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Alakananda Hostel S-Net Assessment Report

Team Members

Srinath Sibi (ALAK TAS) Siddharth V Pillai Tanay Chourasia Adarsh Raj Akshay Soni Contents Introduction Captive Photovoltaic cells Solar Modules Charge Controllers Batteries Inverters Rooftop Analysis Compiled Data from Survey Design of System PCU sizing Battery Sizing Schematic Diagram Cost Analysis Optional Components Breakthroughs Reduction of off-grid costs Page No: 1 3 5 7 10 11 12 13 15 16 18 19 20 23 24 25


Solar energy has been a part of peoples lives for thousands of years. It has been used for drying clothes, food and other such things. The sun is also the life giver of the world; the solar energy radiated through the atmosphere provides earth with the energy necessary for survival. This energy is now used in a modern invention called photovoltaic cells, which convert the suns energy into relative power. The earth is rich in natural resources; however the earths natural resources are being consumed at a tremendous rate. It will only be a matter of time before those resources are depleted and the population is forced to consider other alternatives. People can wait until every resource has been consumed and go back to living the way mankind did over a century ago, or people can continue to move forward and explore the possibilities of utilizing the power of something that remains constantthe sun.

Solar water heating, where heat from the Sun is used to heat water in glass panels on your roof. Water is pumped through pipes in the panel. The pipes are painted black, so they get hotter when the Sun shines on them. The water is pumped in at the bottom so that convection helps the flow of hot water out of the top.

Photovoltaics are the direct conversion of light into electricity at the atomic level. Some materials exhibit a property known as the photoelectric effect that causes them to absorb photons of light and release electrons. When these free electrons are captured, an electric current results that can be used as electricity. A number of solar cells electrically connected to each other and mounted in a support structure or frame is called a photovoltaic module. Modules are designed to supply electricity at a certain voltage, such as a common 12 volts system. The current produced is directly dependent on how much light strikes the module.

Multiple modules can be wired together to form an array. In general, the larger the area of a module or array, the more electricity that will be produced. Photovoltaic modules and arrays produce direct-current (dc) electricity. They can be connected in both series and parallel electrical arrangements to produce any required voltage and current combination.

Activities Undertaken so far 1. Installation of LED lights in the hostel corridors. 2. Proposal of a competition to motivate people to participate in sustainability activities. 3. Survey undertaken to study the energy consumption in the hostel. Types of Solar Generation setups 1. Captive Photovoltaic 2. Non-Captive Photovoltaic 3. Concentrated solar thermal systems. For the purpose of generation of electrical requirements of a student hostel, we have to use captive photovoltaic systems. The reason for this decision being the large consumption of energy at nights.

Captive Photovoltaic Systems


The suns radiation generates electricity via the solar panels (photoelectric effect) and a current constitutes and the voltages of the several panels get added up in the combiner bus. The combiner bus is connected via a fuse (F)(to prevent damage due to over-current) to the charge controller, which controls the flow of charge to the battery while it charges. It is placed in order to ensure that the battery doesnt over-charge, nor over-discharge and gets charged in the minimum possible time, which in turn helps increase battery life by 2-3 years.

The charge controller is connected to the battery again via a fuse and also a shunt (in the negative terminal) which just ensures minimal current is being drawn for metering purposes. Now, the battery stores the energy generated by the solar panels. As most of the appliances or instruments nowadays are AC powered we need to convert the DC current from the battery to the required AC voltage and power ,and so the battery is connected to an inverter via a circuit breaker(which is similar to a fuse ,except in the fact that it can be just switched back to bring into use rather than replacing it).The inverter converts the DC voltage to AC(~230 V) which is then given out to the AC breaker panel or the appliances directly after ensuring all safety measures have been covered. NOTE : As Captive Solar PV systems are mostly off-grid, it is preferable to have a back-up DC generator in case the PV system needs to be shut down for maintenance. The connections linking it to the PV system are as shown in the schematic. However, for our hostel design, we dont need the generator as we have a grid connected system.

