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T3 Certification Handbook

Dealer Technicians Certification Program

15 November 2013

Tata Power Solar Systems Limited

#78, Electronics City, Phase I, Hosur Road, Bangalore 560 1000
T3 Certification Handbook


This book is designed to be used as a manual for training on how to do basic design, install and maintain photovoltaic (SPV) and
Solar Thermal (ST) systems. It is not made to stand alone as a book that a person reads on their own, Rather, this book is more of
a workbook that can be used to help in the training of those who will be installing and using the systems too.

This book is intended to be used as a reference manual along with the certification program for dealer technicians.

Furthermore, the goal of this manual is not to go in depth into all of the intricacies of photovoltaic and thermal systems, but rather
provide the students with the practical information so that he or she will finish the training with knowledge on how to troubleshoot
and maintain solar systems supplied by Tata Power solar.

We hope that this workbook will be a useful resource in the future when the trainees are called upon to maintain, troubleshoot,
design or install a system.

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Sun is a massive source of heat and light, the amount of energy

reaching the earth’s atmosphere, if captured for few hours, will
provide enough, for us to use for a whole year. The Process of
converting light energy to electricity is called Solar Photo Voltaic
process. The Equipment used for this process is a solar PV cell
or a solar PV module.

1.1 Summary of Components

A. Solar Panels
Converts sunlight to electricity.

B. Batteries
They store electricity. Converters Electrical Energy into Chemical
Energy and back when required. Proper use and maintenance
will help batteries work for years.

C. Charge Controller
Manages the flow of electricity between the solar panel, battery
and load. It is the central component of the solar PV system and
very essential part for proper functioning of the overall PV

D. Inverter
Converts DC power from the solar panel and battery to AC
power. Inverters are not always used. When they are used they
can be combined with the same piece of equipment at the
charge controller to combine both and sometimes called a solar
power conditioning unit (PCU).

E. Load
Usage of electricity, e.g. lights, LED light, computer, radio.

F. Wires / Cables
Connects various components together. A proper selection

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saves a lot of power. Cables are supplied with TPSSL PV 2.0 HOW A SOLAR PANEL WORKS

The solar panel only creates electricity when there is sun. The
below picture depicts that when it is sunny the solar panel
captures the energy from the sun and converts it into electricity
Typical battery / inverter based solar PV system and turns on the light. When there is no sun, the panel does not
make electricity and there is no light.

This is the most simplest solar panel system, the load will only
work when there is enough sun for the solar panel to produce

A load is a piece of electrical equipment that consumes energy.

For example, when a light bulb is ON it is a load because it is
Typical grid export solar PV system consuming energy through electric wire it is connected to.


There are two types of electricity: direct current electricity (DC)

and alternating current electricity (AC). Alternating current is the
type of current most commonly used in households that are
connected to the grid to power loads such as, radios, TVs,
refrigerators, and lighting. The electricity company and most
generators produce AC current. AC current can easily stepped
Typical DC solar lighting system up or down using a transformer.

Direct current is used mostly in houses that are not connected

to the grid, and are running off of batteries similar to the solar
home lighting system.

A solar panel produces DC electricity, and battery stores DC

electricity. Figure above shows a diagram of direct cur¬rent,
where the current does not change the direction. Alternating
current changes direction 50 times a second in a 50Hz Grid.

3.1 Every solar panel has a rated power output

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The rated output of the panel is determined by the voltage and Voltage at open circuit (no load connected) -19 to 22V depending
current that the solar panel can produce. Generally, solar panels on age, sunlight intensity and cleanliness of the panel surface.
produce electricity at either 12 or 24 volts. Therefore, the Voltage at maximum power Vmp- about 82 to 85% of Voc.
amount of current the solar panel produces determines the Current at short circuit – Isc – depends on power rating. Leads
amount of power the solar panel produces. Using the power short circuited. Current at Maximum power – ~10% less than
equation below, we can calculate the amount of power that Isc.
something will produce or consume.

Power = Current * Voltage = Watts 3.2 Watt vs. Watt-Hours

Power is measured in Watts, Voltage is measured in Volts and Power = Watts Energy = Watt-Hours
the Current is measured in Amps.
A watt is the amount of power that a solar panel can produce or
If a solar panel produces 5 amps of electricity at 12 volts, the that a light bulb consumes.
total power it produces is 60 watts: Watt-Hours = Watt X No. of Hours

5 Amps X 12 Volts = 60 Watts For example, A 11 watt CFL requires power of 11 watts to light
(current) (voltage) (power) up. If a 11 watt CFL works for 3 hours, it consumes energy of 11
watts X 3 hours or 33 watt-hours:
However, if you have 2 panels that produce 5 amps at 12 volts, 11 Watts X 3 Hours = 33 Watt-Hours
the total power that the panels produce is 120 watts:

5 Amps X 12 Volts = 60 Watts x 2 panels = 120 Watts 4.0 The Sun as an energy source

If it is a larger panel and it produces 8 amps at 12 volts, then the Understanding how the Earth receives light from the sun is
total power the panel will produce is watts: extremely important in designing a photovoltaic system. This
section explains some of the basics of how the sun works and
6 Amps X 12 Volts = 96 Watts how we measure the strength of the sun at different locations.

Every solar panel has a maximum amount of current that it can Various ways by which we get solar radiation
produce. The amount of current that a solar panel produces in a
given moment depends on the amount of sunlight present and
several other factors which will be reviewed later.

As sited in the example above, we have considered 12V as the

voltage of a panel of 12V, however in practice a 12V rated panel
cannot charge a 12V battery, Hence most of the 12V 36cells
solar panel produce the following voltage and current.

