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Types of Solar Rooftop Power Systems

A  typical rooftop solar power system  has electricity-generating  photovoltaic panels, commonly known as solar panels, on top of a house or building. But there is much more to it…

On-Grid System or Grid-tied System

These systems are designed to work in conjunction with the grid or simply put your electricity supply. The electricity you generate using this system is fed back to the grid. A net meter is installed along with this system to keep track of the electricity consumed by you versus what you generated and fed back to the grid resulting in savings which gets reflected in the bill. It does not work when the grid is down.

Off-Grid System

These systems store the electricity produced by conversion in batteries and utilise the stored energy by converting it back to AC as and when required. The rising cost of other power sources and the increasing demand of electricity, especially in high power cut or no grid areas, has resulted in increased demand for such systems. The reduction in battery prices over the years has further brought the system cost down.

What is a Rooftop Solar Power System all about?
Solar panels:

Solar panel is comprised of multiple PV (photovoltaic) cells that convert sunshine to electricity. Two types of PV Panels are there – while one comprise of “Polycrystalline Cells”, the other one contains “Monocrystalline Cells”. Polycrystalline cells are effectively a slice cut from a block of silicon, consisting of a large number of crystals. They have a speckled reflective appearance and are very thick. They are less expensive to produce and more suited for Indian conditions. Monocrystalline cells are cut from a single crystal of silicon- they are effectively a slice from a crystal. In appearance, they have a smooth texture and you will be able to see the thickness of the slice. These are slightly expensive to produce. Based on the area available for solar installation, the required capacity of solar panels can be calculated. Call our solar expert to know your solar potential and get your solar journey started.

Inverter:

After solar panels, the most crucial component of a residential solar power plant is an inverter. It acts as an interface which converts power produced by solar panels into electricity, that can be consumed by appliances. The type of inverter being used depends on the kind of solar power system you are going for. Grid tie solar power systems need high efficiency power inverters that can feed power from solar panels directly to grid for optimising its performance. They are designed to quickly disconnect from the grid if the utility grid goes down (anti-islanding) as a safety feature for the linesman working on the grid. Another kind of high efficiency solar inverters are there for the off grid solar power system that can charge batteries both from solar and grid power. The inbuilt MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) charge controllers in some good quality inverters extract up to 30% more power from solar panels.

Mounting Structure:

It is the most critical part as it acts as the skeleton for the entire system, a sturdy structure will result in years of power generation as it needs to withstand strong winds and other natural forces. The type and orientation of the structure varies to a great degree depending on multiple factors associated with the location where the solar power system needs to be deployed. The structure for rooftop solar installation on a flat roof is completely different than that for a slanted roof. The height of your roof is another major factor which determines the composition and alignment of the structure. The quality of the material used has to be as per the MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy) specified norms. The structure needs to be made of galvanised iron, which is anti-corrosive making the solar power system last long.

Cables:

You can’t use any regular cable for your solar power system. Specialised cables custom made for residential solar power plants are used to ensure minimal loss of electricity being generated. They are UV protected, strong and long lasting enough to withstand the rigours of nature – be it peek summers, incessant rains or thunder storms. Use of any ordinary cable is a big safety hazard with high chances of electrocution for the people in vicinity of the system. Bad quality wire will make you system ineffective and more expensive .

Peripherals:

These are the elements which are essential for proper functioning and safety of the system. No compromise must be made on their quality or it will jeopardise the entire solar power system. In terms of their functioning, while Junction Boxes are used to conceal the wiring connections all across the system, Conduits on the other hand are used to protect the wiring of the solar power plants, they can be rigid or flexible or a mix of both based on the requirement. Lightning Arrestors are deployed to save the entire set up in case of lightning strike, especially during monsoon while Earthing, which is a grounding system connecting the residential solar power plant to earth, is done in order to give passage to excess electricity during lightning strike and safeguarding the entire system in the process.

Batteries:

Apart from these, if you are going for an off grid solar solution, solar batteries are one of the crucial components as they allow you to store the electricity generated by the solar plant and use it in case of power outages or in case of no mains. A good battery would be the one which gives long back up and requires very less maintenance (less frequent water top-up).

