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Hello friends ,

I am really found of solar energy and my dream is to shift my house consumption totally on renewable energy.

I want to design a system which feed the grid in the morning and also manages my load consumption directly from solar, which can be achieved by ON-Grid system and in evening i want to use the energy which is stored in the battery which can be achieved by OFF-Grid system.

In this instructable i will take all of you through the experience of building a DIY ON -Grid system and OFF-Grid system.

In this instructable we will move step by step, In section one we will cover the ON-Grid System and cover all the topics related to it. In second section we will cover OFF-Grid system step by step.

Solar energy is an amazing energy option, As now a days due to high production the cost of solar panel has reduced with an invincible amount.,

My budget is really very low so i have managed the project with good quality product in a productive way.

So Let's get started ......

Step 1: Section 1 : ON-GRID SYSTEM

Hey

In section 1 we will cover the on grid system and explain it in detail with step by step method.

INDEX

Step 1 : What is an ON-Grid system?

Step 2 : How it works ?

Step 3 : Material Required

Step 4 : Planning for installation

Step 5 : Connections

Step 6 : First Run

It will be really interesting to learn and get knowledge about solar energy.

Step 2: Step 1 : What Is an ON-Grid System ?

We know that if we store energy in battery's so it will result in 30% loss of energy while storing it. so there is one more option to increase the efficiency of our system that is an ON-Grid system.

In On-Grid system solar panels are placed on the rooftop ,The electricity generated by the solar panel is direct current and the electricity we use in our houses is alternate current so to convert DC to AC we need an inverter to convert it.

But as the system have to connect with the grid so we require Grid Tie inverter which will convert the DC to AC in the same frequency as we are getting it from our energy provider company.

The Grid tie inverter is connected to our mains through a solar meter which will just calculate the solar unit generated, Than the the connections are made with the NET METER, which calculate the units consumed from the electrical company and also have the data about the solar unit generated.

The net meter gives the net unit consumed.

NET UNIT = ( UNIT CONSUMED FROM ENERGY COMPANY ---- SOLAR UNIT)

On-Grid system can be understood more easily from an example :

Suppose we have placed a solar Grid tie system of 3000 W , and in the morning around 11 Am, The system is producing 2700 W.

The consumption in our house is 1500 w ( consumed by fan, LED tv..etc.) so the 1500 W will be supplied directly from the solar system and remaining Wattage will be feed back to the grid. ( 2700-1500=1200 W)

And Suppose if we have a party @ our place in morning and our consumption reaches to 4000 W so our solar system will provide us with 2700 W and the remaining 1300 W will be supplied by the electrical energy company.

In ON-GRID system suppose we are out for the day and our system generates 12 units and in the evening when we reach home and switch on the Air condition and light so we can use the same amount of unit at night,

we can consume all 12 units which we have generated in the morning so in this system the grid acts as our battery .

Step 3: Step 2 : How It Works ?

Solar Panels

The solar panels are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells, which convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity throughout the day.

Inverter

This device converts the DC electricity generated by the solar panels into the alternating current (AC) electricity.

Electrical Panel

The AC electricity is sent from the inverter to your electrical panel to power your lights and appliances with solar energy. The electrical panel is often called a "breaker box."

Utility Meter

The utility meter measures your energy use. It actually goes backward when your system generates more power than you immediately need. This excess solar energy offsets the energy you use at night.

Utility Grid

Your business is still connected to the grid. You’ll need that power from the utility company at night, but don’t worry. The cost is offset by any excess solar energy you put into the grid during the day.

Power Guide Monitoring System

Power Guide monitoring system continuously tracks your energy production and ensures that your solar power system is running smoothly.

So a grid tie system consist of these all elements with the designated work.

Step 4: Step 3 : Material Required

In my case i wanted to install the complete 3000 W solar system but due to shortage of funds i am installing 3 KW of grid tie inverter and 1500W solar panels for now, in the future i will double the solar panel accordingly.

