From railways to aviation to various service sectors, solar energy is being embraced by nearly every industry. But what makes this renewable energy resource so special?

This comprehensive guide will answer that, and all your burning questions. It will also provide you with the necessary information to make your transition to solar power easier.

So, let’s embark on this journey together and explore the world of solar energy!

What is Solar?

For a long time, mankind associated the sun with just heat and light. Then, one day in 1839, physicist Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect. He found that when certain materials are exposed to light, they generate a current.

This sparked the discovery that sunlight can be used to generate electricity. And not just a small amount. Scientists revealed that approximately 173,000 TW of solar energy strikes Earth at any given time! That is 10,000 times more than the energy consumption of the world.

So solar energy is nothing but transforming the sun’s light into usable power through the photovoltaic effect. This is why, solar plants are also called PV (Photovoltaic systems).

A typical solar plant uses solar modules made up of silicon. They absorb the rays of the sun and convert them into electric current.

What are the Benefits of Going Solar?

Switching to solar is a worthwhile investment. Here’s why.

  • Up to 80% Reduction in Electricity Bills

Solar is one of the cheapest electricity sources in history. One of the biggest benefits of going solar is the reduction in electricity costs. Based on the size of the system, the location of the plant, and the quality of solar equipment, you can expect an up to 80% reduction in your electricity costs.

While solar requires an investment initially, you can recover this capital within 4-5 years through your energy savings!

  • Buffer against tariff hikes

Electricity prices are constantly rising. The recent tariff hike of ₹2.89/unit in Karnataka is a prime example. With a solar system in place, you can reduce your reliance on the grid and enjoy consistent energy savings for over 25 years. Moreover, this one investment will act as a buffer against any future tariff hikes.

  • Reliable power supply

In lots of places, grid power isn’t very reliable. There are frequent power cuts and failures in the grid. On the other hand, solar power is a more dependable option. If you choose off-grid or hybrid solar systems, you can have a stable power supply even when the grid is down.

  • Increased property value

Studies have shown that properties with solar power systems have a higher resale value. This is because the long-term cost savings associated with a house/business equipped with solar is attractive to buyers. So think of solar energy as an asset that you invest in.

  • Clean Source of energy

Electricity Generation is one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions. As a result, the world is collectively striving to move to clean energy sources.

By switching to solar, a resource that is locally available and clean, you not only reduce your carbon footprint but also contribute to the global goal of bringing down emissions.

  • Enhanced ESG ratings of your Company

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the climate change issue among people. Consequently, they are now placing greater emphasis on evaluating organizations based on their sustainability efforts.

Embracing RE sources like solar power to meet a portion or all of your energy needs can have a positive impact on your ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) rating and make your organization more attractive to investors.

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What are the components of a Solar Plant?

Solar power plants have several major components.

  • Solar Panels

Most solar panels contain tiny solar cells made out of a semiconductor material called silicon. These cells absorb the sun’s light and generate DC (Direct Current). But, DC power is a high-voltage current that cannot be used by our appliances. Instead, they need Alternating Current (AC) to function.

  • Solar Inverter

The chief function of a solar inverter is to convert the DC power provided by the solar panels into AC power which is compatible with our devices. The inverter then transfers this AC to the main wiring.

With advancements in technology, the functionalities of solar inverters have been expanded. Nowadays, there are different types of inverters available. But, we will get to that later.

  • Battery

You can integrate a battery backup with your solar power systems. These devices store the energy produced by solar panels for later use.

  • Solar Accessories

Accessories such as mounting structures, ACDB/DCDB boxes, and walkways are vital to not only securely set up the panels but also ensure that there are no electrical failures or surges in the system.

What are the types of solar power systems?

The electricity that powers your house, and all the homes and buildings in your country comes from a utility grid. This grid connects the entire country through distribution networks and directly deposits your power to your homes.

Now, solar can work both as a complement and substitute for the grid.

Let’s understand this further.

Suppose the grid in your area is super reliable. Blackouts are infrequent and you get a consistent power supply most of the time. In this scenario, you can install solar power in addition, to reducing your dependence on grid electricity and your electricity bills. In this manner, solar works as a complementary resource.

On the other hand, if power cuts and blackouts are common in your area, or grid power is unavailable, solar can be a great substitute for grid power.

Based on this connection to the grid, there are three types of solar power systems.

1. On-Grid Systems

As the name suggests, on-grid systems are connected to the grid. In fact, the on-grid inverters require the grid for reference to work. If the grid shuts off, the solar power system will also automatically shut down.

