Every home is unique and has its own set of needs. Several factors go into making sure the solar power and battery system are designed to fit the individual requirements. Unfortunately, not all companies keep this in mind.
A poorly designed system can reduce the financial benefits that you can reap from solar by a significant percentage.. Therefore, in order to make the most out of your solar investment let’s try to understand how engineering, project execution, and effective operation and maintenance practices can improve the efficiency of the rooftop solar system:
Design & Engineering
Design and Engineering is one of the most critical factors which is widely ignored by a majority of solar PV system installers. Efficient solar system design is a must to receive the best performance from a rooftop solar system, and most of the solar system installers lack in this area. A poor design leads to a substantial loss of generation and therefore impacts one's savings and financial returns negatively. Here’s how good solar installers ensure optimum solar system design and engineering:
A site survey is very critical for any solar installation process. Designing of an optimum rooftop solar system requires a thorough knowledge of the rooftop, such as the shading objects, open space on rooftop etc. Knowing these helps the solar engineers design a right-sized solar system as per the unique architecture of the rooftop.
To Be Noted- even a shade of 5% of a single module may lead to a 75-80% loss of generation in the solar string.
Solar System Layout
The layout and placement of solar equipment on the roof are incredibly crucial for optimum performance as the solar radiation is not the same across the whole area. A proper layout can also help reduce the cost of the solar system. It is advisable to connect those modules electrically in the same string which are prone to early shading as compared to the other modules which are not. One should segregate the modules based on their current rating and try to keep modules with a narrow current range in one string. One can also put lower current rating strings in lesser solar access areas and the higher ones in higher solar access areas. This way, one can optimise the system output within the given rooftop circumstances.
Selection of Equipment
If one selects the right equipment considering the local weather and site conditions, generation loss can be reduced -solar modules with the right temperature coefficient can reduce the temperature loss, use of a string inverter with multi MPPT can reduce shading and mismatch losses, and use of the right size of cable can reduce the ohmic losses.
Operation & Maintenance (O&M)
Talking about operation and maintenance of the solar system, although solar plants do not require much O&M, a good planning and preventive schedule supported with detailed plant performance data can help improve the generation gradually. As rooftop solar systems are not monitored that much, it becomes tough to track plant performance closely, which may lead to a substantial loss of generation. It is always better to use a data logger or a remote monitoring device. If one takes care of simple things, generation can be improved significantly. Let’s see how:
Conduct periodical cleaning modules of solar panels as it can easily increase the generation by 2-7% or even more depending on the location of installation.
Shading objects- Sometimes, one puts some temporary objects like cables/ wires crossing across the roof, which may cast a shadow and lead to generation loss.
Check whether there is any bird droppings, cracks, fallen leaves, dirt accumulation, or any other damage
Inspections for Inverter function by observing the LED indication and Meters, and more.
With the above-mentioned points, we can say that there the rooftop system design is quite important and if it is not done properly it may reduce the generation. So it is crucial for you as a consumer to partner with the solar installer who does sound engineering and system designing and keeps certain factors in mind during installation and solar O&M. The proper design will not only minimise the risk but can get much higher performance from the rooftop solar system.