Does Solar PV Work As Advertised? A Case Study.

This post is part of our “Learn About Solar” series, where we will cover common questions and answer them at a high level. These are meant as general guidelines only. For advice regarding your specific situation, please contact us directly

We are regularly asked “Does solar really work as advertised?”. Sometimes, this is asked directly as a question. And other times, we hear things like this:

  • “There’s too much dust here for solar to work”
  • “But what about monsoon? If can’t see the sun, how will solar work?”
  • “(Someone I know)…got solar installed, and it stopped working properly after a while. Waste of money!”

To address concerns about the reliability of solar, here is a case study from our direct experience.

Vatsalya Trust is a charitable organization in Mumbai dedicated to the care and rehabilitation of destitute children. Their building has a terraced roof with stairwell access, with plenty of direct sunlight. Oorjan facilitated the design and installation of a 6kWp grid-tied solar PV system on this roof.

Since it was commissioned in May 2015, the system has produced 8360 units of electricity, saving ₹1,08,680 in electricity bills. In terms of environmental impact, that is equivalent to not burning 2500 litres of petrol or growing 152 seedlings for 10 years.

This system is situated in the middle of Mumbai. Other than periodically cleaning the panels, no additional maintenance has been needed. And how consistent is the production? An energy production chart for the past few months, as seen through Oorjan’s proprietary monitoring app, is below.

Vats Monthly

As you can see, the monthly totals are remarkably consistent, with the lowest month in the chart (Feb ’16) achieving 20.2 units per day. Note that July looks low because we are only 12 days into the month. So how does the monsoon affect production?  Not nearly as dramatically as you might think. Last monsoon, in July and August, monthly production averaged slightly over 19 units per day. Even on overcast days, solar panels continue to produce electricity.

This is what the installed system looks like:

vatsalya - top_lowres

Contact us today to join the #solarrevolution!

2 thoughts on “Does Solar PV Work As Advertised? A Case Study.

  1. What was the number of units produced from 1 year back to now(365 days), as per document at following link:
    http://www.cercind.gov.in/2011/Whats-New/PERFORMANCE%20OF%20SOLAR%20POWER%20PLANTS.pdf

    The CUF for Mumbai is 17.19

    So output in one year should be 9035 units/year (17.19/100*24*365*6)

    But as per this article it is 8360 units from May 2015 to June 12th 2016 – 13 months 12 days.

    I am exploring puttying a roof top solar system and above answer to above will be useful for my evaluation of financial viability.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Srikar – one of the reasons for a lower than average production is that the panels are at 5deg slope, instead of about 20deg which is optimum for Mumbai. The reason for this is that the customer already had a structure sloping at that angle and they wanted to use the same, instead of incurring additional cost for elevating the structure. Between optimum and flat panels, one could see a production difference of about 5-7%, larger being during winter months.

    Minorly, the plant has started steadily on 25-May-2015 and hence in terms of actual days, please account for that.

    Like

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