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Diesel Generator – Solar PV Hybrid Solution

The importance of Diesel Generator-Solar integration came to the fore when the diesel generator started tripping / failing or had caused solar inverters to trip, during power shutdown. This situation happens when the DG is turned on during power shutdown and Rooftop Solar producing surplus power concurrently. The nature of electricity is such that power flows bi-directionally, so, in this case of DG on and Solar on, surplus power from rooftop solar goes back to the source, that is, DG. Unlike Grid, DG neither stores power nor transports it to other buildings. Hence rise of DG-Solar integration. If power failure occurs often, diesel consumption and price increase. With integrated solution, such hybrid systems provide continuous power and save money. Here’s what you need to know about On-Grid Diesel-Solar PV hybrids:

  • They are connected to the grid and therefore in case of sudden increase in peak usage, the system draws power from the grid (when it is ON).
  • They do not use any batteries, hence have lower capital costs.
  • Requires a controller which acts as the brain of the system.
  • The discontinuous use of the diesel gensets (when the grid is ON) helps conserve fuel.
  • Short payback period.
  • Quiet operation and mostly maintenance free.

Diesel-PV Integration    Source: SMA

As seen above, the PV system and Diesel gensets are connected to the grid. If there is a decrease in the energy production of the PV system, the diesel generator provides the additional power. The controller curtails the production of power from the PV in order to allow the minimum load condition for the efficient operation of the diesel genset to be met. This reduces the amount of fuel consumed, in turn, saves money and improves the life and efficiency of the diesel genset.

This integrated system like any other has its drawbacks. They are,

  • Higher penetration of Solar is not possible.
  • Not effective for use when the load is low.

As it can be observed, the pros outweigh the cons. The hybrid systems are gaining popularity due to their effective operation and short payback periods. Due to the economical use of fuel, the use of such a results in effective use of both solar and diesel. This also results in a reduced carbon footprint, therefore, contributing to improving environment.

Various governments are providing incentives to the people to install solar power plants in their homes by enacting schemes. These schemes are aimed at supporting people install rooftop solar power by providing subsidy. Loans are offered by National banks for the installation of the Rooftop solar power systems. This combined with the rising popularity of solar power has motivated people to install hybrid (integrated DG-Solar PV) systems in residential communities, industries and institutions.