resistant modules and other preventative efforts, within the constraints of each
individual system, may be warranted. But it is also possible, of course, to intentionally
design a new PV plant with modules susceptible to PID if the savings from using such
modules is greater than the mitigation measures required. Refer to the Mitigating Panel
Polarization application note for options using Advanced Energy inverters.

- 45 -

The best solution for the industry long-term is to minimize or eliminate PID by
making design changes at the system, module and/or cell levels. Until then, it will remain
important for operators to overcome any fear, uncertainty, and doubt by becoming more
knowledgeable about PID, and hopefully the information and references provided here
help achieve that objective.
11.3 Fill Factor Impact

The short-circuit current and the open-circuit voltage are the maximum current and
voltage respectively from a solar cell. However, at both of these operating points, the power
from the solar cell is zero. The "fill factor", more commonly known by its abbreviation FF",
is a parameter which, in conjunction with Voc and Isc, determines the maximum power from
a solar cell. The FF is defined as the ratio of the maximum power from the solar cell to the
product of Voc and Isc. Graphically, the FF is a measure of the "squareness" of the solar cell
and is also the area of the largest rectangle which will fit in the IV curve. The FF is illustrated

Graph of cell output current (red line) and power (blue line) as function of voltage.
Also shown are the cell short-circuit current (Isc) and open-circuit voltage (Voc) points, as
well as the maximum power point (Vmp, Imp). Click on the graph to see how the curve
changes for a cell with low FF.
As FF is a measure of the "squareness" of the IV curve, a solar cell with a higher voltage
has a larger possible FF since the "rounded" portion of the IV curve takes up less area. The
maximum theoretical FF from a solar cell can be determined by differentiating the power
from a solar cell with respect to voltage and finding where this is equal to zero.

- 46 -


However, the above technique does not yield a simple or closed form equation. The
equation above only relates Voc to Vmp, and extra equations are needed to find Imp and FF. A
more commonly used expression for the FF can be determined empirically as:

where Voc is defined as a "normalized Voc":

where n is Ideality factor
The above equations show that a higher voltage will have a higher possible FF.
However, large variations in open-circuit voltage within a given material system are
relatively uncommon. For example, at one sun, the difference between the maximum opencircuit voltage measured for a silicon laboratory device and a typical commercial solar cell
is about 120 mV, giving maximum FF's respectively of 0.85 and 0.83. However, the
variation in maximum FF can be significant for solar cells made from different materials.
For example, a GaAs solar cell may have a FF approaching 0.89.
The above equation also demonstrates the importance of the ideality factor, also
known as the "n-factor" of a solar cell. The ideality factor is a measure of the junction quality
and the type of recombination in a solar cell. For the simple recombination mechanisms,
the n-factor has a value of 1. However, some recombination mechanisms, particularly if they
are large, may introduce recombination mechanisms of 2. A high n-value not only degrades
the FF, but since it will also usually signal high recombination, it gives low open-circuit
A key limitation in the equations described above is that they represent a maximum
possible FF, although in practice the FF will be lower due to the presence of parasitic
resistive losses. Therefore, the FF is most commonly determined from measurement of the
IV curve and is defined as the maximum power divided by the product of Isc*Voc, i.e.:

- 47 -

Influence of FF:
The picture below illustrates the I-V curves of both a high fill factor solar panel and a
low fill factor panel.

As can be seen, both curves (solar panels) hold the same open circuit voltage and
short circuit current, however, the lower fill factor panel actually produces less power at its
maximum power point compared to the higher fill factor panel.
During the manufacture of commercial grade solar panels, each and every single solar
cell is tested for its fill factor. If its fill factor is low (below 0.7), the cells are sold off as GradeB cells, then sliced, and used for hobbyist use.
To make things clearer, look at the picture below.

- 48 -

We can see that the dummy power (or the theoretical power) is the area in red, and
the actual power is the area in the blue. The fill factor is the ratio of the blue area to the red
area. The higher the fill factor of a solar panel, the closer the blue curve is to the red curve.
One can say that a higher FF solar panel has less parasitic losses, i.e., losses due to the
series and parallel resistances within the cell itself.
When commercial solar panels are labelled, they take the FF into account, and only
measure the real power. When hobby cells are labelled, you will see that most of the time
they will just states the short circuit current and open circuit voltage.

- 49 -


Location: Narketpally, Nalgonda Dist., Telangana.
Latitude and Longitude: 17.2 and 79.2 respectively.
Area of the site: 8 acres.

