Cost of solar system | Cost of Solar Panels | Maintenance Cost

Cost of solar system | Cost of Solar Panels | Maintenance Cost
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The cost of solar system depends on the type and brand of solar panels used for installation (monocrystalline, polycrystalline) and type of installation (shed mounted, ground mounted, RCC mounted). In this article we will see the average installation cost of solar power system, average cost of solar panels and average maintenance cost of solar system.

The cost of installation of solar system depends on the type of solar system, size of solar system and the type of roof on which solar panels is to be installed.

The 2019 – 2020 MNRE benchmark cost for installing solar on grid system in India is between Rs 53,000 / kW to Rs 60,000 / kW. The price varies on the size of the system.

To give you a rough idea if a 5 kW solar on grid system is installed on a metal roof then the overall system cost will be around Rs 3,00,000 (Rs 60,000 / kW). The price will be high if you go for international brand solar panels or the latest technology like PERC, bifacial.

Cost of Solar on grid system:

how-solar-ongrid-system-works-rooftop-infographics
Solar On Grid System Working Courtesy – Vikram Solar

In brief, a solar on grid system is a grid tied solar system which allows you to export the excess electricity generated by your solar during the day to the utility grid and import the electricity from the utility grid at night.

You can import as much electricity as you want and at the end of the month you will get electricity bill based on the difference between your import and export of electricity.

If your export is more than the import, then you will not get any electricity bill for that month. If your import is more than the export, then you will be charged for the extra units of electricity you have imported.

Every year MNRE (Ministry of New & Renewable Energy) releases benchmark cost for installation of solar in India. The prices which I have quoted are the benchmark cost set by MNRE for the year 2019 – 2020.

MNRE Benchmark Cost For Solar On Grid System in India:

Solar System Size (kW)Cost (Rs / kW)
Above 1 kW – 10 kWRs 54,000 / kW
Above 10 kW – 100 kW Rs 48,000 / kW
Above 100 kW – 500 kW Rs 45,000 / kW

Note: The above pricing is benchmark cost set by MNRE, I work in the solar industry and have installed several solar on grid systems, the actual pricing goes up Rs 4,000/kW to Rs 10,000/kW for smaller systems (< 20 kW) and for larger system (> 100 kW) it generally comes down by Rs 2,000/kW to 5,000/kW. The prices totally depend on the quality of components you use.

You can download the MNRE benchmark cost for 2019 – 2020 from here – http://164.100.77.194/img/documents/uploads/2a4e2c9c7c6a47b098255d07fd752264.pdf

Cost of solar off grid system:

off-grid-solar-system
Solar Off Grid System Working

In brief, off grid solar system as the name suggests is a standalone solar system not connected to the electricity grid. In an off grid solar system the energy generated by solar panels is stored in the batteries, whenever there is power requirement the stored electricity is pulled from the batteries to power critical loads.

MNRE Benchmark Cost For Solar Off Grid System Up to 10 kW:

  • 1 hour backup Rs 62,000/kW – Rs 68,000/kW.
  • 3 hour backup Rs 74,000/kW – Rs 81,000/kW.
  • 6 hour backup Rs 94,000/kW – Rs 1,03,000/kW.

MNRE Benchmark Cost For Solar Off Grid System Above 10 kW Up to 25 kW:

  • 1 hour backup Rs 55,000/kW – Rs 60,000/kW.
  • 3 hour backup Rs 66,000/kW – Rs 72,000/kW.
  • 6 hour backup Rs 84,000/kW – Rs 92,000/kW.

Note: These are prices given by MNRE for a standard type of installation with standard equipment’s, if your solar panels installation has elevation, quality of equipment is top notch the prices will go up by Rs 5,000/kW – Rs 10,000/kW.

