Stop talking to your uncle if you are putting up a rooftop solar power plant!

This must have been about 5 months back, when we came to know that a prestigious college in Chennai had put up a rooftop solar power plant.

Naturally, we were interested to know more and paid a visit to the college.

Overall, it appeared to be a reasonably good job done. But when we started digging into the details, things started unraveling. The college surely appeared to have paid a lot more than they should have for the 50 kW system. The inverter make was unheard of, prompting concerns whether it will last even 5 years, and even that, at what efficiency? The college administration had no idea of what the architecture what – whether it was a grid tied system, whether it was an offgrid system. Surprisingly, they did not even know whether the system used batteries. We had to check it out for ourselves to find that it was a grid-tied system with no batteries.

We identified the company that had put up the rooftop solar system. It was a company we had never heard of, and it appeared to be a one-man show.

The whole thing reeked of poor knowledge, planning, design and worse of all, vendor selection.

We were intrigued about how the college went about selecting the system integrator EPC, because in our opinion, a professional EPC would have done a far better job.

Alas, we were never able to find out how the college chose a system integrator who no one in the industry knew about. In fact, we could not find this company from Google searches for rooftop solar or industry directories for rooftop solar vendors.

I can only guess how the college could have gone about choosing a vendor.

Someone in the administration must have asked his or her cousin.

Yes, sadly, this is how rooftop solar solution providers appear to be selected today. The vendor is suggested by someone’s uncle or cousin or brother or mother!

Hardly the way to go while investing tens of lakhs on an asset that should come for 25 years!

Especially when there are good quality system integrators in the country who can design professional, long lasting rooftop solar power plants, with architectures that are best suited to your needs.

If you are looking at putting up a rooftop solar power plant, the smartest way to do this is to talk to people from the solar power sector. And stop talking to your cousins and uncles about it!

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