So You Want To Go Solar ?

So You Want To Go Solar ?


If there’s a book that provides answers on solar power plants for decision makers in a language they understand, this is it!

India, blessed with sun in most of its regions, and for most part of the year, is ideally positioned to benefit from solar energy. As a commercial or industrial entity, you would surely be keen that your business too benefits from solar power.

If you would like answers to a number of questions before putting in your hard-earned money, this guide is for you.

Who is it for?

While the guide will be useful for anyone keen on going solar, it has been written specifically for those in the commercial and industrial sectors keen on installing solar power plants for captive power consumption.

Customer Reviews

T. Ravinder, AGM,
NTPC- Ramagundam
Excellent book. Provides up-to-date information on the solar sector in India. The answers are structured very well and is easily understandable. Highly recommended if you are planning to go solar.
Shishir Ashthana, Senior Analyst, Moneycontrol It’s a very insightful and easy to understand book, thoroughly enjoyed reading it and learning many new concepts from it.
Satyanarayan Sheshadri, CTO, Aspiration Energy &
IIT Faculty
Concise. Easy to read. Will be really useful for non-experts keen on understanding solar power plants.
C.N. Rao,
Book Buyer
A very useful book. Found the information very useful for someone like me who wants to be a System Integrator in the solar field.
Phalanis Cheruvu,
Book Buyer
As a recent graduate looking to enter the solar industry, this book gave me a complete overview of the sector. Highly recommended for freshers like me.
R. Karthik – CEO,
iAcharya Silicon Ltd
A wonderful book on solar for beginners. Answers critical questions on solar power in a way anyone can understand

Sapna Gopal, blogger, writer, Renewable Energy.

The newly released handbook on solar by Solar Mango is essentially aimed at industries which are venturing into this initiative on an initial basis. It surely is a laudable venture since it makes comprehending the dynamics of sun power fairly easy. A must read for solar power enthusiasts and firms which want to invest in this sector.

Naveen Vunnam-CEO ,
Ilios Power Pvt. Ltd.

Solar Mango has served the solar sector in India in a useful way. Get all the basic information you want  before investing in solar in the easiest possible way

Harpreet Singh Randhawa,
Book Buyer

A book that every solar power investor must read. The book answers questions that any investor may have, and also could be beneficial to system installers for a broad overview on the solar sector in India

Rajiv Surana,
Secretary – ASSOCHAM Tamil Nadu & MD – Surana & Surana International Consultants

This Guide is simplified & updated version from the existing lots, very easy to read & understand for all those who are looking for an expert advice for their solar investment. Simplified & well structured direct FAQ on solar and its investment approach. Good Job to Solar Mango & its Team.

Mr. Jagadeesan,
Owner – Solar Cater

I found the book very useful, especially because I am a new entrant to the field. Solar Mango has been very transparent regarding the current solar scenario in India.

Rahul Ranjan,
Book Buyer

I am looking to enter into the solar sector. I found the book very useful and I would recommend the same to my colleagues.

Pankaj Sharma,
Book Buyer

I am from the I.T sector and am looking to explore the sector. If I have to describe the book in one word, I would say it is awesome. It gave me an excellent overview of the industry



Free Download

How is it different from other books on Solar?

We realized in the past few years of our consulting that what prospective solar investors need are not complicated diagrams and formulae available in most other books and guides, but answers to some of the most basic questions.

And that’s precisely what we have done in this guide.


We have chosen about 35 questions that are most important to an investor in solar power plants, and have provided simple but precise answers to those.

Do You Want Answers To These ?

Is solar power really cheap? Can I use solar power to reduce diesel consumption from generators?
Will I get subsidies and incentives for solar power plants? How do I know if my location has potential to generate enough solar power?
What is the payback period of solar power plants? How much space do I require for my solar power plant?
Can I run my factory entirely on solar? Can I use solar power with no upfront investment?

For All These & More, Download So You Want To Go Solar ?

What are the key insights available from the book?