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4.0 Peak sunshine hour Hour Watts/m2 Watts Hours/m2

05 AM - 06 AM 0 0
In order to design a photovoltaic system, we need to understand 06 AM - 07 AM 25 25
07 AM - 08 AM 25 25
how much sun the area in which we are installing the PV system
08 AM - 09 AM 50 50
will receive. For most regions of the world, the daily average of
09 AM - 10 AM 300 300
sun received is known. The average amount of sun received is 10 AM - 11 AM 1000 1000
given in the Peak Sunshine Hours. 11 AM - 12 AM 1200 1200
12 AM - 01AM 1000 1000
A Peak Sunshine hour (PSH) represents a one hour period of a 01 PM - 02 PM 300 300
02 PM - 03 PM 50 50
perfectly sunny day with no clouds. Therefore if a region has a
04 PM - 05 PM 25 25
PSH of 4 it means that on average, the region will receive 4 05 PM - 06 PM 25 25
hours of perfect sun per day. A PSH is equivalent to having 1000 06 PM - 07 PM 0 0
W/m2 (watts per meter squared) of sun for one continuous hour. Total Watt-hrs/m /Day 4000

PSH is found by adding up all the amount of sun received for (Watt hours/m2 /day)/1000watts/m2 = Hours of perfect Sun per day

every hour of the day and then dividing the total by 1000 W/m2. (4000 watt hours/m2 /day)/1000watts/m2 = 4 PHS

In the below Figure, the curve shows the amount of sun received
per hour over the day and the box shows the total number of Unfortunately, every day does not give the same amount of sun.
perfect sun hours in the day. Table 1, on the following page, Therefore before we can know the PSH for a certain area, we
shows one example of calculating PSH. need to do the above calculation for every single day of the year
and calculate the average. For example, in South India the PSH
is 4. Some days there we have a PSH of 5 and other days have
a PSH of 1, but on average the PSH is 3.

We do not need to do the above calculations because these

datas are available and have been updated year after year. Data
on a particular location can also be obtained from TPSSL
systems design department.

Although world maps of PSH are generated for a given season

and are too broad to use for actual design, they provide a good
illustration of what the PSH values are around the world.

Every hour of the day the sun will produce a different amount of
power (watts) per meter squared. To find out how many perfect
hours of sun are present in a day, the amount of watt hours / m2
is added up and then divided by 1000 W / m2.

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4.2 Orientation In general, the best average position for mounting the panel is
tilted towards the equator at an angle approxi¬mately equal to
We know that the Sun is the source and it is very important to the latitude of the location. Hence, for locations on the equator,
mount the panel correctly so that we capture as much sun as the optimum angle is horizontal, but we still tilt that panel at an
possible. Solar panels produce the most electricity when they angle to allow the rain and due to help keep it clean.
are perpendicular to the sun light. Since the sun moves all day,
it is not practical to keep moving the panel all day to keep it The following are illustrations for an area about 30o north or
perpendicular to the sun. south of the equator.

Different Ways to Orient Solar Panels

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5.0 How Solar Panels Function

A photovoltaic Panels or simply solar panel converts the light

energy from the sun into electrical energy by using solar cells.

The Solar panel functions by collecting the light energy from the
sun, this energy comes in the form of photons. The photons are
captured by the solar cell and the energy from the photon makes Power = Voltage X Current
an electron move in the solar cell, which creates a current and
electricity. 5.2 Changes in IV Curves

The Open circuit voltage reduces with increase in Temperature

Diagram above shows how solar panels function

Picture below shows a single cell

The current produced is directly proportional to the sun

light intensity. Voltage has a lesser effect; almost full
voltage is seen even in small intensity of sun light.

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Solar Module Characteristics 6.0 The Charge Controller

• Material - Mono/Multi Crystalline Si
• Shape - Circular/Pseudo sq./Square The charge controller is the brain of the PV system. The wiring
• Thickness - 200 to 250μ from the solar panels, the batteries, and all of the loads goes
• Colour - Blue/Blueblack through the charge controller. The charge controller manages
the flow of electricity from the panels, into and out of the
Electrical batteries, and to the loads. It has four main functions:
• Current • Protects the battery from overcharging, by controlling how
• Limited to Isc (no damage when shorted) the PV panel charges the battery
• Proportional to area and insolation • Protects the battery from discharge, by disconnecting the
• Very little dependence on temperature loads when the battery voltage gets too low
• Voltage • Gives information on the state of charge of the battery and
• Limited to Voc functional status
• Not dependent on size • Protects the system from reverse connection of battery or
• logarithmically dependent on insolation module
• Dependent on temperature
• Can not store electricity PWM controlled charger

Nominal voltage of 0.55V requires series connection to get • Pulse width modulation (PWM) charge controller; the solar
useful voltage of 17V to charge 12V battery. array is connected to the battery via a switching circuit
Short circuit current is proportional to light intensity. • By varying the pulse width duty cycle the output voltage to the
battery can be controlled
• In such a controller, initially when the battery is low the panel
is directly connected to the battery, however, as the battery
voltage picks up, the switching sequence starts
• The pulse width is randomly modulated to maintain the output
voltage accross the battery
• At the end of the charge the pulse width becomes so narrow
that the battery voltage floats to the set voltage of the charger

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Maximum Power Point Tracker solar charger resistance to the flow of electricity. The terminations need to be
made with the proper connection materials.
A Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT) solar charger is a high
efficiency DC to DC converter which functions as an optimal Twisted wires can lead to resistance and sometime burning of
electrical load for a solar pane there by extracting maximum the wire, an improper termination and looses connection leads
power from the panel to burning of connector.

7.0 Wiring and interconnection cables 7.2 Wire sizing

The wiring is what carries the electricity from the panels to the When current passes through a wire, voltage drops from end to
charge controller and to the batteries and from the batteries end as a result of the resistance in the copper wire. This is an
through the charge controller out to the loads. important consideration in all systems, but more so in low
In a water system, if the pipes are too small, the water will not voltage (12V e.g.) systems. Losing 2 volts on a 240V system is
flow properly through the pipes to where you need it. This is not too bad since it only represents less than 1% of the voltage
because of the small size of the pipe. lost to resistance.

Similarly, in an electric system, if the wiring is not sized and But, losing the same 2 volts on a 12V system represents a
installed correctly, the electricity will not flow properly to the voltage loss of almost 17% which is quite excessive!
loads. In electrical wiring, the two main considerations are the The amount of voltage that is lost for a given wire size and
wire size, and the terminations. current flow is based on how much wire there is, or the length
of the wire and the wire thickness.
If the wiring is too small, or if the terminations are not made
properly, either of these conditions will result in too much We never want to lose more than 5% to voltage drop, so on a
resistance to the flow of electricity, and the system will not work 12V system; we do not want to lose more than 0.6V. Refer a
properly. standard wire table for selecting the correct wire size.

7.1 Terminations
8.0 Batteries
To make terminations properly, all wire connections need to be
clean and tight. Twisting wires together and taping them is not A battery based PV system is really a battery system with PV
good enough. The looseness in these connections adds panels charging the batteries. Batteries store watt hours just
like a fuel tank stores fuel.