Fig: Site layout

- 50 -

Solar PV system includes different components depended on your system type, site
location and applications. The major components for solar PV system are solar charge
controller, inverter, battery bank, auxiliary energy sources and loads (appliances).
Total watt hours per day required on an average by all appliances in the nearby industry to
which power is to be supplied is 572500
The lowest month solar has a daily average of 4.1 kWh/ m /day and is observed in the
month of august.
This is equivalent to 4.1 hours of 1000 W/m2 sunlight every day. Each Wp of the panel
would therefore deliver 4.1 Wh/day.
Corrections that have to be considered include:

15% for temperature above 25 C

5% for losses due to sunlight not striking the panel straight on (caused by glass
having increasing reflectance at lower angles of incidence)

10% for losses due to not receiving energy at the maximum power point (not
present if there is a MPPT controller)

5% allowance for dirt

10% allowance for the panel being below specification and for ageing

Total power = 0.85 x .95 x .90 x .95x .90 = 0.62 of the original Wp rating.
Accounting for losses, Panel Generation Factor (PGF) can be calculated as
4.1*0.62=2.54 Wh/Wp/day
Losses that have to be addressed by panel are

Wiring and connection losses about 10%

Losses in the battery about 20%

Total losses around 30%, so the panel will need to produce enough Wh/day for the
load plus enough to cover the losses. So it will have to produce about 130% of the energy
required by the load

- 51 -

To calculate the Wh/day needed from the panel, multiply the load Wh/day times 1.3
Minimum Wp (peak wattage) of the plant needed to meet load requirement is
= 572500*1.3/PGF
= 572500*1.3/2.54
So capacity of solar plant can install is approximately 293kW.
PV Module Specification:
Pmax (Wp) = 255.55
Vmax =31.42
Imax = 8.13A
Voc= 37.59 V
Isc= 8.7116 A
FF= 78.04%
Efficiency= 15.7%
Total number of PV modules required

= 293012/255.55
= 1146.82
= 1147 (approx.)

Two blocks can be designed each of 12 rows. Each row can be made of two strings
with each string comprising of 24 modules in series. This setup needs in total of 1152
modules and it is always a better choice to use a bit more number of modules than required.
One motor can be used for each block for the purpose of single axis tracking. If we
consider 4 rows as a group, there are 6 groups in total and each group can be arranged with
one AJB. So there are 6 AJBs in total. 8 strings connected to one AJB are arranged in parallel
Output voltage of each string = 24*31.42 =754.08 V Output current of each string = 8.13 A
Output voltage of each group = 754.08 V Output current of each group = 8.13*8=65.04 A
Dc Output Calculation:
Output power of each string = 754.08*8.13=6130.67 W
Output power of each group = 754.08*65.04=49045.36 W Output power of 6 groups =
294.3 kW
- 52 -

Battery Size:
If battery of 48V is used
Battery Size (Ah) = (572500*1.3*1)/ (0.85*0.6*48) = 30402.4
Since formula for battery size is:

'0.85' accounts for battery losses 0.6 accounts for depth of discharge
Solar Charge Controller Sizing:
Its function is to regulate the voltage and current from the solar arrays to the battery
in order to prevent overcharging and also over discharging. According to standard practice,
the sizing of solar charge controller is to take the short circuit current (Isc) of the PV array,
and multiply it by 1.3
Solar charge controller sizing = Short circuit current of PV Array*1.3 Isc of a module or
string = 8.7116 A
Number of strings = 48
Solar charge controller rating = 48*8.7116*1.3 =543.6 A
Inverter sizing:
An inverter is used in the system where AC power output is needed. Inverter can
tolerate input up to 120% of its capacity so a central inverter of size 280kW is suitable for
this purpose.

- 53 -

Solar radiation data is available from several sources including satellite simulations.
The data collection and simulation is a complex procedure and can have inaccuracies
varying from 3-20%. The most reliable data is ground measured with accurate instruments.
Capacity utilization factor (CUF) depends on several factors including the solar
radiation, temperature, air velocity apart from the module type and quality, angle of tilt (or
tracking), design parameters to avoid cable losses and efficiencies of inverters and
transformers. There are some inherent losses which can be reduced through proper
designing but not completely avoided. It would be desirable to monitor the solar plant
installations and build up database for future work.
How to reasonably utilize green energy and keep sustainable development is the
most important challenge. Solar Photovoltaic power plants will play an important role in the
overall energy supply. The grid parity is likely to be achieved around 2017-2020. We should
grasp the opportunity to build the most suitable environmental friendly solar PV power
plants, and welcome a better tomorrow.

- 54 -