We require

1) Solar panels 250 W x 6 Pieces = 1500 W

2) Grid Tie inverter ( Sukam Grid Tie inverter 3 KW )

3) 4 mm Wire roll 90 Meter ( Both AC and DC)

4) Junction Box

5) 2 Electric Breakers

6) Iron L Angle of 50ft length ( IN MY CASE) 50 mm x 50 mm x 5 mm

7) Conduit Pipe

These things are required to complete the installation.

In AC wire the inner gauge of wire is lower approx to 15 -20 where as in DC wire the gauge of wire is higher around 30. by using these different wires the efficiency will increase.

In structure making or fixing inverter and panels we require drill machine and some tools.

We even require concrete mixture to fix the structure with the roof.

Step 5: Step 4 : Planning for Installation

So in this step we will understand the load calculation of our house, which will give us an idea of the wattage of system we require. site inspection , making structure, placing the panels, installing inverter. etc

1) Calculating our consumption load

suppose in 1 day we watch 2 hours of TV. our geyser works for 2 hours, fan works for 10 hours and light for 8 hours.

So the appliance wattage is mentioned on there description part which is :

TV = 250 W

Geyser = 1500 W

Fan = 80 W

Light = 18 W

So we get the wattage of each appliances, We must know that these appliances will consume this much wattage in 1 hour so to get the consumption of our day, we will multiply the hours usage with the particular appliances wattage.

Which will be

TV = 250 x 2 = 500 W

Geyser = 1500 x 2 = 3000 W

Fan = 80 x 10 = 800 W

Light = 18 x 8 = 144 W

Total consumption in a day = 4444 Watts.

this is our one day consumption which is equal to 4.4 kw means 4.4 electricity unit.

So how many solar panels i have to install?

Answer is : 1 kw of panels produces 4 units in a day, when we will divide our daily consumption with the 4 than we will get the wattage of panels that we want to install like .

4.4/4 = 1.1

So 1 kw of system is gr8.

Now on yearly basis and based on tropical region this calculation changes as some countries have more sunny hours and some have less.

The above calculation is done for INDIA. Where we have 6 hours of bright sunshine in summers.

SITE EVALUATION

In this step we calculate the rooftop area which is available for installing solar panels, 1 kw of solar installation requires 80 Sq ft-100 Sq ft of area. The difference of 20 Sq ft is because of the cleaning space a person requires to clean panels.

In my case i have approx 50 sq ft of space available for the installation of 1500 w so i have decided to up lift the structure by 8 ft and extend the structure outside my roof boundary, It is legal as the boundary of solar panels comes under the fence of my roof.

But i will recommend you to install the panels close to the roof surface as it will be easy for you to clean the panels after installation, in my case it is a challenge but i can utilize the space below the panels for plants.

STRUCTURE DESIGNING

Designing of structure is the main process as you have to make to withstand for more than 20 years,

In my case i am using the iron angles of ( 50 mm x 50 mm x 5 mm ) as it will provide more strength to my structure, The main point that we have to keep in our mind is the solar panel facing and its tilt angle.

As we all know sun rises from east and goes to west, so our solar panel face would be gr8 toward south.

In any country we can place the panel in south facing ,whereas the tilt angle vary according to the latitude and longitude of that place.

We can find ours from the link provided : http://www.solarpaneltilt.com/

In INDIA the tilt angle varies from 14 Deg to 28 Deg so we have chosen an angle of 18 Deg for fixing the structure as in summer the solar panel will generate approximately the equal amount of electricity as it will generate @ 28 Deg, But in case of winter the sunshine timing is really less and our uses of wattage also gets reduced, so it is ok if we generate less electricity. the difference of electricity is not to high in winters it is approx 0.5 unit loss in 3 Kw system.

I will fix the structure by welding 20 cm x 20 cm x 10 cm iron plate and fastening it by the roof and after that we will fix it by making a concrete block around it.

Step 6: Step 5 : Connections

In this step we will install solar panels and do connection process till its end.

First we have to attach the solar panels on the structure, so to install it we are using J clamps and fixing the panels with the help of this as shown in the image.

Once we are done with installing solar panels we will connect the panels in series, lets discuss about the connections.