In a car when the tank gets low we go to the gas station and fill
it up. A solar panel and battery work similarly. During the day the
solar panel fills up the battery with watt hours and at night we
take the watt hours out of the battery to power our loads.

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• Low depth of discharge (<40%)

• Short life
• Frequent topping up

Solar/UPS stationary batteries

• Small current for a long time
• Lesser no. of thick plates
• Deep depth of discharge (80%)
• Long life
• Infrequent topping up

8.1 Types of batteries Lead Acid Batteries are made for either car/trucks or solar
panels systems. Batteries made for solar panel sys¬tems are
called Deep Cycle Batteries.

8.2 Depth of discharge

The term “depth of discharge” just means how much discharge

has been done from the battery. The less energy we take out of
the battery each night, the longer the battery will last.

A battery that is discharged 50% might give power twice as long

There are many types of batteries; the types of batteries that we as a battery that is discharged 80% every night.
almost always use are called Lead Acid Batteries. Below
pictures shows the types of Lead Acid Batteries. Furthermore So, when we size the battery, we need to keep this in mind. If we
the types of Lead Acid Battery we use a flooded sealed lead acid determine that we need 100 watt hours of storage in the battery
battery. for each night, then we would want to get a battery that stores
twice this amount of watt hours.
Secondary Batteries
8.3 State of charge of batteries

How do we determine how full the battery is or what its state of

charge is? One way is to measure the voltage using a digital
multi meter (DMM). The voltage measurements must be made
Car/Truck mobile batteries
• Large current for short time 1. Battery is disconnected from the charge controller.
• Many thin plates 2. Battery has been at rest for 30 minutes.

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(Any measurement done during charging will yield wrong How to use a hydrometer

Battery construction

Handling batteries
Specific gravity measurement
• Do not short battery terminals or else the batteries could
• A fully charge battery can pump a huge current under short
• Acid is corrosive. Always wear rubber gloves
• Your eyes are too precious. Protect them with safety goggles
• Wear a safety apron to prevent acid spilling on your dress
• Do not wear dangling jewellery. They can cause short circuit
and cause burns

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Hazards in batteries

Corroded terminals and damaged cables can cause resistance

and can lead to significant energy loss. In order to prevent this
• Keep battery top clean and dry
• Replace damaged cables and tighten cable terminals
• Apply petroleum jelly around terminals and posts

Battery storage

Keep batteries
• In well ventilated rooms
• In coolest part of the room (in warm regions)
• In the warmest part of the room (in very cold regions)
• With no junk lying around
• Away from reach of children
• Away from flames with no stoves anywhere near
• In no smoking areas
Battery topping up to maintain electrolyte levels

Battery care

Low performance of battery can be due to

• Damaged cable - power loss
• Damaged terminal - power loss
Only water escapes from the battery during charging and
• Low electrolyte - damaged plates
discharging in the form of hydrogen and oxygen. This can only
• Spillage - damage to battery box or floor
be replaced with distilled water and not acid.

Battery don’ts

• Don’t add new electrolyte (acid)

• Don’t place your solar system in to storage without some type
of device to keep the battery charged
• Don’t disconnect battery cables while the panel is connected

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• Don’t put off recharging batteries unless battery is fully 9.1 Pure sine wave inverter
• Don’t discharge a battery any deeper than you possibly have These inverters produce pure sine wave output similar to the
to grid power.
• Don’t mix different size and type of batteries
A microcontroller generates sine modulated PWM sampled at
high frequency.
Battery and electronics
These are fed to a transformer primary thru a set of MOSFETS
• Ensure that the battery is placed in a well ventillated battery arranged as a bridge.
• Many a times battery fumes create corrosion in the electronic A series of filter elements with inductor and capacitor filters the
circuits and charge controller PCB and these have to be output to recover the sine wave from the PWM pulses.
inspected frequently Efficiency, waveform quality and no load current needs to be
• A corroded PCB cannot be repaired checked before using these inverters in solar systems.
• Avoid touching metal parts after working on batteries
• Wash your hands immediately after working on batteries
10.0 Designing a PV System

9.0 Inverters Below figure is a line drawing of a PV System with DC Loads.

There are four key parts to the system: Solar Panel, Battery,
An Inverter is a piece of equipment that converts DC electricity Charge Controller, and the Loads.
into AC electricity, allowing the PV system to be used for
appliances that require AC current.

There are three types of Inverters: Square wave inverters,

modified (quasi) - square wave inverters and sine wave inverters.
Each type of inverter wave can power different types of electrical 10.1 Calculating Total Daily Consumption in
equipment. Watt-Hours

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The first step in designing systems is to find out the total • Temperature at 25 degrees Centigrade on the panel surface
consumption that needs to be powered by the PV System. Once • Sun intensity is 1000W/Sq. Mtr. (air mass of 1.5)
the total load on the system is known the PV System can be • Wind Speed of 20mtrs/Sec
designed. The few lines have been filled out as an example.
10.4 Accounting for non-perfect Sun
Loads Qauntity Watts Hrs/Day Whrs/Day
Fluorescent Lamp 2 20 4 160
We take care of the issue with the amount of perfect sun shining
LED Light 1 1 6 6
on the panel by using the Peak sun shine hours for the hours of
DC Outlet (computer 1 70 1 70
or charger) sun, instead of counting the hours when the sun is shining. Even
Total 236
though it might look like the sun is shining brightly for 6 or even
8 hours in a day, we use the PSH value talked about earlier to
estimate how many watt hours the panel will produce.
10.2 Efficiency of the PV System
For example, one might think that a 100 watt panel would
Now that we know the loads that we need to provide power for, produce 600 or 800 watt-hours in a given day because the sun
the next step is in sizing the main components – the solar is shining for 6 or 8 hours. However, if the PSH value for the area
panels, the battery, the charge controller, and the wiring. is 3, then we can only count on the panel producing 3hrs * 100
watts, or 300 watt hours in a given day.
We need to keep in mind that we need the energy we calculated
above available at the loads. But, when ever energy is produced
or moved, there are losses involved, since nothing is perfect. So, 10.5 Accounting for non-standard temperature
we need to size the panels and the batteries large enough to
account for the losses, and still have enough power left over for As stated above, the panel produces its rated watts when the
the loads. temperature of the panel surface is 25 degrees C. So, we have
to adjust for the times when the panel surface is NOT at 25
System Efficiency depends on the efficiency of all the associated degrees C.
parts like Module / Panel + Charge Controller +Battery + Wire
and cables + Loads + Inverter. Although Solar Panels need sun to produce energy, when it is
very hot out the solar panels will not work as well as on sunny
days when it is cold. Solar panels functions the best at 25o C.
10.3 PV Panel Output Therefore, whenever the solar panel is warmer than 25o C, it will
not produce is rated wattage.
In an ideal condition, a 100 watt solar panel will produce 100
watts of power when the sun is shining on it. But, this is rarely Air Temperature C + 15 C = Temperature of the Solar Panel
the case. A solar panel only produces its rated watts under a
specific set of conditions: For every degree that the solar panel temperature is above 25oC
the solar panel output 0.5% less. Below is an example.
• Perfect sun shining on the panel, perpendicular to the surface If the Air Temperature = 30o C,

