Indian solar market flooded with various Inverters – User discretion required

Sunday, 21 June, 2015

With Indian government’s target of 100 GW by Solar power, 40 GW is targeted through Solar PV Rooftop Power Projects. As we all know Solar PV panels produce DC power, while the appliances that we use at our home require AC supply. Hence there is a need of a product that will convert DC into AC, so that Solar PV power can be used by us. This is done by using Inverters.

Inverters play an important role in Solar PV rooftop systems. After Solar PV modules, Inverters are the next most important component of Solar PV Rooftop Power Plants. Inverters can be of two types: On-Grid (Grid Tied) Inverters and Off-Grid (Stand-alone) inverters.

  • Grid Tied inverters are used when the Solar PV Rooftop Power Plant at our premises is also connected to the Utility grid (DISCOM). Grid Tied inverters have security feature of anti-islanding. With the help of this feature, the Inverter disconnects the Solar PV power plant in situations when grid fails. This means that Grid Connected Solar PV system cannot be used when grid power (DISCOM supply) is not there.

  • Off-grid (Stand-alone) Inverters are used for the Solar PV systems which are not connected to grid.

Many Solar Inverters are nowadays having feature of Remote Monitoring. With this feature one can keep track of performance of his Solar PV power plant from anywhere. Using an online portal we can see the power generation, generation curve and many more information.

Indian solar market is flooded with many kinds of Inverter Manufacturers and Suppliers, from local make to foreign make, from duplicate products to genuine products, from cheaper products to quality products. One needs to check and consult an expert before selecting these Inverters, because Inverter plays an important role in Solar PV power plant performance. Selecting a cheap and duplicate inverter may reduce the performance of your Solar PV system and or may add to the replacement cost because of short lifetime.

At the high end, there are few leading international manufacturers are SMA, Schneider, DELTA and ABB. These Inverter manufacturers give a large range of String and Central Solar Inverters starting from 3 KVA to 50 KVA and even bigger for central inverters. These inverters are typically high end and have all required features including remote monitoring.

Few other reputed brands such as L&T are also coming into the market with their Solar Inverters, but of higher capacities, generally for bigger plants.

These days the manufacturers of conventional inverter / UPS systems for our homes, such as Su-Kam, Luminous and Microtek are coming with their products called as Solar Inverters. These Inverters will take power from the solar PV modules and will charge the batteries. This will work same as our conventional inverters work, the difference comes that these inverters will charge the battery first from solar energy and if required or in case when solar energy is not available will charge the battery from the taking power from grid. These systems can be used where there are power cuts and one needs to store power. Many of these inverters may not have all the features like remote monitoring facility but will provide extra kit for a cost.

Apart from the above, there are many shops opened up for manufacturing Inverters. We will discuss about them in the next few articles.