Solar Panels work on the phenomenon called the Photoelectric Effect to produce electricity. Solar Panels are nothing but blocks of specially designed semiconducting material which produce a small amount of electricity when light falls on them. This small amount of electricity is produced in a large number of solar panels (Solar Arrays) to produce electricity for everyday consumption.
A Solar PV System can easily last from 20 to 25 years and can even work for a longer period if maintained properly.
A Solar PV System requires very minimal maintenance from the owner and is very easy to maintain. Regular cleaning of the Solar Arrays should be ensured so that the system works at its full efficiency and occasional checks should be done to ensure that there is no shading over the Solar Array because of any obstruction. The components of the system except the Solar Arrays have to be kept in a shaded area. These small steps can result in a healthier and longer life span of your Solar PV System.
A Solar PV System doesn’t require direct sunlight to be able to work, though direct sunlight gives the maximum efficiency. The system continues to work even during the overcast conditions but the efficiencies are going to be reduced to some extent. The efficiency generally reduces to the 70% during an overcast day. But in a place like India which receives more than 300 sunny days per year overcast conditions is not a major concern.
It is mandatory for a Solar PV Setup to have a shade free area all the time of the day. The most important factor on which the area of a Solar PV System depends is the Panel Efficiency. Generally, a Solar Panel with 15% efficiency requires 100 Sq. Ft. of shade free roof area.
Shading has a very large impact on the performance of a Solar PV System. Since a Solar Panel is made of large number of Solar Cells, shading on a small part of it can have a knock-on effect as the energy produced by the rest of the Solar Panel may be consumed by the part which is under the shade. Therefore, it is mandatory to install the system in a shade free area.
Net Metering is a policy that allows the unused power produced by the Solar PV System to be fed to the Grid to which the system is tied to0. This allows the system owner to get concessions on his electricity bills as the amount for units fed to the grid will be deducted from the amount of units actually consumed by the owner and the billing will only be done for that part of the units.