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Photovoltaic comprises the technology to convert sunlight directly into electricity. The term
photo means light and voltaic, electricity. A photovoltaic (PV) cell, also known as solar cell, is
a semiconductor device that generates electricity when light falls on it. Since its first commercial
use in powering orbital satellites of the US space programs in the 1950s, PV has made significant
progress with total photovoltaic module industry growing at more than 40% in the past decade.

The PV modules combined with a set of additional application-dependent system components

(e.g. inverters, batteries, electrical components, and mounting systems), form a PV system. These
PV systems are highly modular, i.e. modules can be linked together to provide power ranging from
a few watts to tens of megawatts (MW).

The solar PV panels typically produce DC electricity which is fed to a grid interactive inverter, which
converts the DC electricity into AC electricity at a required voltage level. In order to achieve a
higher system voltage, the output of inverters is fed to step up transformers to increase the
voltage levels at the desired level. From the transformer, the power is routed through the high
voltage panel and eventually to other required measuring & protection devices before connecting
to the grid. The major equipments and components of a typical solar plant are shown in the
following figure.

Figure 7 Typical solar PV system components

Photovoltaic technologies
Traditional solar cells are made from silicon, are usually flat-plate, and generally are the most
efficient. Second-generation solar cells are called thin-film solar cells because they are made from
amorphous silicon or non-silicon materials such as cadmium telluride. Thin film solar cells use
layers of semiconductor materials only a few micrometres thick. Because of their flexibility, thin
film solar cells can double as rooftop shingles and tiles, building facades, or the glazing for

Third-generation solar cells are being made from variety of new materials besides silicon, including
solar inks using conventional printing press technologies, solar dyes, and conductive plastics. Some
new solar cells use plastic lenses or mirrors to concentrate sunlight onto a very small piece of high
efficiency PV material.

In spite of availability of all the technology, crystalline technology has maximum number of
installation world wise. Hence, we can say this technology is a proven one. In addition to this,
technology wise technology brief is as follows:

Crystalline Technology:

Typically, there are two types of crystalline technology mono-crystalline and multicrystalline. Both
the technologies are made up of silicon material and have some pros and cons. Basic features of
individual technology are as follows.

Mono-Crystalline Silicon

Mono-crystalline Silicon has a continuous crystal lattice structure with practically zero defects or
impurities. Mono-crystalline Silicon is superior to other types of silicon cells in terms of higher
efficiencies which are typically around 18-23%. However, the mono crystalline Si-cell production
is an expensive process when compared to other types of PV cells. Mono-Crystalline panels are
mostly considered where the space is limited as in the case of roof tops. The lifespan of mono-
crystalline cells is a minimum of 25 years and can go more, making them a worthwhile investment
for long term use.
Figure 8 Mono-Crystalline Silicon Module Figure 9 Multi-Crystalline Silicon

Multi-Crystalline Silicon

Multi-crystalline (or poly-crystal) silicon panels are made by using polycrystalline wafers. Multi
crystalline wafers consists of number of crystallites with different grain sizes will be having grain
boundaries and several defects. Multi-crystalline Si growth is relatively cheaper than the mono
crystalline Si and the cells made up of these wafers are relatively cheaper. Due to the defects the
efficiency of these cells reduces and the module efficiencies typically range in between 14-16%.
The lifetime of these modules is also around 25 years or more and these panels are cheaper
option where the space is not a limitation. These panels are commonly preferred ones for grid
connected applications.

Thin Film Solar Panels

Thin film modules are potentially cheaper to manufacture than crystalline cells have a wider
customer appeal as design elements due to their homogeneous appearance present.
Disadvantages include low-conversion efficiencies and requiring larger areas of PV arrays and more
material (cables, support structures) to produce the same amount of electricity.

Figure 10 Thin film PV module

Material costs and manufacturing costs are lower per unit area as compared to those of crystalline
silicon cells.
Comparison of Major PV Technologies
Table 2 Technology Comparison
Parameter Crystalline Thin Film
Types of Mono-crystalline polycrystalline Amorphous Silicon, CdS,
Materials / CdTe, CIGS etc.