Solar Modules: A solar cell (also called photovoltaic cell) is a solid state device that converts the energy of sunlight directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect. Assemblies of cells are used to make solar modules also known as . modules, solar panels. Types of solar modules: There are two types of solar modules;

Solar Modules

Crystalline Silicon Solar Modules

Thin Film Solar Modules

Single Crystalline

Poly Crystalline

Sizing of Solar Modules:

The size of the panel generally determines the wattage it will put out at maximum. To estimate the size of your solar array, you'll need to know: The number of Watt-hours (wh) you plan to produce in one day. Watt h) The insolation value at your location.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We analyzed all the possibilities ( Mono and poly crystalline and thin film cells ) , it was found that : 1> When we consider only cost, thin films are the most economical, for given power requirement. 2> On considering, other factors, such as installation cost, payback period and constrained installation area, mono crystalline performs exceedingly well compared to thin film and polycrystalline modules.

Solar panels mounting:

Solar panels are mounted on iron fixtures so that it can withstand wind and weight of panels. The direction of panel is south facing for maximum power tracking. The tilt angle of panels will be 13 to 25 from horizontal. This angle is called axis tracking angle. You can set 40 degree tracking angle in the month of December and 10 degree in the month of June. In the month of September & March it will be 25 degree.

There are basically two types of charge controllers existing today in terms of functionality: 1.) PWM charge controllers: These kind of charge controllers operate by sending out pulses of charge which helps in uniform distribution of the charges on the plates of battery. These modulate the pulse widths and slopes of the voltage and current levels and also their rate of change. They operate in three phases : i. Bulk phase: During the Bulk phase of the charge cycle, the voltage gradually rises to the Bulk level (usually 14.4 to 14.6 volts) while the batteries draw maximum current. When Bulk level voltage is reached the absorption stage begins. Absorption phase: During this phase the voltage is maintained at Bulk voltage level for specified times (usually an hour) while the current gradually tapers off as the batteries charge up. Float phase: After the absorption time passes the voltage is lowered to float level (usually 13.4 to 13.7 volts) and the batteries draw a small maintenance current until the next cycle.



2.) MPPT charge controllers: They constantly track and maintain the optimum voltage and current to charge the battery. They match the output of the solar panels to the battery voltage to insure maximum charge (amps).

For example: even though your solar panel is rated at 100 watts, you won't get the full 100 watts unless the battery is at optimum voltage. If your batteries are low at say 12.4 volts, then your 100 watt solar panel rated at 6 amps at 16.5 volts (6 amps times 16.5 volts = 100 watts) will only charge at 6 amps times 12.4 volts or just 75 watts. You just lost 25% of your capacity! The MPPT controller compensates for the lower battery voltage by delivering closer to 8 amps into the 12.4 volt battery maintaining the full power of the 100 watt solar panel! 100 watts = 12.4 volts times 8 amps

Comparison of PWM and MPPT charge controllers:

Capacity PWM a)Available only up to 60 Amps only b)Can take only certain input voltages :12V,24V,48V c)Limits solar panel output voltage Inexpensive;<$250 60-80%(approx. 68%) MPPT a) Available up to 80 Amps b) Can take a varying range of input voltages and hence, reduces losses in transmission and provides flexibility in solar module configuration. Almost thrice that of PWM Increases charging efficiency to up to 30% Peak efficiency:99% Larger in size Ex:- Xantrex XW Solar Charge Controller368 146 138 mm High; Arrays having higher output voltage than battery nominal voltage can be used Much higher than PWM 2.5 W

Cost Efficiency

Physical Size

Flexibility for system growth

Low; Input voltage should be equal to battery nominal voltage Low 4.5W

Warranty and life Operating Power consumption

It was found that for captive power plants greater than 5 kW capacities, it is always better to use MPPT systems, though they are more expensive.They

outperform PWM charge controllers in terms of the operating efficiency and range of operation. If Wp is the peak power of the solar modules that the MPPT charge controller handles, then the input current to the MPPT controller would be Wp divided by nominal voltage of battery bank. Then, the MPPT charge controller should have at least 1.2 times this value as its current input capacity. The input voltage of the MPPT controller should be big enough to handle the open circuit voltages of the modules in series. MPPT charge controllers(Major companies)
Company Morning star Outback Solar converters Xantrex I 60 A 60 A 60 A 60 A Cost 565.50 $ 597.72 $ 581.45 $ 537.00 $ 12 V 800 W 900 W 48 W 720 W 24V 1600 W 1800 W 96 W 1440 W 48 V 3200 W 3600 W 192 W 2280 W