Series connection

In series connection suppose there are six panels so we will connect the + VE terminal of 1St panel to the - VE terminal of the second panel similarly the +Ve terminal of second panel is connected to the -VE terminal of 3rd panel similarly it goes like that, In series connection the voltage are added Example if we have 1 panel of 24 v and if we connect the 6 panels in series than we will get the output voltage equals to 144volts and the ampere will remain same.

so in On-Grid system we will connect the panels in series connection which is required as we receive the higher voltage by the Grid tie inverter.

parallel connection

In parallel connection suppose there are 2 solar panels of 12 v each and we connect the +VE terminal of first panel with the +VE terminal of second panel and similar for -VE terminal as well, The output we get is of 12 Volt only but the ampere will increase, If single panel produces 4 Amp that in paraller connection we get the output of 12V 8 Amp.

After connecting all the panels in series the output we will receive is around 144 Volts so please do the connections in the evening as if you will do in morning you can get electric shocks as the potential voltage of solar panel is high in morning.

The output first go to the junction breaker box and then goes to the Grid tie inverter.

so as you all know that i am only connecting 1500 W to my 3 KW inverter, There are two section in inverter to connect two arrays of panels and we have only one array of panels so we will connect only single array to the inverter. the operating voltage of the inverter is 120V so our inverter will operate successfully in 6 panels of 250 W.

In the above images as we can see we have connected the DC wires to the PV section and the output wire also,

Now we will simply connect the output wires to our mains (NOTE : There are 3 output wires 1) Phase Wire 2) Neutral wire 3) Ground wire.)

So we have to connect them accordingly to our mains box.

That's it now we can raise a request for inspection and converting our previous meter to net meter, it will take the time of 2 weeks and the inspection will be done in 1 week.

This system is really easy, and i enjoyed a lot to build this project. feeling really happy by generating green energy.

Step 7: Step 6 : Test Run

So when the process of meter installation and inspection is done, than the electrical energy company has provided us with a certificate that mentions the project is approved and installed under the criteria of the government agencies.

SO to test run first switch on the DC supply as if we have put the panels polarity in a wrong way so our inverter can show the red light in fault section.

We should buy the grid tie inverter which has islanding feature, In this feature if the grid goes down so the inverter will also stop working and do not supply electricity to the grid , it is mandatory as most of the inverter does not have this feature.

So in 1 month i saved 188 units which is awesome for me as my bill in earlier months have 350 unit consumed but now its only 120 units consumed.

I love the green energy.

Step 8: Section 2 ( OFF-GRID SYSTEM )

Hey

In section 2 we will cover the off grid system and explain it in detail with step by step method.

INDEX

Step 1 : What is an OFF-Grid system?

Step 2 : How it works ?

Step 3 : Material Required

Step 4 : Planning for installation

Step 5 : Connections

conclusion

It will be really interesting to learn and get knowledge about solar energy.

Step 9: Step 1 : What Is an OFF-Grid System?

Off-grid system is feasible for the villages where there is no electricity or the power cuts are high.

In this system the electricity produced by solar panels are stored in battery's which stores the charge and provide backup when required. we can understand this with an example.

Suppose i bought a hut in the village where the electricity is not provided by any company and people living there uses kerosene oils to illuminate there house, so i decided to place solar panel on my roof and store the electricity in my battery which i can use in the evening to power my appliances and lights. this system is an independent system .

As i am living in the city and power cuts are really rare,so i am installing an hybrid solar interface system.

In morning it charges the battery from solar energy and in the evening it will automatically cut the supply of grid electricity to the power points which runs on inverter and supply them with battery power. this system suits me because in the morning my house will run on green energy from the On-Grid system and in the evening the load will shift to OFF-Grid system.

isn't amazing?

Step 10: Step 2 : How It Works ?

Solar Panels

The solar panels are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells, which convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity throughout the day.

Off-Grid interface

It has various functions,

It acts as a charge controller, the solar energy generated flows through it and goes to battery once the battery is fully charged it cut off the supply of DC charge going towards battery.

This system is connected to ( Battery , Home inverter , solar panels , Main supply)

It has a deep switch which even controls the discharge of battery according to our power cuts, if we have high power cuts than we can feed the code accordingly to maintain the battery charged %.

if we have less power cut than we can use the battery just by leaving it 20% charge for emergency.

