Solar systems are one of the most practical models of churning electricity using a renewable energy source, sunlight. There are three kinds – off-grid solar system, hybrid solar system, and on grid solar system.
Although all three types have their own set of advantages, it’s still the on grid system that’s preferred by most homeowners and housing societies in India.
If you’ve been meaning to install a solar system, then this guide about an on grid solar system – its price, working, and benefits – will be quite a revelation. Dive in and decode why it’s the best option.
What is an on grid solar system?
The name gives it away, doesn’t it? An on grid solar system is connected to the grid. Hence, it’s also known as a grid-tied system. Solar panels installed on the rooftop do their job of converting sunlight into DC power.
That DC power is passed to the inverter that converts it into AC power to run home appliances. So, where does the grid come into the picture? Here’s how:
The solar system produces electricity that’s used to run the household. Whatever extra energy is generated during the peak hours is transferred to the grid.
An on grid PV system is basically a careful arrangement of the following components:
- Solar panels
- DC cables and DC combiner box
- Solar inverter
- AC cables and AC combiner box
- Mounting structures
- MC4 connectors
- Earthing strips and conduit trays
- Lightning arrestor
How does an on grid solar system work?
Clearly, there’s no battery involved in an on grid solar system. Your grid plays the role of a battery in a grid-tied system because that’s where the extra units are transferred.
At night, the house draws power from the grid. There’s clearly a unit exchange going on here. It’s facilitated through a net meter (also known as a bi-directional meter).
This meter keeps a record of the number of units exchanged. When the solar bill is generated, the reading from this meter is considered. If you’ve imported more power to the grid, you get credits in your next bill. If you have taken more power from the grid, you pay the discom for those extra units you’ve consumed.
Let’s diagrammatically simplify the working further for you.
Solar panels absorb sunlight
The sunlight trapped in the PV cells is converted into direct current (DC)
The DC current goes into the solar inverter
The solar inverter converts DC current into alternating current (AC)
The alternating current goes into the bidirectional meter
The bi-directional meter supplies AC power to the house to run all household appliances
At the same time, the units that are not consumed, the bi-directional meter transfers those units to the grid
Later at night, electricity is exported from the grid to keep the house running
Cost of an on grid solar system: What’s the ROI?
Here comes the most sought-after question: how much is the cost of installation of a grid-tied solar system? We have the answer.
- A 1 KW solar system costs between Rs. 45,000 to Rs. 70,000
- A 2 KW on-grid system costs between Rs. 90,000 to Rs. 1,40,000
- A 3 KW solar PV system costs between Rs. 1,35,000 to Rs. 2,10,000
- A 5 KW system costs between Rs. 2,25,000 to Rs. 3,50,000
- A 10 KW on grid system costs between Rs. 4,50,000 to Rs. 7,00,000
Clearly, this is quite a lot of money for a common Indian family. But, the return on investment is superb. This cost breaks even in 3-4 years (even sooner when you get a subsidy). Once the cost breaks even, you’ll get free electricity from solar for as long as your on grid solar system will last.
As for the matter of longevity, a tier-1 solar system will last for a minimum of 25 years. After which, the plant will still run at at least 70% efficiency. Considering how expensive fossil-based electricity is and how the rates are increasing every year, installing an on grid solar system is the best investment.
Top 6 compelling benefits of installing an on grid solar system
There has to be some motivation behind installing solar at home. In the case of an on grid system, there are many. Let’s explore them all.
- You can save up to 90% on your electricity bill each month
- An on grid solar system will also work during the rainy season
- The government is offering a subsidy for the installation of rooftop on grid solar systems for homeowners and small housing societies
- Installing solar reduces global warming. How? 1 KW system equals the impact of having 45 trees. Imagine how cleaner the air would be if all homes go solar.
- An on grid solar system is the cheapest amongst all the three because no batteries are needed.
- Besides, since there’s a net meter, you can track the units you exported and imported. It will also help you track whether or not your system is working at its maximum efficiency.
Installing an on grid solar system is a decision that’s best the sooner it is made. Why? One, the planet will be saved. Two, you will be able to avail of a subsidy. A subsidy is not going to last forever. Although it’s not offered for commercial purposes, it’s offered to homeowners and housing societies.
When there’s help, why not take it?