However, these systems also present a great advantage. If your solar plant is producing extra power, you can send it to the grid. This energy would be utilized by others and you will get compensated for it.

Also, if solar generation goes down, you can utilize grid power to meet the demand.

2. Off-Grid Systems

Off-grid systems are independent of the grid. They are ideal for areas where grid power is unreliable. An off-grid inverter generally remains switched off. It switches on the moment grid power becomes unavailable.

To optimize solar energy, you can also use it when grid power is available. Also, consumers can integrate a battery system to store excess power. During night time, or anytime when the solar is not generating, the battery power can be discharged to power appliances.

3. Hybrid Systems

Hybrid systems offer the best of both worlds. They are connected to the grid and can integrate battery backup. The biggest benefit of such systems is that a hybrid inverter remains switched on at all times.

When grid power is available, the plant works like an on-grid system. The moment grid power shuts off, the PV system functions like an off-grid system. You can also connect a battery to store excess power.

What is Solar Panel Efficiency?

Efficiency in a solar panel is the amount of sun’s energy that a panel can convert to usable solar power. The maximum recorded efficiency is somewhere around 26%. This means, that out of the total amount of sunlight that falls on the module surface, 26% gets transformed into usable power.

It might seem little, but a solar power system can produce enough energy to adequately power your home and even heavy-duty devices.

Also, scientists are continuously working on improving this limit.
Every brand and type of solar panel has different efficiency. Thus, comparing the efficiencies of different products is a must before switching to solar.

What are the different types of solar panels?

There are 4 types of solar panels available in the market. Each has its varying level of efficiency and applications. Let’s discuss them in brief:

1. Monocrystalline Panels:

Monocrystalline modules

These panels are made using a single silicon crystal. Due to this, they are one of the most efficient solar panels. However, their manufacturing cost is also high. You can recognize these panels by their black colour.

Mono panels generally come in high wattages and can provide some level of efficiency in shaded areas too.

2. Polycrystalline Panels:


These panels are made using silicon scraps. As a result, they are not as efficient but more cost-effective than mono panels. You can identify them through their blue colour.

They require fully shadow-free roofs for optimum performance

3. Thin Film Panels:

These panels are lightweight and slimmer than mono and poly panels. This is because they do not rely on silicon. They are easy to install and are mostly used for utility-scale and BIPV installations.

4. Mono PERC Panels:

These panels are an upgraded version of the Monocrystalline panels. They are equipped with a layer of solar cells at the back surface of the panel, to absorb the light reflected by the ground. The efficiency of these panels is the highest.

Properties Monocrystalline Polycrystalline Mono PERC Thin Film
Appearance Black hue Blue Hue Black Hue Can be blue or black
Efficiency High Medium High Low
Cost High Low/Medium Highest Low
Power Output High Medium Very High Low

What are the Different Types of Solar Inverters?

1. String Inverters

A row of solar panels in an array is called a string. A string inverter connects to one or multiple strings and converts the DC power extracted into AC power. These are the oldest and most common types of solar inverters.

One of the biggest drawbacks of a string inverter is it only performs as well as its lowest-performing panels. So, if a solar cell in a panel gets shaded, it will not only bring down the panel generation, but also the generation of that entire string.

Thus these inverters are cost-effective and reliable, but require shadow-free areas to work.

2. Microinverters

Microinverter is a breakthrough technology that overcomes the challenges of string inverters. Unlike a centralized inverter, Microinverter is installed underneath every panel. This ensures that every panel performs at its peak level.

And, if a single panel gets shaded or stops functioning, the generation of the neighbouring solar panels will not be affected.

Also, by converting DC to AC at the panel level, these devices reduce the amount of energy lost in transmission.

3. Power Optimizers

Power optimizers are a mix of both string inverter and Microinverter. This technology splits the function of a solar inverter into 2 parts.

A power optimizer, which is attached to every panel, extracts the maximum power from each module. This energy is then transferred to the centralized inverter which carries out the DC to AC conversion.

Both microinverter and power optimizer inverter technology are ideal for:

  • Roofs that receive partial shade at different times of the day
  • Consumers that want to expand their system capacity in the future

Why do I need Solar Accessories for my Solar Plant?

Certain solar accessories are vital for your solar plant. For example, any traditional solar installation requires mounting structures to securely place solar panels at an angle. These structures are attached to your roof.

Others like wiring, grounding cables, and walkways are vital for safety against electric shocks and optimum maintenance.