Maximum Battery current = I; Nominal maximum solar input = V; Capacity = C For a sample analysis ,let us consider an MPPT and a PWM charge controller from xantrex: For P power output from the solar panels, No.of MPPT charge controllers=P/(110*60) {values from datasheet Xantrex XW Solar Charge Controller MPPT 865-1030 } Total cost =Cmppt=P*537/(110*60)=0.081*P

BATTERIES Types of Batteries:

Sl. No. 1.Cost Flooded cost-effectiveness, least cost per amp hour Sealed AGM Gel Nearly three 2-3 times the times the cost cost of of flooded flooded batteries batteries No/negligible maintenance required sealed batteries conform to situations with space constraints that require you to store your batteries in unusual orientations or where venting is not possible increased ease of transportation less than a 2% self-discharge rate during transport and storage 10 years 8 years

2.Maintenance 3.Size and placement

require maintenance Need ventilation ; Mostly need to be kept outdoors which hinders working at ambient temperature classed under hazardous materials rules, which restrict shipping options longest life



% of electrical power lost as heat

3-7 years Industrial(Traction):20 years Industrial(Stationary):20 years 15-20%




An inverter is used in the system where AC power output is needed. There are basically three types of inverters on the basis of the output that they give :
Parameter\Type Cost Square Wave Power Inverter Least Expensive Modified Sine Wave Power Inverters Most popular and economical type of power inverter True Sine Wave Power Inverters Most expensive and best quality; Twice the price of modified sine wave power inverters of same capcity ,generally. It produces an AC waveform somewhere between a square wave and a pure sine wave

Output quality

The square wave it produces is inefficient and is hard on many types of equipment.

It produces an AC waveform somewhere between a square wave and a pure sine wave.(Some instruments like motors consume more than 30% their normal consumption and also make a buzzing sound.) Work well in all but the most demanding applications and even most computers work well; appliances that use motor speed controls or that use timers may not work quite right Very economical and reliable

Capacity Usability

500 watts or less Not suitable for captive systems; Cabin systems or mobile applications

It will run practically any type of AC equipment


Most appliances run more efficiently and use less power with a True Sine Wave inverter as opposed to a Modified Sine Wave power inverter. 1-2 years

Life .

6 months-1 year

1-2 years

Roof top area analysis:C

Total available area available (after taking out the shadowed regions)
Region A B C Area 93 x 5 93 x 5 30.36 x 8



Compiled data from survey conducted in the hostel

The data from the survey has been compiled into a table :

Energy Consumption by various Appliances

TubeLight Fan 2% 15% 32% Comp Other Devices





Design of system:
1. Solar Panels Model: Canadian Solar CSI CS6P-235 Peak Wattage =235 W Module Area =1.61 m2 Therefore, No. of modules that can be installed = (2 x 93x 5 + 30.36 x 8)/1.61=728 Total Power generated = 728*235=171.08 kW Taking output efficiency to be 95%, Actual power generated=0.95*171.08=163 kW Cost of each module = Rs. 28440 Total cost of modules =28440 x 728 =Rs.20,704,320.