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Temperature at which the solar panel produces its rated watts = 10.7 Wiring Efficiency
25 C

45oC-25oC=20oC (this is the amount that the solar panel is Earlier, we talked about the need to use larger wire so we don’t
above the optimal temperature) have a large voltage drop. We wanted to keep the voltage drop
20oC * 0.5% per degree = 10% loss, so the panel output is 90% to 5% or less. When we lose volts because of wire that is too
at 30 Co
small, this also means we lose energy because volts multiplied
by amps = watts.
POWER TO TEMPERATURE LOSSES Properly designed wiring may have a combined efficiency of
97% or 0.97. So, we need to include a loss factor for what we
lose in the wire. If we size the wire correctly, this loss factor
could be as little as 3%. If we use too small, or too long a wire
then this factor could be over 10% which is very large.

10.8 Sizing the Panel

In taking all loses into account, the PV array size can be found
100W Panel X 90% (because of loss due to temperature) X 3PSH by dividing the total number of watt hours re¬quired in a day by
per day = 270 watt-hrs per day of energy output the multiplication of the PV panel output, battery efficiency and
wiring efficiency. If we have a condition where the air
To summarize, if we install a 100 watt solar panel in an area temperature is 30oC on average, we have a battery, and the
with a PSH of 3.0 and where the average air temperature is 30 wiring is sized correctly, then the power delivered to the load
degrees C, we can expect to produce from this panel. from a 100 watt panel would be:

But, this output is still at the panel, and not at the load. We still 100W X 90% for temp. loss X 85% for battery losses X 97% for
have to get the energy through the wiring and through the wiring losses = 74W
battery. We will lose some energy at each place.
Next, multiplying 74W by the Peak Sun Hours (PSH), in one day
in an area with a PSH of 3.0, the energy, in watt-hours, available
10.6 Battery Efficiency at the loads from a 100 watt panel would be:
74 watts * 3 hours of perfect sun = 223 watt-hrs
Most batteries have an efficiency rating of about 85%. This
means when energy passes through the battery, about 15% of This is quite different than if we had assumed no losses and
the energy is lost. hoped to get 100 watts of power for 3 hours or 300 watt-hours.
It is even more different than if we had hoped to get the 100
Battery efficiency is 85% or 0.85. watts of power for all 6 hours when the sun appears to be
shining, or 600 watt hours.

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So, it is very important to take all of these factors into

consideration when sizing the panel, or we will end up with a
panel that will not properly charge the battery, and our system
will fail.

To size the panel, knowing the loads helps to combine these

factors into a “Panel Factor.” For example, in this case, our
panel factor would be 74% or 0.74 since we can expect to get
74% of the 100watt rated power of the panel, or 74 watts. We
often use a factor of 75% as a round number.

So, if for example, we had calculated the required loads to be

230 watt-hours per day, similar to the previous example, then 11.0 Battery Sizing
we would have to divide the 230 watt hours by the panel factor
to see how many watt-hours we need to produce to overcome The next step in the design process is to size the battery. We
the losses. said before that the battery stores energy in wat¬t hours, like a
fuel tank stores fuel. And, we said that the battery has an
230 watt-hrs / 0.75 = 307 watt-hrs efficiency of 85%, meaning we lose 15% of the energy in moving
it through the battery. If we use our example of a load of 230
In an area with a Perfect Sun Hour (PSH) rating of 3.0, we would watt hours, then we would need a battery sized at:
have three equivalent hours of sun to produce these watt hours,
so we need a panel to be: 230 watt-hrs / .85 for efficiency = 271 watt-hrs

307 watt-hrs / 3 hours = 102 watts But, if we sized the battery at 271 watt hours, this would mean
We would purchase a solar panel rated at least 100 Watts. But • We would not have any energy left in the battery on days when
for battery charging considerations, a larger panel would be the sun does not shine to charge the battery backup.
better to be able to fill up the battery more quickly following time • We would also be completely discharging the battery every
with low sun. day, which we said earlier is very bad for the battery.

This example was for a DC system, with no inverter. A charge So, we have to size the battery with these two considerations in
controller is quite efficient in passing through electricity, but the mind:
inverter does incur losses. If an inverter is in the system, we will
have to add another loss factor. Inverters are typically 85% to Days with no sunshine
90% efficient. So, with an inverter in the system, the panel and
the battery would need to be even larger. We have to make some kind of guess as to how many days we
want to keep the system working with no sun. One day is
obviously not enough. But, if we try to make it too long, the

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battery gets too big and expensive. Changing the days without sun, and the allowable depth of
discharge can make a big difference in the size of the battery.
Often, we use three days as a good design range for providing
for power with no sun. So, to provide for three days of no sun, For example, if we said we only needed to provide for two days
we would need the battery to store: with no sun, and we could discharge the battery to 55%, then
the battery size would be:
271 watt-hrs needed per day x 3 days with no sun = 813 watt-
hrs 230 watt-hours / 0.85 for battery loss = 271 watt-hrs
271 watt-hours x 2 days with no sun = 542 watt-hrs
Prevent the battery from discharging more than 542 watt-hours / .55 for depth of discharge = 985 watt-hrs
50% 985 watt-hours / 12V = 82 Amp hours

The above sized battery would still have us completely So, we need to understand what size of battery we are providing
discharging the battery during those times when there is no sun when we size, and purchase a battery. It might be necessary for
for three days. We said earlier that we did not want to discharge cost or portability, in this case to purchase the smaller battery.
the battery any further than half. So, we would need to have a But, we need to know that we are giving up the one day of
battery that would hold twice as many watt hours as we need. energy without sun when we make that decision.