Parameters of

Handling Better protection Better protection Not Guaranteed

against breakage against breakage

Power Efficiency 14 - 24% 13-17% 8-14%

Technology Well developed Well Developed Under development
Market experience High Maximum Low
MW scale

Area utilization Maximum as compared Higher power generated Less power per unit area
to other technologies per unit area due to high
due to highest efficiency
efficiency than Thin

Temperature Moderate level Moderate level perform best as

Effects compared to other

Irradiance Used particularly for Used particularly for Better performance with
Normal radiations Normal radiations Diffuse
Output per MW Highest per given High lowest per given area
installed area
Mounting Lowest low Highest

Land Lowest low Highest


Inverter High inverter High inverter Limited inverter

flexibility flexibility flexibility
Environment Less sensitive Less Sensitive Sensitive

Stabilization Stable power output Stable power output Stability achieved

after 4-6 months

Availability Easily available Easily available Limited supply

Power Less degradation Less degradation Highest degradation for

Degradation initial 5-7 years

Cabling Well known, and Well known, and Well Understood but yet
difficult due to higher
lower cabling losses lower cabling losses
number of arrays, along
with high cabling losses

Suitability for Best Good Comparatively less

Grid Technology


The solar electricity is produced when the photons from the sun rays hit the electrons in the solar
PV panels, this will generate Direct Current (DC). The DC electricity from the panels passes through
inverter, which converts the DC electricity into around 350V three phase AC which is stepped up
through transformers at about 33 kV voltage levels to feed this electricity in to the grid.

In order to achieve a higher system voltage, modules are connected in series, called a string. A
higher system voltage has the advantage of less installation work (smaller conductor cross
sections). Lower currents flow at the same efficiency so that cable losses are reduced. The strings
are connected with the photovoltaic branch or the PV-distributor (Smart connect box). This
distributor is connected with the Main Combiner Box (MCB) which acts as the main DC collecting
unit which passes the power to be converted to the central inverters.

Central inverters combine the various advantages of the other installation technologies. Thus the
module fields are less sensitive towards partial darkening, as is the case with string inverters. This
results in a very good MPP-matching of the inverters. Thanks to higher system voltages than is the
case with module oriented inverters, central inverters reach a very high efficiency. Furthermore,
installations can be expanded with additions of more modules without problems. Thus
photovoltaic installations of greater efficiency can be constructed economically.

The AC power from the inverter are passed to low voltage panel and then to the main transformer.
From the transformer, the power is routed through the high voltage panel and eventually to other
required measuring & protection devices before connecting to the grid.

Grid connected solar power plant comprises of the main equipment and components listed below.

Solar PV Modules

Central inverters

Module mounting system

Grid connect equipments

Monitoring system


Cables & connectors

Buildings for housing the electronics (Power-house)

A simple block diagram, related to the interconnection of various systems for grid connectivity, is
shown below for reference. The power from modules is directed to the central inverters through
the DC combiner boxes and from the inverters it is routed though the Low voltage panel to the
transformer. From the transformer, the high voltage power is routed to the metering panel, LCB
and eventually to grid through the High Voltage Panel.
Figure 11 Block diagram showing interconnection of various systems

Solar PV Modules

A photovoltaic module is a packaged interconnected assembly of photovoltaic cells, which

converts sunlight into energy. For this project, JA solar make multi crystalline PV technology solar
module of 255 Wp is considered. The tilt angle for the modules would be 25 o (all the modules will
be facing south).

Table 3 JA Solar PV module parameters

S. No Parameter Value
1 Short circuit current- Ish 8.88 A
2 Maximum power point current-Impp 8.4 A
3 Temperature coefficient 5.2 mA/0C
4 Open circuit voltage 37.62
5 Maximum Power Voltage 30.36 V
6 Maximum System Voltage 1000 V
7 Series Fuse Rating 15 A
8 Module Efficiency 15.59 %
Figure 12: Typical photovoltaic solar module


Inverters are used for DC voltage to AC voltage conversion. According to output voltage form they
could be rectangle, trapezoid or sine shaped. The most expensive, yet at the same time the best
quality inverters, output voltage in sine wave. Inverters connecting a PV system and the public grid
are purposefully designed, allowing energy transfers to and from the public grid. Central inverters
are used in large applications. Many times they can be connected according to the "master-slave"
criteria, when the succeeding inverter switches on only when enough solar radiation is available or
in case of main inverter malfunction. Inverters connected to module strings are used in wide
power range applications allowing for more reliable operation.

