Wish to Set up a Rooftop Solar System on Your Dwelling? Here is What You Ought to Know

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Want to Install a Rooftop Solar System on Your Home_ Here's What You Should Know

Solar energy is the most flexible form of renewable energy and affordable enough for most households. As solar costs keep falling, the process of installing solar energy, what to know, where to start, who to call, and what to pay, is not that simple.

Mercom has received a spate of requests for rooftop solar panels from residential customers who want to know how to install them and who to talk to. This reinforces our view that consumer awareness is one of the main reasons that residential rooftop installations are not gaining momentum.

While the COVID pandemic has impacted consumer finances for the past six months, consumer interest and acceptance of solar has always been weak in India compared to other countries.

Information on roofing suppliers, costs, government policies, subsidies and procedures is difficult for a homeowner to obtain.

The ideal roof for your solar system

The most important part of a solar system on the roof is the quality of the roof.

A critical factor is the age of the roof structure and the amount of wear and tear it has suffered. If repairs are required, they should be done before installing a solar system. The roof should be able to hold installations securely.

Shaili Yadav, Business Head at HomeScape – a residential solar installer from Amplus Solar – says: “The installation itself is not difficult to damage the roof. However, strong winds can affect the installation. Therefore, the roof must hold the installation when the wind is blowing at high speed. “

The other main characteristic concerns sunlight. It has to be available 365 days a year in an ideal situation. In other words, the roof must not be shaded by large objects such as trees, adjacent roofs, or buildings.

Ramesh Shivanna, director at Sadbhavana Energy, says that a 100 square meter shade-free roof is normally required to install a 1 kW solar panel on the roof.

Before installing solar systems, it is necessary to consider the type of roof and its orientation. Pitched roofs are ideal for installing solar modules, especially if the slope faces south. Since India falls in the northern hemisphere, south-facing solar systems on the roof receive most of the sunlight.

On flat roofs, the modules should be installed at an angle to the south.

How big should your solar system be on the roof?

The ideal size of a solar system on the roof for an average house can be between 1 kW and 10 kW. The ideal available roof area and the capacity allowed for installation by the power distribution companies determine the size of the solar system that can be installed on the roof.

Typically, the cost of electricity in a house depends on factors such as the total area of ​​the house, the devices used, and the hours of operation.

For example, in Bangalore, a two bedroom house with 8-9 40 watt (W) lights each, 6-7 ceiling fans, 2-3 water heaters, and two air conditioners will attract a monthly utility bill of around £ 2,000-3,000 ($ 27-41 ) at an average electricity tariff of £ 5.50 per unit (kWh). Usage and associated bills depend on the use of these devices. The bill will be significantly higher in the summer when the air conditioners run through the night. These houses usually have a 6 to 7 kW power rating from the power distribution company.

According to Yadav, an average of a 5 kW system is installed on household roofs. The efficiency of the installation depends on the efficiency of the solar module. If the panel is 330W, a 5kW system would require around 15 solar panels.

“We ask customers about their electricity bills. For example, imagine someone consuming a certain number of units, equivalent to utility bills of £ 15,000 ($ 203). We split the invoice amount using the electricity distribution company tariff, which is in the range of £ 5 to £ 6 (~ $ 0.06) per unit and is approximately 2,500 to 3,000 units of electricity per month. “

These solar systems on the roof are connected to the power grid. This means that the electricity generated from the solar system on the roof is supplied to the distribution company and is monitored via the network metering system, if available.

The electricity generated by a rooftop solar system doesn’t mean you are no longer dependent on the grid. This just means that you are generating clean energy to offset the power consumption of the DISCOMs while reducing your electricity costs. The money you invest in the rooftop solar panels is offset by savings on electricity bills.

How long will my solar system last on the roof?

Mercom spoke to U-Solar Clean Energy’s founder and CEO, KR Harinarayan, who said, “A rooftop solar system will produce clean energy for approximately 25 years. Maintaining the solar system is important to its longevity and it is important to source the best products. “

Once the system has exceeded its useful life, you can either re-invest in the project by replacing or upgrading the products, including solar panels and inverters, or by recycling the components.

According to Mercom’s Q2 2020 India Solar Market Update, the average cost of rooftop solar projects in India has steadily decreased. The decrease in the cost of installing solar panels on small roofs is mainly due to falling prices for solar panels.

Our upcoming articles will answer questions like costs, savings, and other vital information that are critical to installing a solar system on the roof of a residential building.

Contact us if you are planning to install solar on your roof – info@mercomindia.com

Photo credit: Posted by the US Department of Energy – Children of the Sun Solar Initiative, public domain


Rahul is a reporter at Mercom India. Prior to entering the renewable energy world, Rahul was the director of the Gujarat office for The Quint. He has also worked for DNA Ahmedabad and Ahmedabad Mirror. Rahul has a background in banking and finance and has also worked for JP Morgan Chase and the State Bank of India. More articles from Rahul Nair.

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