813 watt-hrs x 2 for depth of discharge = 1626 watt-hrs

12.0 System Installation
So, we actually took our daily watt-hour requirement and
multiplied it by 6. This was three times larger for the days with The best designed solar power system will not perform well if it
no sun, and two times larger for the depth of discharge reasons. is not properly installed. Care must be given to the proper
installation of all of the items included in the system.

12.1 Connecting Solar Panels in Parallel and


There are two ways to connect Solar Panels and batteries:

Batteries however are not sold in Watt Hours, but are rather sold series and parallel. When connecting in series the voltage is
in Amp Hours therefore we have to do more mathematics to added and the amperage stays the same. When connecting in
figure out how many Amp hours we need. Usually batteries are parallel the voltage stays the same and the amperage is added.
12 Volts using the below formula we can find out amp hours.
The below examples are for solar panels; however batteries can
Watt-Hours/Volts = Amp Hours be connected in the same way too.

1626 watt-hours/12 volts = 136 Amp hours

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12.2 Installation of the Solar Panel

Aiming or Orientation
The earlier sections on design showed that to get the maximum
output from the panel, it needs to be oriented to the sun properly.
The panel should mount on an angle approximately equal to the
latitude of the area, and pointing to the equator. There are also
mentions of the correct tilt angle in the system user manual.

(If you are in the southern hemisphere, aim the panel to the
north, and if you are in the northern hemisphere, aim the panel
to the south.)

So, for example, Bangalore is at about 13 degrees north of the

equator, so the proper orientation for the panel would be to tilt
the panel at 10 to 15 degrees, aimed south, toward the equator.
If you are very close to the equator, then the latitude is close to
0 degrees. In these areas, the optimum angle for maximum
power might be flat, but it is still good to tilt the panel 5 or 10
degrees to let the rain and due help to keep the panel free of
dust and dirt.

12.3 Shading

If any portion of the panel is shaded at any time during the day,
its power output will be significantly reduced. Quite often,
panels are installed where there is no shading, but since trees
and bushes grow quickly in some areas, they become shaded,
so this needs to be considered during installation, maintenance
and proper customer education.

24V at 7A [added in both series and paralleel]

NOTE: Remember – You cannot connect different types of

panels or Batteries in series or parallel.

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12.4 Sturdiness of the installation

The panel must be installed on sturdy mountings so that its

orientation will stay as originally designed, and so it will not be
subject to being knocked or the direction will not change due to
heavy wind.

Many times, it is required to mount the panel on the roof. This

Shadow from parapet or wall in the front of the panel.
should only be done if the roof is sturdy and is aiming in the right
direction. If this is not the case, it would be better to mount the
panel on its own supports.

An improperly mounted module can break or fall; this is more

likely during rainy seasons and under heavy wind conditions.
Shadow cast from one array over the other due to less spacing
Too much a security by covering or fencing can lead to shadow
between each array
and loss of power.

Over growth of bushes and shrubs after installation of the


Available shadow free area to be accessed before installation.

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12.5 Cabling from the Panel to the Controller should be neat, and fastened securely in all locations. This
makes checking and fault finding much easier, and avoids
The cabling from the Panel to the Controller should be sized problems of connections being hung on the wiring.
large enough, and kept as short as possible, and located where The wiring needs to be large enough to avoid voltage drops.
it will not be a hazard or be pulled down. At the panel location Strain relief should be provided at all points where the wiring is
and at the building location, secure the cable tightly so that terminated to avoid tension on the connection.
there is no tension being placed on the junction box of the panel. All terminations should be made with proper connection
There are no sharp edges where the cable enters the building. equipment (wire nuts or terminal strips). Try to avoid just
stripping, twisting, and taping for connections, as this leads to
12.6 Controller Installation early failures and energy loss.

The controller needs to be mounted in a location where there is

not a lot of activity, to avoid the possibility of being knocked into
12.8 Load Connection
by carried items. It needs to be mounted securely to the wall, in
All wiring to loads must be connected through the charge
a place where the cables coming into it and going out of it can
controller. No wires should be terminated on the battery except
be secured independently to the building.
for the wires going to the charge controller. If loads are
connected directly to the battery, then these loads are not
12.7 Installation of the Battery
disconnected when the battery low happens to protect the
battery, and the battery will fail prematurely.
The battery needs to be close to the controller to limit the length
of the wire, and reduce the losses in this cable. It should be
preferably in a non-metallic battery box (plastic) vented to the
air and covered so nothing metal can be placed on top of the
13.0 Installation Sequence
battery. If metallic box is used, Proper rust prevention coating or
1. Connect battery to regulator first
paint must be used with a vent at the bottom of the box too so
2. Check if the load output voltage is present
that any spillage may come out of the battery box. Use
3. Connect the array wire
recommended or supplied battery box with the product.
4. Check if array on indication is present
5. Measure array current
12.8 Wiring Installation
6. Switch off load if it is already on
7. Connect the load
The battery needs to be close to the controller to limit the length
8. Switch on and confirm operation
of the wire, and reduce the losses in this cable. It should be
preferably in a non-metallic battery box (plastic) vented to the
air and covered so nothing metal can be placed on top of the
13.1 Post installation checks
battery. If metallic box is used, Proper rust prevention coating or
1. Check all fasteners are fully tight
paint must be used with a vent at the bottom of the box too so
2. Check battery specific gravity in all cells and note down.
that any spillage may come out of the battery box. Use
3. check battery voltage at the end of initial charge
recommended or supplied battery box with the product. Wiring

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4. Check load voltage at regulator

5. Check load voltage at load point.
6. Ensure battery cables are short and tight
7. Have you applied petroleum jelly to battery terminals?

13.2 Common mistakes in installation

1. Modules in partial shadow 13.3 Tools and measuring equipments

2. Array cable too long
3. Loads not distributed properly A proper installation can be done only with proper tools and

4. Battery initial charging not done properly implements as well as proper measuring equipments. Below are

5. Battery cable too thin to handle current. the lists of tools that are required.

6. Battery filling not proper

7. Loose contacts in connections. Tools also require proper maintenance as these will get damaged

8. Acid spillage on battery box and floor or worn out during normal use.

9. Module tilt angle not maintained properly

10. Module mounting not proper.
11. Load cables too long – high voltage drop
12. System sizing not proper

1. Compass to confirm direction

2. Screwdriver set consisting of all standard sizes
3. Spanners from size 6 to 24
4. Hydrometer to measure battery specific gravity
5. Multimeter for electrical measurements
6. Measuring tape
7. Allen key used in battery box
8. Cutting plier for cutting cables
9. Long nose plier to pull and hold cables
10. Hammer
11. Marker pen
12. AC line tester
13. ACDC Clamp on ammeter to measure current
14. Drilling machine
15. Crimping tool

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14 Troubleshooting the same current as new module.