Factors affecting cost of solar power system:

The overall cost of installing a solar system depends on the following factors:

  1. Types of solar panel: Using monocrystalline solar panels for solar system will increase the cost of the system as monocrystalline solar panels are more expensive than polycrystalline solar panels.
  2. Type of installation: Installing solar panels on an existing metal shed is cheaper than installing on RCC with elevation. The more elevation you do, the more is the cost of the system.
  3. Quality of material: If you go for premium solar panels brands then cost of the system will be high. If you go with cheaper brands you might save 5 % – 10 % upfront, but the generation will be less and in long term you will lose more from it than gain.
  4. Size of the system: Smaller the system size, larger is the per kilowatt price. Per kilowatt cost of 1 kW solar system will be Rs 80,000 / kW, but for a 100 kW system the per kilowatt cost will be between Rs 45,000 /kW to Rs 55,000 /kW.

Average cost of solar panels in India:

Cost of solar panels depends on the type of solar panels, wattage of solar panels and brand of solar panels.

Today most of the solar panels used around the world for residential and industrial projects are either polycrystalline solar panels or monocrystalline solar panels.

Average Cost of Polycrystalline solar panels in India:

For premium brands like Vikram, REC, Renewsys, Waaree the prices of polycrystalline solar panels vary from Rs 19 / watt to Rs 30 / watt.

The following table summarizes the cost of above 330 watts polycrystalline solar panels in India. I have only considered the cost of only Tier 1 solar panels.

Solar Panels BrandCost of Solar Panel (Rs / Watt)
Vikram Solar PanelsRs 20 / Watt to Rs 25 / Watt
Waaree Solar PanelsRs 19 / Watt to Rs 24 / Watt
Renewsys Solar PanelsRs 19 / Watt to Rs 24 / Watt
Canadian Solar PanelsRs 25 / Watt to Rs 30 / Watt
REC Solar PanelsRs 25 / Watt to Rs 32 / Watt

Note: The prices may go up and down depending on the availability in stock. The cost will also vary for bigger solar panels like 380 watt, 400 watt.

Average cost of monocrystalline solar panels in India:

monocrystalline-solar-panels
Cost of Monocrystalline Solar Panels – Courtesy – IndiaMart

For premium international brands like Panasonic, REC, Longi, Trina the prices of monocrystalline solar panels drastically vary from Rs 32 / watt to Rs 50 / watt.

Since monocrystalline solar panels are not as much used as polycrystalline solar panels in India their prices vary drastically due to low availability.

Average maintenance cost of solar power system:

If you are planning to install a solar on grid system then maintenance cost is negligible because it’s a battery free system and all other components like solar panels, solar inverter, distribution boxes, AC, DC cable easily work for 15 – 20 years without much maintenance.

In maintenance you will have to do periodic cleaning of your solar panels as dust forms a layer on top of your solar panels and doesn’t allow sunlight to hit the solar cells, which results in diminished generation of electricity.

You can do the cleaning yourself or give the maintenance and cleaning to an EPC contractor. In India, the average maintenance cost of solar on grid system is as follows.

Solar System Size Maintenance + Cleaning Cost
1 kW – 10 kWRs 2,000 / kW – Rs 3,000 / kW
11 kW – 30 kWRs 1,500 / kW – Rs 2,000 / kW
30 kW – 50 kWRs 1,000 / kW – Rs 1,500 / kW

I have contacted several EPC contractors in Mumbai to get the above average maintenance cost for solar system.

However if you are planning to install a solar off grid system then your maintenance cost will be high as solar off grid system have batteries. Every battery has to be replaced in 3 – 5 years because, with time batteries lose their storage capacity (depth of discharge decrease) and their rate of discharge increases.

To give you a rough idea tubular solar batteries from Exide cost around Rs 18,000 per piece. So if you have 4 such batteries in your system then cost of replacing it will be close to Rs 70,000.

Conclusion:

The overall cost of solar system depends on type of solar system to be installed and the type of structure on which it is to be installed.

The MNRE benchmark cost for solar on grid system (2019 – 2020) is between Rs 53,000 / kW to Rs 60,000 / kW.

The cost of polycrystalline solar panels in India is between Rs 19 / watt to Rs 25 / Watt.

The maintenance cost of solar system is between Rs 1,000 / kW to Rs 3,000 / kW. The larger the system, smaller is the per kilowatt price and vice versa.

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