The book enables decision making through clear insights on various aspects:

  • Basics of solar power – its real potential, benefits, inherent constraints, and challenges
  • Solar-Diesel hybrid solutions – feasibility of diesel-solar integration, actual diesel reduction possible for various cases, overall savings expected
  • Costs associated with solar – cost of solar versus grid power, break-up of costs for rooftop and ground-mounted projects, O&M costs
  • Incentives for solar – tax benefits and subsidies available and eligibility criteria
  • Returns from solar – expected payback periods and IRRs for various stakeholders
  • Permits and approvals required –approvals and associated processes – for rooftop and ground-mounted projects
  • Other requirements for going solar – suitability of location based on solar radiation, suitability of roof types, minimum area for installation, etc.

And More



List of Contents


Concepts & Topics Discussed

1       Key Concepts


1.1     Why is there so much talk about solar?

  • Modularity, Cost
  • Distributed Generation
  • Maintenance
  • Time for Installation

1.2     If solar power is so wonderful, why has everyone not put up solar panels on their roofs?

  • Growth of solar
  • Area Required
  • Capital Cost
  • Grid Replacement Potential

1.3     What are the business models associated with solar power plants?

  • Sale to Utility / Government
  • Sale to Private Firms
  • Self/Captive Consumption

1.4     So how do these solar power systems work?

  • Photons
  • Photovoltaics (PV)
  • Direct Current (DC)
  • Alternating Current (AC)
  • Grid Power
  • Inverter

1.5     How are rooftop solar plants different from large ground-mounted solar power plants?

  • Rooftop Solar
  • Ground Mounted Solar
  • Centralized Power Generation
  • Distributed Power Generation
  • Location of Solar Power Consumption
  • Feeding of Solar Power to Grid

1.6     Can a solar power plant provide electricity at night?

  • Grid Power
  • Battery Back-ups
  • Net Metering

1.7     Can I run my factory entirely on rooftop solar?

  • Rooftop Solar for Residences
  • Rooftop Solar for Office Buildings & Commercial Establishments
  • Rooftop Solar for Factories & Industrial Establishments
  • Contribution from Solar for Residences
  • Commercial & Industrial Establishments

1.8     Can I use solar power to reduce diesel consumption from generators?

  • Power from Diesel Gensets
  • Diesel Reduction Potential from Solar Power Plants
  • Cost of Diesel Genset based Power
  • Solar Power Plant Sizing for Diesel Genset Integration

1.9     Can I use solar panels along with solar water heaters?

  • Comparison of Solar Panels for Power Generation and Solar Water Heaters

2       Requirements


2.1     What components make up a solar power plant?

  • Solar Panels
  • Solar Inverters
  • Mounting Structures
  • Cables
  • Balance of Systems

2.2     How do I know if my location has potential to generate enough solar power?

  • DNI for a Location
  • Solar Radiation for Different Cities
  • Number of Solar Units Generated Based on Location

2.3     How much space do I require for my solar power plant?

  • Area required for Solar Power Plants

2.4     I do not have space for a rooftop solar power plant. What are my options?

  • Off-site Solar Power Generation
  • Third Party Power Purchase

2.5     Is my roof suitable for solar panels?

  • Weight of Solar Power Plants
  • Load Bearing Capacity of Different Roof Types
  • Suitability of Different Roofs

2.6     Can I have solar panels on parking lots?

  • Benefits of Solar Power Plants on Parking Lots
  • Success Stories

2.7     Do I need a separate team to maintain the solar power plant?

  • Need for O&M Team
  • Solar Power Plant Capacities that Need External O&M

2.8     What role does the government play in solar power plants?

Role of Government in:

  • Rooftop Solar Power
  • Offsite Solar Power
  • Sale of Power to Utility

2.9     I keep hearing this term Net Metering. What is it?

  • Net Metering – Description
  • Need for Net Metering Policies

2.10  What permits and approvals do I need for a solar power plant?

  • Building Permits for Rooftop Solar Power
  • Electrical Permits for Rooftop Solar Power
  • Clearances for Ground-Mounted Solar Power