3. No output voltage- There is a disconnection of the internal
If the problem is with the a part of equipment still under connection of the panel. Both the bypass diodes are shorted.
warranty, such as the controller or solar panel, then the proper
procedure may be to follow the guidelines laid out by TPSSL for 14.2 Battery troubleshooting
notification to us of the problem so that we can make
arrangements to fix the equipment or provide replacement Battery Testing can be done in more than one way. The most
equipment. popular is measurement of specific gravity and battery voltage

State of battery Specific Gravity Voltage

For a solar power system to operate properly, all of its parts
12V 6V
need to be working well. When we find out “lights don’t turn
100% 1.245 12.7 6.3
ON”, the problem could be in any one of the parts of the system.
75% 1.230 12.4 6.2
The first thing is to find out where the problem is. Start with the 50% 1.190 12.2 6.1
simple things to check. 25% 1.155 12.0 6.0
Discharged 1.120 11.9 6.0
First, there are indicating lights on the controller equipment that
will help show where the problem is. Check these first. Sulphation of Batteries starts when specific gravity falls below
1.225 or voltage measures less than 12.4 (12v Battery) or 6.2 (6
For example a battery low indication, check why the battery is volt battery). Sulphation hardens the battery plates reducing
low. Or if everything looks like it is working and the light does and eventually destroying the ability of the battery to generate
not come on, check the lamp – it could be broken or burned out current.
or the inverter of the lamp has failed.
“ Battery problem are to be tested only after the terminals are
14.1 Fault finding in a solar module cleaned and all connection inspected. If you suspect the
connection do replace contacts and terminals before connecting”
1. Check Voc and Isc by disconnecting from the rest of the
circuit. Battery attains full voltage very fast and regulator disconnects
2. Confirm and compare values from the back label or data array, but specific gravity does not build up……..
sheet of the module.
1. Remedy: Charge the battery at a much slower rate. Recharge
Possible defects: the battery using a battery charger. The charging current may
1. Low voltage / Half voltage – One of the bypass diode in the JB increase very gradually and the cell voltage will drop. As the Sp
is short circuited. Remove diode and measure / replace if gravity picks up the voltage also will pick up. This process may
defective. take several days after an appreciable Sp. gravity.
2. Voltage is good , Low current- Check how clean the module
is, Clean and recheck under bright sunshine. Check the 2. One more likely reason for the above fault could be a higher
connections in the JB, check for corrosion in the connections charging current than what the battery can accept. This can be
coming from the laminate. A very old module will not produce solved by reducing the charging current.

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3. Age of a battery also can lead to this problem, in which case 24V battery powered unit- working window - 21V to 30V
a battery needs to be replaced and defective battery to be
recycled properly Array ON indication is glowing, but no charging current:

One or two cells show low specific gravity: 1. Check array voltage at A+ and A- Terminal of the controller.
1. This problem is more likely due to improper initial charging. 2. If it is between 17 to 20V for a 12V system, the charging
While the battery has been initially filled the acid concentration section is not probably working, Check the connections to the
could have varied from cell to cell due to stratification. This power device or relay in the controller.
normally happens in very large batteries.
3. If it is correct, Check continuity in the wires of both A+ and
2. Improper usage and battery kept on excessive usage with A- to ascertain that power flow is possible to the power card or
improper charging for long time. Due to sulphation the cells are relay card.
unable to produce power and also react back to produce acid.
4. If the array voltage is 1V above the battery voltage, then
3. Internal short circuit of cell due to entry of foreign materials probably the indicator has failed or LED is defective.
and impurities can also be the reason.
5. Check charging current is available by measuring using an
4. Most likely the battery can be revived by slow charging using ammeter.
a battery charger; however cell short circuits can be rectified by
manufacturer only. No load voltage:

14.3 Solar charge controller Likely reason for this symptom can be many.

Solar charge controllers are the central part of the solar PV 1. Low battery voltage – Battery voltage is lower than the
system and hence handle all the power flow in the system. The reconnect voltage of the regulator.
battery charging and discharge is controlled by this unit.
2. Power device failure in load side. (this can be a failure in
Before checking it is very important to ensure that all connections MOSFET or relay)
to and from the unit are in place with the correct polarity.
Protections circuits like fuse and circuit breakers are in proper 3. Defective output fuse.
condition and are ON. Reversal of polarity in DC supply can be
fatal and catastrophic. 4. Wrong settings in the control card.

Before checking charger one should have a fair idea of what the 5. Loose contact in the load output terminal.
working voltage of the charge controller is. This can be
ascertained by the following: 6. Defective PCB and control parts.
12V battery powered unit - working window - 10.5V to 15V

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Premature battery low trip:

1. Wrong lower cut off settings.

2. Temperature compensation circuit not working properly.
3. Loose contact in the battery terminal.
4. Battery cable too long
5. Battery cable too thin to handle current and due to which
excessive voltage drop.
6. Defective battery
7. Defective PCB

Array On indication flickering:

1. Loose contact in the battery terminals or wire connection

2. Defective battery.

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Unlike the solar PV panels, the solar Thermal systems use the
heat energy of the sun. Sun radiates heat and light continuously.
We can trap the sunlight to either generate heat or use it to
generate electricity.

Principle of operation

Heat transfer occurs in three ways, Conduction, Convection and

1. Heat absorption /collection
Radiation. Conduction happens in solids, while convection
2. Heat conduction / heat transfer
happens in liquids and gases, when heat transfers in space or in
3. Heat storage (Insulation)
vacuum it is radiation, this is how we get heat from the Sun.

The basic principle of heat absorption is by the black body

System Components

System components:
Absorption and Emission
1. Solar collector or Evacuated tube
2. Solar Hot water tank (Insulated)
When a material absorbs all the incident sunlight it looks black.
3. Piping and accessories

There are two types of solar collectors, one called a flat plate
collector and the other an evacuated tube collector. The collector
serves to collect the solar thermal radiation or heat. The collector
is filled with water from the solar tank which heat as the collector

The water that is heated by the collector has to be stored so that

the user has hot water round the clock. This is done by an
insulated storage tank which is placed alongside the collector.
The interconnecting pipes help the hot water to circulate from
and to the tank.