Power Conditioning Unit Sizing

It was observed that instead of having separately installed charge controllers and inverters, it was more economical and more robust in design to have a Power conditioning unit . It also allows the battery to charge from the grid power even when there is less power generation from the PV modules than required. Amongst the power conditioning units that we analyzed we found, the 6KW SuKAM PCU 6K96 model to be best suited for our purpose. The sizing for the same has been given below: The PCU has a charge controller (PWM) which chargers and maintains the health of the battery. It also has a pure sine wave inverter, which converts the DC output of the batteries to grid A/C voltage (239 VAC). It also has a grid charger, which provides the facility of directly utilizing the DC power generated by the solar panels directly by converting it into 230 VAC and combining with grid supply. It also has the required safety instrumentations, making them an ideal choice for the required charge. 1> System Capacity = 171. 08 KW. 2> Hence number of PCUs required is (171.08/6)= 29 units. 3> No of solar panels approximately by each CPU = 728 / 29= 25. From the data sheet of Canadian Solar CSI CS6P-235 solar module, Operating Voltage = 36 V Short Circuit Current = Isc= 8.46 Amp. Each of the PCUs can handle a maximum 0f 25V, Therefore, No. of solar panel parallel module to be connected to a PCU=1/{36/25}=0.5 This means that 2 PCUs are required for a solar panel array consisting of only single modules in parallel. Therefore, No. of solar panels in parallel= 50

(as two PCUs need to handle 50 panels approximately and there are not more than 1 solar panel in each parallel branch) Current generated = 50 * 8.46 = 423A This is within the maximum value that can be handled by an individual PCU (<500 A) Hence, the design is safe and we can proceed with the sizing of the rest of the components.



Battery sizing
We have taken the Su-KAM SBT 1800 battery backup as our module for building the battery banks. Total energy consumption per day =E =720.66 kWhr. No. of days of autonomy of the battery=N= 1 day Depth of discharge of battery =DoD =80% Derating factor at 27 deg.C= d =1 Therefore, battery bank capacity = (E*N*d)/DoD=901 kWhr Nominal input voltage for the PCU inverter=Nominal output voltage of battery bank=Vn=96V Approximate energy handled by a single PCU =901/29=31.07 kWhr. Therefore, Amp-hour of battery bank connected to one PCU = 31070/96= 323.65Ahr The Amp hour capacity of SBT1800 is 150 Ahr , so , No. of parallel chains in battery bank = {323.65/180}= 2 Nominal battery voltage of SBT1800 = 12 V Now,the no. modules in every parallel chain =Vn/12=96/12=8 Total no. of batteries required = 8*2*29 = 46
























Cost Analysis
Cost of Essential Components
Module Solar panel PCU Battery Cost of each module(Rs.) 24,900 50,000 17100 Total No. of module 728 29 464 Total cost(Rs.) 1,81,27,200 14,50,000 79,34,400 2,75,11,600

Cost of Ancillary Components (based on Projected values per watt of generated power) Component Cost per watt(Rs.) Total Cost Mounting 12.8 21.99 lakhs Structure Cables and 7.1 12. 19 lakhs Transformers Civil and Technical 5.4 9.23 lakhs Works Total 43.41 lakhs

Total cost incurred Rs 3.19 crores Cost of electricity per unit = Rs.4.1 Savings per day = (4 * 171.08*4.35) = Rs.2976.8

Savings per year= 2976.8 * 365 = Rs.10,86,530 Break-even time = 3.19 crores/0.108653= 29.31 years NOTE: This system of cost analysis is inadequate for the given setup, as it doesnt consider the life of the various components involved nor the efficiency drop over this period of time. For a Solar Panel, the efficiency of panel drops to 90 % after 10 years and to 80 % after 10 more years. This is not the case for the PCU and the batteries as they have to be replaced after a period of 10 years.

However, The Ministry of New and Renewable energy , Government of India pays Rs.7 per unit of power generated by the help of rooftop solar photovoltaic systems Quote: a tariff of Rs. 7/- per unit for solar power generation projects with an annual escalation of 5%. (Rs 8.09/KWh for 2009-10) with an annual escalation varying from 3% to 5% on yearly basis up to 5 years ( Rs 4.10/KWh for 2009-10) Hence the money earned by the hostel from such an arrangement will be equal to a.)Without considering the annual escalation: Savings per day = (8.09+4.1)*171.08*4.35=Rs.9146.19 Savings per year=9146.19*365=Rs.33,38,359 Therefore, the payback period =3.19 crores / 33,38,359=9.55 years b.)After considering the annual escalation: The payback period turns out to be 7.65 years.