In the proposed project the invertors will connect string of modules (each module of
255Wp (+-3%)). The output of the strings will be connected to
Bonfigliol_RPS_1360_Multi_MPPT 1200 kW inverter. Like this 8 inverters are required.

The inverter is nothing but converting the DC Power into AC power and feeding into the grid. It is
designed with a high efficiency >97% with IGBT technology, It is delivering the maximum power
generated through solar modules in to grid due to its in-built feature of MPPT operations. The
inverter is having internal self protection in case of any fault in the grid. Also the inverter has
inbuilt contactors/breakers with fuses for self protections.

The inverter is having in-built microprocessor based controls. The Inverters is designed in such a
way that it will synchronize with the utility (grid) power with respect to the Voltage and frequency
of grid and it gets corrected itself according to the grid parameters within its settable limits. The
inverter is designed in such a way that it will sense the array power and grid power; if both are
available it starts and stops automatically in the morning and evening respectively. Each inverter is
having a remote and local data monitoring system with which we can monitor all the parameters
and current energy generation &past generation for the given period. The output voltage of the
inverter is connected to step-up transformer of 0.350/33 KV or as per the customer requirement.
Figure 13: Typical Solar Inverter

Table 4 Bonfiglioli RPS 1360 Multi MPPT Inverter parameters

S. No Parameters Values
1 Minimum MPPT voltage 550V
2 Maximum MPPT voltage 875V
3 Absolute max PV voltage 1000V
4 Output voltage 360V
5 Maximum Efficiency 98.6%

Module mounting system

The module mounting structure is designed for holding suitable number of modules in series. The
frames and leg assembles of the array structures is made of mild steel hot dip galvanized of
suitable sections of Angle, Channel, Tubes or any other sections conforming to IS:2062 for steel
structure to met the design criteria. All nuts & bolts considered for fastening modules with this
structure are of very good quality of stainless steel. The array structure is designed in such a way
that it will occupy minimum space without sacrificing the output from SPV panels at the same
Figure 14 Typical module mounting structure

Monitoring System

System proposed will maintain and provide all technical information on daily solar radiation
availability, hours of sunshine, duration of plant operation and the quantum of power fed to the
grid. This will help in estimation of generation in kWh per MWp PV array capacity installed at the
site. The system also enables diagnostic and monitoring functions for these components.
Communication: Data modem (analogue/ethernet), few features are presented as follows.

Monitors the performance of the entire power plant (string wise monitoring, junction
boxes, inverters, etc)

Evaluates (strings, inverter, nominal/actual value), quantity of DC Power & AC Power


Measures instantaneous irradiation level and temperature at site. It also measures the
module back surface temperature.

Alerts in case of error (discrepancy in normal operation of components, like module

string/ diodes/ inverter/ junction box / loose contacts/ etc,) to facilitate recognition and
correction of the fault with minimum downtime.

Visualizes nominal status of the connected components via Control Center PC Software
(diagnosis on site or remote)

Logs system data and error messages for further processing or storing

Stores and visualizes energy yield data (for life of the plant) in the Portal from where the
data can be accessed remotely.

The instrumentation & control system for the solar power plant will be based on the
prevailing standard engineering practices

Design will ensure full compliances of codes and standards as applicable the field of
instrumentation & control for power plant

The whole plant will be operated through SCADA system

a. The SCADA system shall have the following features:

Monitoring: Ability to control, using specially designed devices, the state & evolution
of one or various physiologic (or others) parameters to detect possible malfunctions

Remote control: Group of devices which allow modifying the state of the equipment
and devices of the plant, from a remote location

b. The SCADA system shall be used for the following minimum tasks:
To invoice the produced energy
To detect the incidences and malfunctions (up to logical string level)

To give the information at a given time interval: a) Availability, b) Performance

Ratio and Production (kWh/kWp)

c. The SCADA System will be reliable and robust and some components need redundancy for
trouble free operation