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Mineral wool – Mineral wool is used in solar collector, The

temperature of the collector can go as high as 350deg C. So
PUF cannot be used as it can burn. Glass wool is not used in
TPSSL systems.

Various insulating materials used in PUF-Polyurethane foam is used in all our solar tanks.
solar thermal system

ENF – Elastomeric nitrile foam is used for insulating hot water

Technology Mix

Flat Plate Collector

1. Made of copper tubes & copper raisers
2. Absorber is coated with “NALSUN” Coating
3. High transmitivity , low iron , textured glass
4. Glazing for superior performance
5. Collector area – 2Sq.m for every 100 Its
6. Collector Complies to BIS Code IS – 12933

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7. Ideal for warm climates & Industrial application Evacuated tube collectors

Evacuated Tube Collector

1. Made of Borosilicate Twin layer tube
2. Inner tube is coated with selective coating
3. 47 Diameter tube x 15 tubes per 100 ltrs
4. Space between the Inner & outer tube is Insulated with air
5. Ideal for cold climate & hard water application

Key components of a
solar water heating system

Solar Flate Plate Collector/Evacuated Tube Collector is the active

element which absorbs the solar energy and heats the water

Solar water can heat the water from ambiet temprature of 25 C
to 60 C

Each FPC/ETC saves 4 units of electricity per day

Collectors come with 5 years warranty

Storage tank is used to store the hot water and to retain the heat

The inner tank can be made from various materials such as

stainless steel [SS304], Enginnered Polymer, Mild steel with
glass lining for inner tank for corrosion prevention

Metal tanks are fitted with sacrificial anode for protection

against galvanic corrosion

Tank comes with 5 years warranty


Absorbers are made from thin copper sheets welded to a copper

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tube that carry the hot water. There are 9 such fins in a standard to the header. From the header the water rises to the storage
collector. tank.

Cold water from the storage enters from the bottom header and
gets heated and rises again and the process continues.

Since during cloudy days water heating would be lower an

electrical coil is given to heat externally.

Corrosion inside the tank is reduced considerably by having a

sacrificial anode made of aluminum which reacts with the salts
in the water.

Collector components

Collectors are flat plates which collect the sunlight and convert
them into heat and consists of:
1. copper tubes called risers
2. copper fins
3. headers
Requirements for installation
4. frame
5. black insulation
1. Water hardness is <300 ppm
2. Shadow free area between 9 AM and 5 PM for fixing collectors
facing south.
3. Overhead tank that is 100mm over the
4. Storage tank level but not greater than 10feet
5. Overhead tank whose capacity is more than twice the
capacity of the storage tank
6. Usage point as close to the system as possible
7. Well insulated piping
Principle of operation
Important installation points
Copper collector fins absorb the sunlight and get heated up.
Copper riser tubes in turn get heated up and the water inside it. 1. Collector should be inclined at the angle specific to the place.
As the water in the riser gets heated, becomes lighter and rises 2. Storage tank should be kept close and just behind the

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collector Solar thermal specific tools

3. Water from OHT to be brought down to the floor level before
fed to the storage tank 1. Pipe wrench
4. There should be a vent pipe very close to the outlet of storage 2. Adjustable wrench
tank and should be above the over head tank top level 3. Drilling machine
5. The usage point is to be as close to the system as possible 4. Screw driver set
6. The hose connecting the Storage tank and the collector 5. Spanner set
should be short and should have a very smooth bend 6. Temp gauge | Electronic hand held | Dial type
7. Pressure gauge
8. Flow meter
Maintenance 9. Water hardness testing kit

1. Check for any leakage of water any where

2. Clean the glass
3. Close the inlet and drain the water in the collector to remove
any dust accumulation
4. Replace sacrificial anode once in a year
5. Inspect if there are any shadowing of panels due to new
structure coming up or growth of nearby tree.
6. Check if the vent at the outlet is clear

Sacrificial Anode

Electrochemicals are formed when two different metals are

dipped in an electrolyte. The metal with the lower atomic
Installation Basics
number becomes anode. The cathode has more number of
Before installation, determine the correct angle of installation
electrons hence cathode or negatively charged. All reactions
and direction. The direction of angle and installation is very
take place with the metal that is anode. The anode, thus,
important and will determine the effectiveness of the solar
protects the cathodic metal (SS tank) from reaction to chemicals
collector. If your system is in the northern hemisphere your
and protects from rusting at weld joints and other vulnerable
collector should point south and it should point north if it is in
points. The sacrificial anode must be in electrical contact with
the southern hemisphere.
the metal to be protected and has to be inspected and replaced
The angle at which you mount your collector should correspond

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to the latitude of your site or as specified by the system stand WATER HARDNESS SCALE
inclination Grains/Gal mg/L & ppm Classification
Less than 1 Less than 17.1 Soft
1-3.5 17.1-60 Slightly hard
3.5-7 60-120 Moderately hard
7-10 120-180 Hard
Over 10 Over 180 Very hard

Water quality and its effects

Hard water leads to corrosion of weld joints and also scaling of

the collector and pipe, Thereby rendering the system useless.
Site survey specific to thermal systems Hardness also forms scale on the heater coil and damages the
1. Estimate the overall hot water requirement by the customer.
2. Check if the roof is flat and that installation can be done
3. Check if adequate space is available after installation for
service personal to work.
4. Note obstructions such as chimneys, antennae, satellite
dishes etc.
5. Consider the weight bearing capacity of the roof.
6. Note any trees (approximate distance and height) , to evaluate
the possibility of casting a shadow.
7. Note any overhead lines (electricity and telephones and
associated poles or towers), consider safety during installation
and usage.
8. Note other shading such as building projections, windows,
9. Assess suitability of current cold water storage tank
10. Check the chemical composition of water that is being used
11.Recommend suitable system if the water is hard
12. Check the pH value of the water being used

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Water quality and thermal systems Usage point:

The distance between the user points and the system location

Recommended water conditions at usage point for our range of has to be minimum, to ensure adequate hot water to customer.

systems A large user line can significantly reduce hot water output and
loss of temperature.