Then there are other solar accessories, which are suggested for better performance and long-term durability of your solar plant.

• ACDB/DCDB boxes:


These are junctional boxes that act as circuit breakers. Whenever there is an increased power surge in the electrical wiring, these safety components protect your system against short circuits and fires.

An ACDB box is installed between the solar inverter and appliances. The DCDB box is installed between the solar panels and the inverter.

• Aqua Pi Water Drainage Clamp

Ornate Solar Aquapi

Due to the tilt of solar panels, water starts accumulating at their lower corners after rain or cleaning. When this water evaporates, a thin layer of dust is left behind which can act as a shadow.

A water drainage clamp drains the residual water and boosts efficiency. It also improves the life of the system. It is extremely cost-effective and a must-have for all solar power plants.

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How Much Does a Solar Plant Generate?

In ideal conditions, a 1kW solar plant generates around 4 units in a day. (1 unit = 1kWh). However, in reality, generation can be affected by multiple factors such as weather conditions, brand of equipment, shading issues, etc.

You can increase your power output by:

1. Investing in high-quality solar equipment
2. Allowing airflow gaps beneath panels to keep them cool
3. Avoiding the possibility of shadows
4. Regularly cleaning the panel
5. Investing in maintenance tools like Aqua pi

What is the Cost of a Solar Power System?

Let’s start with a disclaimer.

The cost of your solar plant will depend on multiple factors such as the brand of the products used, type of system, type of inverter and panels, location, orientation, etc. But, if we consider the approximate cost of a high-quality on-grid system of 1kW capacity, then it would be around ₹52000-58000.

An off-grid system of the same capacity would cost around ₹65,000 while a hybrid would be priced at ₹75,000. The price difference is due to the requirement for additional components like battery storage.

However, do remember, these figures are not fixed and are subject to change. They can differ due to the changing industry scenarios and policy environment.

Will I Get a Solar Subsidy on My System?

Solar subsidy in India is only available to residential consumers and housing societies. Also, to avail subsidy you can only buy Made-in-India and ALMM approved solar panels.

The central government has launched the Central Financial Assistance (CFA) which can be availed by every residential consumer across India from the National Portal for Rooftop Solar (

The details of the subsidy are as follows:

1kW 2kW 3kW Over 3kW
₹30,000 ₹60,000 ₹78,000 ₹78,000 (Fixed)

The incentive is slightly higher for North Eastern states, Union Territories, and states with difficult hilly terrain including Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, UT of Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

Moreover, certain states like Jammu, Delhi, and UP also provide additional state subsidies.

*ALMM: Approved List of Models and Manufacturers for solar panels was introduced by MNRE in 2019 to boost domestic manufacturing,

What are Net Metering and Gross Metering and How Will They Affect my Savings?

Both net metering and gross metering are billing mechanisms for on-grid and hybrid PV systems. By installing solar, you will undoubtedly save money on energy bills. However, the extent of these savings will also be decided by whether you have access to net or gross metering.

So let’s understand them in brief:

Net Metering

Net Metering is a mechanism through which you can add your surplus energy to the grid. The government will buy this energy from you at your standard electricity tariff.

For example, if the local tariff is ₹6/unit, and you send 200 units to the grid, your benefit will be 6×200= ₹1200. This value will get adjusted in your monthly electricity bill.

Gross Metering

With gross metering, you first add your generated solar energy to the utility grid. Then for your consumption, you take energy directly from your DISCOM at your local electricity tariff.
The value of your exported solar power, however, is fixed. The Indian government pays around ₹3-4/unit for energy you add to the grid. ‘

Your savings will be higher in the net metering billing system. However, gross metering is considered better for the power ecosystem as it benefits both, the consumer and the power distribution companies

How to Choose the Right Solar Power Plant Capacity?

Your solar plant capacity will depend on 3 major factors:

1. Electrical Load

Before purchasing a solar plant, you will have to measure your monthly power consumption. And how do you do that?

List down all the appliances that you use, their power rating, and run time to calculate your electrical load. Here’s an example:

Appliance Power Rating (Watt) Run time (Hour) Total Consumption


3 Lights 15W (each) 9 3*15*9= 405
1 Fridge 500W 24 500*24=12,000
1 Tv 70W 4 70*4=280
3 Fans 40W (each) 10 3*40*10=1200
Total 13,885

This method will give you an approximate idea of your consumption. The solar developer you choose will help you further.

2. Space Availability

You may desire a spacious system for your home or business, but space constraints could pose a limitation. So it’s important to check how much capacity your roof can accommodate.