2.11  How long will it take to install a solar power plant?

Time for Installation of:

  • Residential Rooftop Solar Power Plants
  • Medium Sized Rooftop Solar Power Plants
  • Large Ground- Mounted Solar Power Plants

3       Performance


3.1     Should I go for high efficiency panels?

  • Efficiency of Standard Solar Panels
  • Need for High Efficiency Solar Panels
  • Suggestions for Efficiency Ranges to be Opted

3.2     Will my solar power plant work on rainy and cloudy days?

  • Performance of Solar Power Plants on Rainy Days
  • Performance of Solar Power Plants on Cloudy Days

3.3     Will solar panels cause fire?

  • Fire Hazards Associated with Solar Power Plants
  • Fire Prevention Practices to be Followed

3.4     Can rooftop solar power plants generate power during power outages?

Performance of Solar Power Plants During Power Outages in 3 Scenarios:

  • Scenario 1- Solar + Batteries
  • Scenario 2 – Solar + Diesel Genset
  • Scenario 3 – Rooftop Solar Alone

4       Costs & Returns


4.1     Is solar power really dirt cheap?

  • Solar Price Trends Over Years
  • Reasons for Current Drop in Module Prices

4.2     Will I get subsidies and incentives for solar power plants?

  • Central and State Government Subsidies for Solar
  • Tax Benefits for Solar

4.3     Do I have tax benefits if I invest in Solar?

  • Accelerated Depreciation Benefit for Solar
  • Eligibility for Accelerated Depreciation Benefit

4.4     What is the payback period of solar power plants?

  • Factors that Affect Payback Period of Solar Power Plants
  • Expected Range of Payback Period for Different Scenarios

4.5     What are the IRRs from solar power plants?

  • Project IRR of Solar Power Plants
  • Equity IRR of Solar Power Plants
  • Expected Range of IRRs for Different Scenarios

4.6     How costly is O&M for solar power plants?

  • O&M Activities in Solar Power Plants
  • Cost of O&M Services for Solar Power Plants

4.7     Can I have a rooftop solar power plant without upfront investments?

  • CAPEX Model for Solar
  • OPEX/RESCO Model for Solar
  • CAPEX v/s OPEX Models

5       Dos and Don’ts


5.1     Should I wait for solar panel costs to come down further?

  • Solar Panel Price Trends
  • China Factor in Panel Cost Reductions
  • Forecast for Panel Prices

5.2     Should I wait until the next solar power breakthrough?

  • Robustness of Existing Panel Technologies
  • Suitability of Going Solar Now

5.3     How do I ensure what I get is what I hear?

  • Pointers to Avoid Being Ripped Off by Solar Installers

5.4     How do I get a good technical team to install my solar power plant?

  • Need for a Sound Technical Team
  • Pointers to Select a Good Solar Installer

6       Summary of all the stuff to remember

  • Summary of Key Take-Aways and Highlights

7       A Quick Checklist to Help You Answer the Question: Should I Go Solar?

Checklist on Deciding to Go Solar Based on:

  • Monthly Energy Bills and Consumption
  • Availability of Land/Area
  • Eligibility for Depreciation Benefits
  • Energy Consumption Pattern
  • Company Preferences

8       Free Feasibility Intelligence Report from Solar Mango

  • Customized Feasibility Study on Going Solar  for Book Buyers from Solar Mango

9       Myth vs. Reality

  • Common Myths Related to Solar Busted

10    Other Super Useful Stuff


10.1  Breakup of costs for rooftop solar power plants

  • Component-Wise Cost Breakup for Rooftop Solar Power Plants in India

10.2  Breakup of costs for ground-mounted, MW scale solar power plants

  • Component-Wise Cost Breakup for Ground- Mounted Solar Power Plants in India

10.3  Checklist for EPC Selection

Pointers to Select the Right Solar Installer Based on:

  • Credibility
  • Past Performance
  • Team Profile
  • & More

10.4  Checklist for solar power plant component selection

Parameters to Select:

  • Solar Modules
  • Solar Inverters
  • Mounting Structures
  • Solar Cables

Highlights from “So You Want to Go Solar?”