Model Total Chlorides Flouride

hardness in ppm content in Cold water pressure:
in ppm ppm Check the cold water inlet pressure it should be 1kg/m3 for
Duro 1500 600 4 standard system and 3 to 5kg for a pressurized system.
Duro Plus 600 300 2
Ultima 600 300 2
Hot water usage:
Zing 600 300 2
The requirement of hot water in terms of number of persons or
Vajra Plus 600 300 2
liters per day has to be calculated to ensure proper usage.

1. Always ensure that the cold water line is tapped from the over
Installation tips for
head tank separately and not from the existing utility line. This
solar thermal Systems
will ensure reverse flow is prevented during high demand in
utility line.
Over head tank height:
2. Always bring the system cold water line to the terrace level
The over head tank bottom level should be at least 1feet above
before taking it to the system tank.
the top height of the system tank and this is a must for proper
3. Always install an air vent as close to the system outlet as
working of the system. The overhead tank height should not
exceed 12feet for a non pressurized system.
4. Ensure that the cold water tank is well within 10feet height
and also support the air vent when the height is more.
5. Ensure that the hose pipes connecting the tank to collector
have a smooth bend and is not sagging
6. Ensure that the customer is aware of mixer taps and its
functions always check if cold water is getting mixed with hot
water in the mixer taps.
7. Use only recommended pipe size for hot water external piping.
8. Ensure proper insulation of complete hot water piping.
9. External piping should not exceed 10 mtr. / 30 feet. If this
exceeds, the system output will be reduced on account of
Tank location:
increased heat losses in the pipe line.
The solar hot water tank has to be placed behind the collectors
10. Grouting of the system is mandatory.
and not in any other side; this ensures that the shadow of the
11. Immediately after installation, system must be filled with
tank does not fall on the collectors during any part of the day
water. Otherwise, in case of heavy wind, system may topple.
and year.
12. Do not let water into the system when it is very hot. Tank and

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ETC tubes can get damaged due to sudden entry of cold water. Importance of air vent

Solar water heater sizing 1. Height of air vent - need to tie using guy wire
2. When the air vent is very tall [more than 5 feet] the air vent
Some useful thumb rules must be securely tied in all direction to prevent oscillation during
heavy wind and when birds sit on it
Capacity Number Number of Number of 3. This will ensure that the tank hot water outlet collar is safe
(in litres) of people bathrooms kitchens
from breakage
100 2-3 1 1
4. System without air vent would result in shrinking of the tank
200 4-8 2 1
300 8-10 3 2
500 10-12 4 3

Too big a system can lead to very high temperature hot water
and can reduce the system life. Scaling of hot water pipes and
the collector would also render the system useless after
prolonged non-usage.

Too small a system would underperform and would not serve

the purpose. System must be adequately sized, considering the
number of usage points and the hot water pipe length.

Civil grouting of the system tank stand

and collector

During onset of monsoon and in windy climates, the solar water

can fall off the roof or even get damaged. System has to be
properly grouted to the roof top to prevent toppling. Please refer
to the user manual for grouting specifications. Also note that the
systems warrantee is void if the unit is not grouted.

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Air release valve in non pressurized


1. Air release valve should not be used in any non pressurized

system as they will not work when there is no proper pressure
to operate, creating vacuum in the tank and the tank collapses.
2. Any system that uses ARV and fails cannot be covered in our
standard warranty terms.

1. While commissioning cold water should be allowed into the

Pressurized Vs Non Pressurized
tank only when the system is cool (i.e. before 7AM or after 6PM
1. Pressurized systems are required when the inlet pressure is
2. When the system is not in use for more than 3 days, drain out
more than 1kg/m3 or when the over head tank is very tall or the
the water from the tank and cover the EVT collectors with thick
customer is intending to use it with a pressure booster pump.
2. However, the system circulation works with normal thermo
3. The system should not be kept in the open atmosphere
siphon and should be installed with the same set up supplied.
without water loaded since hot air may damage the internal part
3. Do not change the collector positions or placement. The tanl
of the system
should always be above the collector top level and the hose
4. The system should not be fitted with vent pipe only. Fixing
pipes should have a smooth blend.
system with air release valve shall lead to system collapse
4. Non pressurized system must be installed with an air vent
5. The system should be fitted with NRV (non return valve) at
and will fail if used with an ARV. The air vent cannot be more
hot water outlet to avoid hot water overflow from float chamber
than 10 feet tall.

Thermal system servicing

Duro system
Correct installation procedure
Not enough hot water: (low temperature)
1. Poor Sunshine
Possible cause for leakage:
2. Collector is in shade or surface not clean
1. Hose pipe clamped at the taper portion of the tank outlet
3. Excessive or night usage
2. Hose clamp not tightened properly
4. System is not clean
3. Harline cracks in the hose pipe
5. Leakage in system piping
6. Defective mixer valves.
Corrective acton:
7. Scale formation due to hard water in the collector
1. Please refer the sketch below for proper procedure for hose
8. ETC Tubes vacuum is lost or inner tube is cracked.
pipe location
2. Replace with new hose clamp and tighten properly
3. Replace with new connecting hose pipe

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1. Check system in bright sunshine for heating

2. Remove possible shade by shifting the system
3. Educate customer on night usage
4. Clean the collector glass with mild soap
5. Check and arrest any hot water leakage
6. Check mixer vales for defects
7. Open collector and check for water flow and scaling.
8. Check the bottom of the tube for silver color, if it is white,
replace the tube

No water flow from system:

1. Check water in over head tank
2. Check blockage in NRV at the input of the solar tank
3. Check the flow water from the outlet of the tank
4. Check blockage in hot water pipe line

Collector is very hot but water is not getting heated:

1. No circulation of hot water from tank to collector
2. The hot water hose pipe is blocked
3. There is no smooth bend in Hot water hose or is sagging
4. Scale formation in collector due to hard water

Pressure and Temperature control valve opens up:

1. Customer is not using the system due to which high Suggestions / feedback may please be forwarded to :
temperature if formed in the system
2. Heater coil is ON without thermostat control
3. Very high input pressure. Check booster pump pressure Hari Melath
settings Sr. Executive – Training and Education
4. Water is flowing out from Air vent Tata Power Solar Systems Ltd.
5. Check air vent height, it should be one feet above the top level Bangalore -100
of OHT
6. Temperature inside the tank is too high; Steam is escaping
from the air vent Thank you

Hot water tank has shrunk:

1. Air vent is blocked or not installed
2. Air release valve is defective
3. Air release valve is blocked due to scaling

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