Cables and Connectors

The size of the cables between array interconnections, array to junction boxes, junction boxes to
PCU etc shall be so selected to keep the voltage drop and losses to the minimum. The bright
annealed 99.97% pure bare copper conductors that offer low conductor resistance, they result in
lower heating thereby increase in life and savings in power consumption. These wires are insulated
with a special grade PVC compound formulated. The skin coloration offers high insulation
resistance and long life. Cables are flexible & of annealed electrolytic grade copper conductor and
shall confirm to IS 1554/694-1990 and are extremely robust and resist high mechanical load and

Cable is of high temperature resistance and excellent weatherproofing characteristics which

provides a long service life to the cables used in large scale projects. The connectors/lugs of
copper material with high current capacity and easy mode of assembly are proposed.
capacities requires about 7300 KL of water annually for cleaning. It is estimated that the water
requirement in the plant will be about 12KL per day and 120 KL of water for complete cleaning of
the plant in a 10-day cleaning cycle. Accordingly a bore well and a RO Plant is require to be
installed which will be adequate enough for cleaning of modules of proposed plant capacity.

A first-aid station will be located as part of the power house/office room. Sufficient space will be
provided for vehicle parking near to the power house. Within the layout approach roads will be
made for easy movement of man & machines.

Power Evacuation Plan

The Direct Current (DC) from modules is converted into Alternating Current (AC) by Inverters. The
inverter outputs are given to a transformer in the control room (using 33 kV XLPE cable). Through
control, protection and metering equipment power shall be evacuated to 132/33 kV Grid
substation on Sherghati. This is just 4.5 km from the plant. Transmission line from solar PV plant to
proposed grid substation needs to be erected.
The cost of erection shall be borne by project developer and line shall be erected by STU or
DISCOM. Proposed substation is under working condition and can accommodate the proposed
plant capacity.

The Power evacuation system comprises of following major components:

Transformer Oil immersed type with Off circuit tap changer with all accessories
415V Low Voltage (LV) Panel
33kV High Tension (HT) Panel
33kV Metering Panel
LT & HT cables
Control & Power evacuation cables


The proposed transformer shall be installed outdoor suitable for hot, humid and tropical climate.
The transformer will be free from annoying hum and vibration when it is in operation, even at 10%
higher voltage over the rated voltage. The noise level will be in accordance with respective

The transformer will be designed and constructed so as not to cause any undesirable interference
in radio or communication circuits. The oil filled transformer will be capable of operating
continuously at its rated output without exceeding the temperature rise limits as given below over
design ambient temperature of 50 deg C.

In oil by thermometer 50 deg C

In winding by resistance 55 deg C

The transformer will be designed to withstand without injury, the thermal and mechanical effect
of short circuit at its terminal with full voltage maintained behind it for a period of 1 second. The
transformer will be capable of continuous operation at the rated output under voltage and
frequency variation without injurious heating at that particular tap for all tap positions.

Phase connections will be delta on LV side and star on HV side. HV side shall be resistance earthed.
HV side shall be suitable for connection to 33kV HT panel. LV side shall be suitable for connection
to LV panel. Transformer will be designed for over fluxing withstand capability of 110% continuous
and 125% for at least 1 minute. Further it shall be capable of withstanding 140% of rated voltage
at the transformer LV terminal for a period of 5 seconds to take into account sudden load throw off

Overloads will be allowed within conditions defined in the loading guide of applicable standard.
Under these conditions, no limitations by terminal bushings, off circuit tap changers or other
auxiliary equipment shall apply.

The battery shall be of storage type Valve Regulated Lead Acid Type (VRLA) battery (Conforming to
IS: 1652) or Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) type. The Battery shall be high discharge performance type.
The plates shall be designed for maximum durability during all service conditions including high
rate of discharge & rapid fluctuation of load. For the purpose of design, an ambient temperature
of 50C and relative humidity of 85% shall be considered.

i) Battery Chargers
Battery charger for each battery will be one number float & float cum boost charger of suitable
capacity for quick boost and trickle charging as well as supplying the DC loads. The battery
chargers will be of silicon controlled rectifier type completely automatic and self-regulating type.
The float charger will be capable of floating the battery and at the same time supply the
continuous DC load. The boost charger will be capable of charging the fully discharged battery to
full charge.