Installation:

Lastly, but most importantly the installation of the solar power system needs to be done with precision in order to generate maximum electricity through the solar power plant. No two rooftops are the same therefore the process requires system design and careful supervision to ensure proper installation of the solar rooftop power plant. Solar panels used in any solar power system should be installed facing South direction. Tilt angle of solar panel should be between 8 to 33 degree in India, but it varies as per the height of the installation. Solar panels must be grouted using anchor bolts or concrete foundation to ensure durability in rough conditions. UPS and batteries must be installed as close to the panels as possible to minimize DC transmission losses. One needs to ensure that the maximum permissible voltage is not exceeded when connecting the panels in series. There should be a minimum gap of 5 mm between two solar panels to allow for any expansion in materials. The solar panels being interconnected must be of the same type (mono or poly) and same power class. There should be no shade or shadow on the solar panels as this may lead to losses, formation of hotspots, etc.

Note: Images shown here are not actual, they are for illustrative purpose only.

Generate Your Own Power

Generate your own electricity use it and store it! Use the electricity generated through solar panels to power your home appliances, even during an outage! All you need is a battery back-up system in place. Get back-up and savings together! Ideal even for areas with no grid supply.

Reap the Returns

You can start saving instantly by opting for solar. Solar is a smart investment. Investing in a renewable resource such as Solar Energy is a pretty good idea. Specially, considering the fact that most parts of India receive over 300 days of sun shine. Get in touch with Luminous to get the best returns on your solar investment!

Use Our Solar Calculator to Find Out More

Heal the World

Not only are fossil fuels bad for the environment, they're a finite resource! Limited availability creates a volatile market in which energy prices can skyrocket in a short period of time. Solar power systems derive clean, pure energy from the sun. Installing solar panels on your rooftop combats greenhouse gas emissions and reduces dependence on fossil fuel. Solar power systems derive clean, pure energy from the sun.

Installation Checklist

  • Shading

    The performance of PV panels is affected by the shading effect of surrounding trees and buildings, passing clouds basically anything that casts a shadow on to the panels. The sun light converted into energy by the PV panels shall depend on the amount and duration of the shadow falling on it. Lesser the shadow, more the energy!

  • Direction

    Solar panels need to face true south direction for maximum power generation. The reason behind it is that when sun moves from east to west, you get maximum exposure when you face southwards. Irrespective of which part of year it is, inclination will always be towards south. Hence for the optimum harnessing of sunlight, the solar PV panels should ideally face south.

  • Tilt

    The angle at which the solar panels are fixed is according to your location’s latitude. In general, the angle of tilt will lie between 9 to 12 degrees in southern part of India and 25 to 30 in north India. The angle decreases as the altitude of installation increases to nullify the impact of high speed winds on the installation.

  • Structures

    Material and workmanship play an important role in the installation of a solar rooftop solution. A mounting structure is a critical component of a rooftop solar power system and ideally should be developed or approved by a structural engineer. The weight of the PV system and the mounting structure need to be designed taking into account the wind loads at the location in accordance with the wind-speed zone. However, readymade and modular mounting structures pre-certified for certain wind speeds are readily available in the market and may be incorporated into the design. Galvanized iron (GI) or aluminium are the most common materials used for mounting PV panels. In case of GI structures, the quality of galvanization is crucial for ensuring a rust-free life.

  • Warranty

    A solar power generation system is believed to have a lifetime of approx. 25 years. The solar panels, typically, have a performance warranty of 25 years, even though other components of the solar power generation system may have different/lesser performance warranties.

  • Cleaning

    India is a country where dust tends to accumulate very quickly on the panels hampering optimum generation. Solar Panels have to be cleaned at least once every week, would be even better if you can manage to do it daily.

  • Maintenance

    A solar rooftop power system will deliver the full return on investment only if it runs as smoothly as possible. This means periodic inspection of the individual components of the system. A timely intervention can prevent the threat of diminished output or downtime or a safety hazard.

  • Permits, Approvals & Subsidies

    In case of rooftop Grid-Tie solar power system, the owner must complete all the necessary requirements for getting net-meter installed. This may require additional time and fees depending on the local electricity utility. For battery based systems, no permits are required. However, in case there are subsidy schemes offered by local government, additional documentation may be required for subsidy. Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) announces subsidy and its disbursement procedure. Please refer the MNRE website for latest updates and information related to it. Luminous products are designed as per IEC standards, and are eligible for subsidy schemes. Our team can assist you in documentation related to the same.

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