What Portion of My Factory’s Electricity Needs can Be Supplied by Solar?

Factories have many energy-intensive processes like manufacturing,assembling,packing,repairing,testing,processing,etc. They typically are the higher end of energy consumption and usually end up with very high electricity bills. They usually have diesel backup to ensure continuous supply of power.

Solar PV systems in factories can help them reduce their diesel power consumption, depending on the time of use and also help in reducing their electricity bills, depending on the tariff at which it is charged.

How much of my factory’s needs can be met by solar PV Systems?

  • Most studies seem to suggest Solar PV systems are able to meet around 10-15% of a factory’s energy needs.
  • If a factory depends heavily on diesel power backup, it is found that Solar PV is able to abate 10% of the diesel power bills, depending on the time of load shedding.
  • In very rare cases, Solar PV systems may be able to meet 30-40% of the factory’s energy needs. Solar PV systems works for around 4-5 hours a day without batteries. So for factories with operations set only for a limited number of hours during the daytime, PV systems are able to cover a higher percentage of electricity needs.

Why is the percentage met by solar PV systems within a low range?

There are many constraints when it comes to powering a factory’s entire energy needs on Solar PV systems. A few of them are discussed below.

  • Lack of space– The capacity of a Solar PV plant may be limited by the lack of sufficient shade free area to put up the plant.
  • Roof type-If a rooftop solar power plant is set up, it may not be possible to place solar panels on metal and asbestos roofed structures, again limiting the capacity of the power plant.
  • Intermittent nature of Solar Power-It is dependent on the availability of sunshine in the area. In times of insufficient sunshine, the factory will have to depend on other sources of power.
  • Load-shedding timings-If most of the load shedding in the area occurs during night, Solar PV plants will not be able to reduce the factory’s energy consumption from the grid or diesel energy consumption.

So, as discussed above, Solar PV Plants are usually able to meet up to around 10-15% of factory’s energy needs. A grid-interactive configuration with Solar PV systems and diesel power backup can help reduce its utility and diesel bills.

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India Renewable Energy Expert