Carbon Footprint
Carbon dioxide released for one kilowatt-hour of electricity produced from Coal: 909 gm Carbon dioxide released for one kilowatt-hour of electricity produced from PV: 105 gm Reduction in carbon dioxide production per kWh: 804 gm Total reduction in carbon dioxide production per year: (804*171.08*4.35*365) gm

218.392 tonnes of CO2. Hence we can reduce the emission of carbon-di-oxide significantly.

OPTIONAL COMPONENTS (suggestions to improve efficiency and reliability)

There are two types of tracking systems: Single axis tracking system. Double axis tracking system. Table 1: Type Single axis tracking system Electricity production Increases 20-30% relative to fixed Double axis tracking system Increases 30-40% relative to fixed Source: http://www.rimlifegreentech.com/products/tracker/why.htm Cost Only 10-15% higher than fixed Only 15-20% higher than fixed systems


Having a meter, helps in data-logging and monitoring the state of your system.This helps in claiming warranties and also early fault detection. Shunts are introduced if there are chances of electrical interference ,like in grid-connected or Power generator connected systems, or to introduce an added tier of safety when it comes to electrical discharges from batteries or other components where it is introduced. It is basically a low-resistance path which ensures that current only flows through it and no other crossing wires.


If your system is off-grid, it is wise to have a back up AC generator, in cases of system failure or shutdown for maintenance. It can be any kind of DC generator, linked to the inverter which then can be used as a stand-in system for the critical loads.

Sl.N o. 1 Component Possible Technology breakthrough 1.)SILICON BLADES: Description/Reference

Solar Modules

1.) Novel silicon micro wires can harvest nearly as much light as traditional photovoltaic wafers, with just one percent of the total silicon. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=phot ovoltaic-breakthroughs-brighten-outlook-for-cheapsolar-power This is a mode of charging being considered for increasing power quality to batteries in order to decrease fluctuations to it and hence,reduce the damage to battery Efforts are being made to increase efficiencies of power conversion though there doesnt seem to be any more significant difference from MPPT charge controllers. 1.) Ceramatec says its new generation of battery would deliver a continuous flow of 5kW of electricity over four hours. And these batteries are expected to withstand daily discharge/recharge cycles over 10 years (3,650 times). The batteries would hopefully sell for around USD$2,000, which is less than 3c per kWh over the battery's life. Conventional power from the grid typically costs around 8c per kWh and continues to rise. http://solarseeds.blogspot.com/2010/07/batterybreakthrough-may-trigger-off.html 2.)http://peswiki.com/index.php/Directory:MIT:Daniel_ Nocera:Catalytic_Electrolysis#Company: 1.) The XPX technology, embodied in a printed circuit board (PCB), extracts significantly more electrical energy from any PV solar media through a combination of patent pending design and proprietary algorithms http://www.eosrenewabletech.com/

Charge Controller

1.)SMPC(Switch ed Mode Power Conversion)


1.)Ceramatec battery 2.)Electrolysis Breakthrough for Solar Storage


1.)XPX Technology


i. ii. iii. Various subsidies are being given by government in order to promote the use and installation of captive solar PV plants in India. Batteries with longer life period are being developed in order to match their life with that of solar panels in order to save on replacement and maintenance costs. Stress is being laid on increased production and usage of Solar PV modules in order to bring down the costs of the manufacturing processes. It is estimated that these costs can be brought down by 50% with a 25% increase in solar PV consumption. The use of thin film is supposed to bring the cost of PV systems (although our analysis showed not much difference and with constrained area , it is always better to use mono crystalline solar panels). Sealed batteries are being preferred over flooded ones as the transportation costs for these are much less than the flooded batteries as they are not hazardous



Currently, work is underway to supply the common room , the office, the corridors and the tech room with electricity from solar power alone. Our hostel warden , Prof. Srinivas Reddy , has attracted sponsors willing to invest for this issue.