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    Solar

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India

India’s Solar Energy

Indian solar power or solar power in India is a rapidly growing industry and ranks among the world’s top three nations in solar energy production. The country’s solar installed capacity was 30.071 GW as of July 31, 2019.

India has the lowest capital cost per megawatt (MW) to install the solar power plants, which makes the country the cheapest producer of solar power. The Indian government has set the target of 100 GW capacity for 2022, and so far it has reached 30% of that target.

One of the tropical countries in the world, India receives solar radiation of almost 3,000 hours of sunshine throughout the year which is equivalent to more than 5,000 trillion kWh. The main reason why the country is an ideal place to generate electricity from solar energy. Some states in India that have a great potential for tapping solar energy due to their location include Orissa, Andhra, Bihar, Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Punjab.

However, India as a rapidly growing economy with almost more than 1 billion population is also facing a large amount of energy demand. When it comes to electricity production and consumption, India stands on the fifth spot worldwide. As the production of electricity continues expanding over the years the population of the country is also expanding continuously, the reason why energy supply must be prioritized to increase the inability to match the country’s needs and demands. Until now there is still more than 72 percent of the population living in villages and half of the villages live in a home without a supply of electricity.

Almost 53 percent of the power being produced in the country is coming from coal however, it was predicted that the coal reserves of the country won’t last beyond the year 2040 to 2050. With this, India focused its interest more on renewable energy, energy efficiency and power conservation. To meet this rising demand, they think solar energy is the best form of energy to generate in order to fulfill the country’s energy needs and also served as the bridge of the demand-supply energy gap.

Solar power in India is considered as one of the fast-growing solar industry worldwide. In fact, India ranks among the world’s top three nations in terms of solar energy production. As of August 2019, the country managed to achieve a solar installed capacity of 30.709 GW.

Furthermore, India has the lowest capital cost per megawatt (MW) to install solar power plants all over the globe, the reason why the country is considered the cheapest producer of solar power. The Indian government already reached the 30 percent target of the planned 100 GW capacity target for 2022 which was achieved four years ahead of the scheduled. This 100 GW solar capacity includes 40 GW from rooftop solar along with this a 100 billion US dollar target investment. The rooftop solar power accounts for 2.1 GW wherein almost 70 percent of it is commercial or industrial solar power. As of now, India has established almost 42 solar parks for the promoters of solar plants.

India was able to expand its solar generation capacity by 8 times, from only 2,650 MW in May 2014 to over 20 GW as of January 2018. In the year 2015 to 2016, India managed to add a solar capacity of 3 GW,  another 5 GW from 2016 to 2017 while over 10 GW was added in its solar capacity by the year 2017 to 2018 with the average current price of its solar electricity dropping to 18 percent below the coal-fired’s average price.

Moreover, India is also developing an off-grid solar power for local energy needs aside from its large-scale grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) initiative. Solar products have significantly helped Indians to meet their rural needs and at the end of the year 2015, less than one million solar lanterns were sold in the country that reduced the need for kerosene. In the same year, there were 118,700 solar home lighting systems installed while the national program provided 46,655 solar street lighting installations. In addition to that, almost 1.4 million solar cookers were also distributed in India.

Electric Breaker

Electric Breakers

When installing a solar panel system, you have to be familiar with the electric breakers and how it works with a solar PV system to avoid future electric problems. The electric breaker is one of the main components of a solar power system that provides safety mechanisms. If ever the electrical wiring of your system has too much current flowing through it, these breakers can easily cut the power until your solar installer can fix the system’s problem. 

For today’s article, we will discuss electric breakers and their function in solar photovoltaic systems.

What is an Electric Breaker?

An electric or circuit breaker is an electrical switch designed to protect electrical circuits from damage caused by overloading of current or a short circuit. The basic function of an electric breaker is to prevent the current flow once protective relays detect a fault in the system. 

Although it is frequently interchanged with a fuse, which is the simplest Over Current Protection device (OCPD) in electrical circuits, a circuit breaker, is a much-evolved type of device that interrupts the current flow. The main difference between the two is electric breaker is resettable and the fuse is not. The fuse sacrifices itself while protecting the system to overheat, while the circuit breaker can withstand hundreds and thousands of operations. Another difference is that electric breakers are used with relatively higher currents. 

Components of Circuit Breaker

A circuit breaker system is composed of three parts. These three components are the sensing system, relay, and the combination of contacts and the contact actuator. A sensing system is responsible for detecting an overload situation, while a relay is responsible for transferring the information to the switching arrangement, and the combination of contacts and the contact actuator. This electric arrangement is usually observed in power transmission and distribution networks dealing with very high currents, voltages, and powers. 

Circuit Breakers Calculation in Solar Panel Systems

When connecting circuit breakers to the PV system, you have to follow the recommended calculations to avoid future problems and damage to the entire system. The recommendations for using overcurrent protection devices including circuit breakers in solar modules against overloading conditions are given in IEC 60269-6 (volume 6 of IEC 60269-6) and also UL 248-19. 

For circuit breakers, IEC recommends a 20% and 25% margin in voltage and overload current. Most of the time, the ratings are specified by the solar manufacturers at given ambient conditions. If the temperatures exceed this given value, derating must be applied according to the manufacturer’s specifications. 

When it comes to breaker sizes for solar panels, NEC requires the breakers to be sized at 125% of the inverter’s rated output. So a 7680W inverter that outputs 240V, outputs 32A (7680W ÷ 240V = 32A). That requires a 40A breaker (32A x 125% = 40A).

Final Thoughts

If you owned a solar panel system at home,  you have to understand how circuit breakers work to prevent catching fires at home. These devices are one of the major components of the PV solar system as they protect the system wiring from getting too hot and accidentally catch fire if short circuits occurred. Thus, understanding the breaker itself and its proper calculations in the PV system should be done.