Once the energy of the battery is utilized than the lights connected to the inverter shifts to mains automatically.

Battery

It is used to store the electricity in DC form and manages to provide the backup when needed

Voltage =12 V Amp/Hr= 150 Amp/Hr

We are using solar battery having c10 plate which charges fast as compare to normal c20 battery.

We can also use the lithium ion battery like power wall i am making one will share soon.

Inverter

This device converts the DC electricity generated by the solar panels into the alternating current (AC) electricity.

Electrical Panel

The AC electricity is sent from the inverter to your electrical panel to power your lights and appliances with solar energy. The electrical panel is often called a "breaker box."

.

Step 11: Step 3 : Material Required

I am converting my inverter system in to a solar system , so i already have 900 va inverter.

Things required

1) 150 W solar panels 2 in qty.

2) 150 Ah solar battery

3) Solarcon ( Interface)

4) Inverter 900 va

5) wires / breakers

i am using total 300 w of panels because if we calculate the wattage of our battery which is equal to = 12 x 150 = 1800 W

so we need to generate 1800 W from solar panel in a day to charge our battery to the fullest,

sunshine hours in our city = 6 Hours

Wattage of panel required = 1800 / 6 = 300 W

Now may be you are clear with the formula or the process which i have used here.

Step 12: Step 4 : Planning for Installation

Just we need the empty space of 6ft x 6ft to fix the size of the solar panel at that place.

In this system i am keeping the face of the panels towards south and tilt angle = 25 Deg This because in winter season our panel should produce maximum energy which can charge the battery in a day and i focus to not utilize the energy feed into the grid as i can use the credit units in summer season.

I have used iron angles to make the structure, may be you can see how to calculate the tilt angle in previous steps.

The iron L angles are of size 25 mm x 25 mm x 2.5 mm. i have used this size because i am installing panels near to the surface so they do not need much strength.

From the image you will get a idea of panel structure.

once the structure is complete i have fastened the structure to the roof and than made a concrete base around the fastened area, which will give more protection and steadiness to the structure.

Further planning is similar to the planning we have done in ON-Grid system.

Step 13: Step 5 : Connections

Once we are done by fixing the panels, now is the time to connect the whole system and make it work.

In this system as we know we are using 12 v battery so we need to connect the panels in parallel connection so that we can receive 12 v and an increased amp.

Series connection
In series connection suppose there are six panels so we will connect the + VE terminal of 1St panel to the - VE terminal of the second panel similarly the +Ve terminal of second panel is connected to the -VE terminal of 3rd panel similarly it goes like that, In series connection the voltage are added Example if we have 1 panel of 24 v and if we connect the 6 panels in series than we will get the output voltage equals to 144volts and the ampere will remain same. so in On-Grid system we will connect the panels in series connection which is required as we receive the higher voltage by the Grid tie inverter.

parallel connection

In parallel connection suppose there are 2 solar panels of 12 v each and we connect the +VE terminal of first panel with the +VE terminal of second panel and similar for -VE terminal as well, The output we get is of 12 Volt only but the ampere will increase, If single panel produces 4 Amp that in paraller connection we get the output of 12V 8 Amp

After connecting two panels in parallel we will pass the wire from the conduit and take it near to the interface system.

where we will connect them according to the polarity mentioned on the interface, now we will connect the red wire coming from the interface with + Ve terminal of the battery and black wire from - Ve terminal of the battery,

Now comes the inverter, inverter has 3 wires with color coding and that same coding is there in the interface so we will match it accordingly and fix it.

Last step is to connect the interface to the mains, as we know that there are 3 wires connection in single phase which are,,1) Phase , 2) Neutral 3) Earthing.

So we need to find the ground wire and than connect the earth wire to it , than neutral wire and in last the phase wire That's it we are done with the connections and now is the time to switch it on..

Step 14: Conclusion

Hope you like the project , i am really happy to share this project with you all and i request you to move yourself towards sustainable energy to grow the humanity.

My vision is to grow the humanity with green energy, so i am also working for my country and the people,who are living in dark and providing them the energy efficient solution totally based on renewable energy.

May you also help such people and connect them to a better world ,Because doing our own work is great but working for others gives you immense pleasure.

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