A 1kW system requires approximately 90-130 Sq.ft. shadow-free area. This figure could be higher or lower depending on panel rating, location, orientation, type of system, etc.

Moreover, there are ways to accommodate more capacity in the same space. You can either opt for higher-rating solar panels or an innovative solution like Solar InRoof.

InRoof is essentially a roof made of solar panels. This solution is fully leak-proof and can effectively replace metal sheets. By seamlessly fixing the panels together, InRoof can accommodate 26% more capacity in the same space.

Moreover 1kW of InRoof capacity can be deployed in 60-65sq.ft.

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3. Budget

Your budget should be the most obvious consideration. However, it should not be a limitation. With an investment like solar, you can recover your initial investment within 4-5 years.

There are also loan and lease options available for consumers who do not have or desire to make the initial capital investment.

How much maintenance does Solar Panel Require?

Solar panels do not require a lot of maintenance. All you have to do is clean the panels once a week. Apart from this, most solar inverters are equipped with remote monitoring facilities. This allows you to keep a constant check on your system performance.

You can also troubleshoot minor issues remotely. Additionally, a professional system check once every 6 months is also recommended.

Consumers have the option of investing in cost-effective maintenance tools like Aqua Pi. Due to the tilt of the panel, water gets accumulated at its lower edges. Once it evaporates, it leaves behind a layer of dust that act.

This water drainage clamp is attached to the lower edge of the solar panels to drain residual water. The simple yet incredibly powerful tool boosts efficiency and improves the lifespan of the panels.

Step By Step Guide to Going Solar

Your installation process will look something like this:

Step 1: Contact a Developer

After evaluating your requirements, you will contact a reputed solar installer to get a quote for the installation

Step 2: Site Visit 1

The developer will visit the site (your property), map the requirements, and suggest a capacity for your solar power plant.

Step 3: Submit Documents

You will have to submit all the required documents such as an Aadhar card, passport-size photo, electricity bill, etc. to the developer. The developer will submit these documents to the electricity board to get the necessary permits.

Step 4: Site inspection No. 2

The installer will inspect the site again, suggest solar equipment and determine how to set up the mounting structures and wiring.

Step 5: Designing Plant Layout

Based on the requirements, the developer will create a plant layout. Once approved by you, they will send the structures for fabrication.

Step 6: Installation and commissioning

After the necessary preparations, the solar plant will get installed on your property. Once the electric connections are in place, the site will get commissioned.


Step 7: Installation Inspection by Govt. (for net metering)

Electricity board officials will inspect the installation and issue a net meter.

Step 8: Enjoy reliable and clean energy!

Is there a way to utilize solar energy without installing a solar plant?

1. Open Access:

Industrial and commercial consumers with a sanctioned load of 100kW can directly buy solar energy from the open market. This is referred to as open access solar.

Energy will be generated in off-site solar farms and directly transmitted to your building. Moreover, the cost of solar energy will be much cheaper than traditional grid power.

2. Community Solar

For individuals who live in societies, community solar is a great option. In this model, consumers pool in the resources to set up a solar farm as a community. The energy generated is added to the grid, and each investor gets a reduction in their electricity bill based on their investment.
Although new, community solar is gaining ground in several Indian states.

3. Microgrid

Microgrids are self-sufficient energy systems that can power remote or small communities. A microgrid can incorporate multiple energy sources such as solar, wind power, and biogas. You can also integrate a battery into the system to provide reliable power supply.

Microgrids can work with and without the utility grid.

How can Ornate Solar Help?

Ornate Solar is a leading solar company with 8+ years of experience in the industry and the mission to reimagine the way solar is installed worldwide.


By not only partnering with the best-in-class solar brands but manufacturing our high-quality solutions, (panels, inverters, accessories), we develop and deliver solutions that are modern, reliable, and effective.


Ornate Solar also introduced the unique solar InRoof that turns panels into the primary roof.

If you are looking to go solar, reach out to us at 011 43536666 to discuss your options.


About The Author

Nidhi Sharma is a content developer at Ornate Solar. She has done her bachelors in English and masters in Sociology. Prior to Ornate, Nidhi worked as a writer for different brands from health, aviation and pharma industry. She is passionate about sustainability and is currently exploring all things solar!


About The Author

Nidhi Sharma is a content developer at Ornate Solar. She has done her bachelors in English and masters in Sociology. Prior to Ornate, Nidhi worked as a writer for different brands from health, aviation and pharma industry. She is passionate about sustainability and is currently exploring all things solar!