Grid Synchronization Scheme

The output power from the LV panel is taken to set-up transformer, where the voltage is stepped
up from 415V to 33kV. The output of the transformer is fed to HT panel and from the HT panel to
Double Pole (DP) structure.

From DP structure, panthor conductors run to another DP structure located near the existing
132/33 kV grid at about 4.5 km from switchyard of the power plant. Single pole (SP) structures are
provided at equal intervals. The number of single pole structures required is determined based on
sag calculation. The location of DP and SP structures will be decided during detailed engineering.
Air Breaker (AB) switch is provided near DP structure to facilitate isolation of the power plant from
the grid during emergency. Jump conductors are used to connect the DP structure to the existing
33 kV grid.

Energy yield
PVsyst simulation results in the generation of 17657 MWh/ year with performance ratio of 80.4%.
The global solar radiation, diffuse solar radiation and mean hourly temperature data from SOLAR
GIS has been used for estimation of energy yield for the proposed power plant.

Figure 16 Energy yield snapshot of PVsyst

The energy yield is calculated based on the optimized annual tilted (i.e. 25 0-estimated from the
PVsyst) SPV array surface considering south facing (i.e. zero azimuth angles).
Figure 17 Tilt angle optimization snapshot from PVsyst
Figure 18 Sun path for the proposed location

Efficiency and losses

In a solar PV plant there are many sorts of losses which affect the total energy yield. The loss in
the, Solar PV System depends on the Solar PV Module and Inverter technology used, efficiency and
quality of PV Modules, Inverter, Junction Boxes and cables, workmanship of installation and
scheduled maintenance and cleaning. The models of Solar PV Module as well as the Inverter
selected for the simulation process comply with relevant international standards.

Table 6 Losses in solar PV plant

S. no Efficiency/ Loss Loss (%)
1 IAM factor on global 2.90%
2 PV loss due to irradiance level 0.30%
3 PV loss due to temperature 8.30%
4 Array soiling losses 2%
5 Module quality loss 1.5%
6 Module array mismatch loss at MPP 1.0 %
7 Ohmic wiring loss at STC 1.1%
8 Inverter loss during operation 1.6%

Annual degradation

The estimated life of PV modules is considered as 25 years. Performance of solar PV modules

degrades over its specified lifetime. Normally, PV module manufacturers provide a performance
guarantee and indicate the rate of degradation over the module lifetime. Essentially the solar PV
modules used in grid solar power plants are warranted for output wattage which should not be
less than 90% at the end of 10 years and 80% at the end of 25 years. In the present exercise, the
annual degradation has been taken as 0.60 %; linear for entire project life of 25 years.

Uncertainty Analysis

The cumulative uncertainty in an energy yield prediction is tedious to quantify as it depends on

various dependent/independent parameters. Using the calculation of the irradiation on the plane
of solar PV module and understanding of the configuration and specifications of solar PV Modules
the PVSYSY software has been used for evaluation of DC/AC electricity generated and fed in to the
grid. In order to estimate the overall uncertainty in the annual energy yield reported above the
overall losses have been considered precisely toward their impact on the overall plant

Solar radiation is one of the core parameter which creates maximum uncertainty in the
measurement. A typical relative accuracy of measurements and meteorological stations by a well
calibrated/maintained Pyranometer is 3- 5%; which represents the upper limit in accuracy of
resource data obtained through meteorological stations. Solar GIS data has been used for the
energy yield calculation which has been generated through synthetic weather generator. Following
table presents various losses and associated uncertainty of the energy yield calculation.

S. No. Uncertainty/Loss Parameters Uncertainty (%)

1 Irradiance Solar GIS 12

2 Ambient (operating) temperature 1
3 Conversion to inclined surface (PVSYST) 3
4 Soiling 1.5
5 Spectral Uncertainty 0.5
6 Albedo 0.5
7 Reflection 0.5
8 Deviation from module spec 1
9 Inverter and Transformer losses 1
10 Mismatch 1
11 Ohmic losses 1.5
12 Plant availability 1
13 Grid Availability 1
14 Shading losses 1.5
Total Uncertainty 12.9%