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Solkar Solar Industry Ltd, recently inaugurated their “Model Solar Park” at D.G. Vaishnav College, Tamil Nadu. A function was held to facilitate the launch. The event entitled “Movement for Green Revolution”, was hosted at the college premises was graced by esteemed dignitaries including Natham R. Viswanathan (Hon’ble Minister for Electricity, TN) and Deepak Gupta (Secretary, MNRE).

The event played host to discussions from the varies dignitaries covering both the regulatory as well as the technical side of small scale solar based power generation as well as solar water heating and was ably anchored by K.E. Raghunathan – a visionary in his own right and the founder of Solkar Solar. The discussions and presentations were followed by the inauguration of the 10 kWp solar rooftop power generation system and the accompanying solar water heating system at the boys’ hostel.

Mr Raghunathan was keen on discussing the technical aspects of the systems and how he expects small scale solar installations to satisfy the burgeoning energy demand in the state. A brief technical description of the system is given below.

 

Model Solar Park

The salient features of the solar park are

  • Rooftop 10 kWp SPV plant in the main library block
  • Fifty (solar powered) street lights in the campus
  • Two 1000 litre Flat Plate Collector based water heating system in the boys’ hostel

 

Rooftop 10kWp SPV Plant

The rooftop PV system is divided into the following parts

  • The solar array on the roof of the library block
  • Balance of system components
  • Control room– housing the battery bank and monitoring system

Solar panel array

The solar panels (based on crystalline silicon technology) used are manufactured by Titan Energy Systems. The specifications of the solar array employed are

  • Installed area of 40 square meters
  • Effective collection area of 16 square meters
  • Module specification – 215 Wp rated polycrystalline solar cell module
  • Voltage rating – 37V and Current rating – 8A
  • Nominal Operating Cell Temperature – of 45±1C

Control Room

The control room consists of a charging control unit, battery array and a monitoring system available with handshake signals to the charging control-cum-inverter unit imported from Australia.

  • The control operations are governed through a GUI which provides control as well as data on various parameters such as daytime peak, instantaneous, grid input consumption, excess power etc.
  • The control room also houses the battery bank to store excess energy generated for later use which ensures that the system is completely self-sufficient.
  • Battery bank – 120V (12V x 10 units) low maintenance battery system with units connected in series.
  • Charging system is supported by highly efficient MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) system which ensures optimal charging.

 

Solar Water Heating System

The solar water heating system was installed to supply hot water for bathing, cleaning of vessels and also for cooking.

  • Flat plate collector based heating system
  • The flat plate collector consists of copper tubes of 20mm diameter enclosed in an aluminium casing
  • Each collector has a capacity of 4L, with the storage tank having a capacity of 1000L
  • The storage tank is insulated using glass wool in a stainless steel enclosure which ensures that the temperature is retained for up to 48 hours
  • The event highlighted the advantages of FPC over EPC which included its higher efficiency levels, better suitability to tropical climates and lower maintenance requirements

 

Giving the special address was Mr. Deepak Gupta, who stressed on the efforts put forth by MNRE to promote green energy and sustainability in India. In his address,Mr. Gupta justified the government’s decision to reduce subsidy support for Solar PV systems by stating that the cost of production has reduced across the value chain due to adoption of advanced technologies. Mr. Gupta also stated that setting up R&D institutions, training manpower, opening market to players and encouraging new market entrants was the need of the time for solar industry.

The event concluded with a technical seminar which consisted of a technical session and a presentation on solar power utilization and applications.