Key Concepts

  • Solar Power has High Potential – Solar power has a number of inherent strengths that makes it a high potential renewable energy source.
  • It’s Not a Magic Bullet – Solar power has a number of constraints. This could be in terms of high area requirements, infirmness in power supply, significant capital costs and others.
  • Rooftop Solar Consumed on Site, Solar Farms Feed Power to Grid – While power from a rooftop solar power plant is usually consumed on site, power generated in large solar farms is in most cases fed to the grid from where it could be used either for captive purposes or otherwise.
  • Solar at Night Possible through Batteries – The only way you can directly use solar power at night is through the use of batteries.
  • Not a Complete Replacement – Rooftop solar power is unlikely to contribute all the power you need. It could contribute up to 80% for homes and 30% for commercial units and offices; for factories, rooftop solar alone is unlikely to contribute a large percentage of power required.
  • Can Work with Diesel Gensets – Solar power plants can work with diesel generators, but care should be taken during design to derive maximum benefits.

Components and Requirements

  • Pay Attention to Component Selection – An optimal selection of solar power plant components can make or break your solar power plant investment.
  • Area Required – A 1 kW solar power plant requires about 100 sq.ft or 10 sq.m.
  • Is Your Roof Suitable for Solar? – Most roofs are designed to withstand the weight of solar panels. If your roof is of asbestos or plastic, or is very old, make sure you consult a structural engineer before putting up the panels.
  • Net Metering – Net Metering helps a rooftop solar power producer to monetize any surplus power generated and not consumed on the premises, but is exported to the grid.
  • Approvals & Permits – There is some legwork involved to get the permits required. Choosing a high quality professional installer will make this much easier.
  • Short Installation Duration – Solar power plant implementations take only a short amount of time, from just a couple of weeks for small plants to only a few months for even large solar farms.


  • Generation from a Solar Power Plant – Per kW, a solar PV power plant generates between 3-5 kWh (units) a day, the lower limit for regions with poor sunlight and the upper limit for regions with plentiful sunlight.
  • Performance during Rains or Clouds – Performance of the solar power plant gets affected during cloudy or rainy days, and its output can go down by up to 80% during these occasions.
  • Performance during Power Outages – Rooftop solar power plants can continue to generate power during power cuts only if there is a backup power source – such as batteries or diesel genset – available.


  • Cost of Solar Power – Cost of solar power in 2017, is in the range of Rs 4-5/kWh.
  • O&M – The O&M costs for solar power plants are small, with typical O&M expenses in India being only about 1% of the total capital cost.
  • Subsidies – In India, capital subsidies are applicable only for small, residential rooftop solar power systems.
  • Tax Benefits – Investors in solar power plants in India can avail the tax benefit in the form of a 40% Accelerated Depreciation on investment.
  • Payback Periods – Payback periods for solar power plants are in a wide range of 4-10 years.
  • Solar Power without Upfront Costs – With existing business models such as BOOT/OPEX models, you can today use solar power without having to put money upfront.

Dos & Don’ts

  • Don’t Wait for Costs to Decrease Further – Waiting for solar panel and solar power costs to decrease dramatically is not a good idea. Cost decreases from now on will be gradual.
  • Don’t Wait for Tech Breakthroughs – Solar power plant technology improvement is more evolutionary than revolutionary. So do not wait for big breakthroughs.
  • Invest for Quality – The pain from a poor quality product lasts long after the smile you get from having paid a low price has vanished.
  • Choose the Right Installer – Ensure your solar power plant is of good quality by ensuring you select the right EPC/installer.

Published by Solar Mango, one of the most sought after consultants for the Indian solar sector, this book will be an invaluable guide when you are in the initial stages of your solar power plant investment decision making.