Frequently Asked Questions

To help you navigate the world of solar

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General

1-How do solar photovoltaic panels (PVs) work?

Solar panels absorb the sun's energy throughout the day and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity.

2-How do I use the generated DC electricity at homeor business where most appliances run on AC?

An inverter is an integral part of the system. It converts DC to AC electricity.

3-Do my solar panels produce power when the sun isn’t shining?

The quantity of electricity your PV system generates is dependent on available sunlight. If there is a need for electricity at night you can either use grid electricity or a battery back-up based on your location and preference.

4-Will I still have to pay an electric bill?

Unless you go completely off-grid by adding storage to the system, you will still receive monthly electric bills. However, you can significantly decrease your electric bills by installing a PV system that is optimum for your location and consumption.

5-Do solar panels work in case of a blackout?

If your system is on-grid, then the inverter will automatically shut down in case of a blackout to protect the system. In case of an off-grid system, then a blackout is irrelevant to the system’s performance.

6-What if I want to have electricity when there is a grid black-out?

You will need back-up batteries. This addition to the system is costly. An accurate estimate of the needed back-up power is crucial.

Homes/Business

7-What makes net-metering appealing?

If you install a net-metering solution you only pay for electricity used beyond the amount produced by the panels in the solution. This payment is done on a monthly basis. If by the end of the year the panels generate a surplus, you get compensated by the government at a fixed tariff.

8-Can I use the same production meter I have?

No, it needs to be replaced by a two-way production meter that measures electricity sent from your system to the grid and the consumed electricity drawn from the grid.

9-What do I need to know about my consumption to get an optimum system design?

It is helpful to have the electric bills for a year to be able to design the system based on individualized customer consumption behavior.

Solar Storage

10-What do I need to know about my consumption to get an optimum system design?

It is helpful to have the electric bills for a year to be able to design the system based on individualized customer consumption behavior.

Pumping

11-How is solar water pumping more useful than a conventional pumping system?

The advantages of solar water pumping are as follows:
• No need for electricity or fuel to operate.
• Can be installed in remote areas where there is no electricity or it is difficult to get fuel.
• Low maintenance and operational cost as the only operational cost is to clean the panels.
• Sustainable energy source

12-Once installed, is it possible to relocate the solar pumping system?

Yes, it can be relocated. However, it is not advisable because it will cost more money and the transportation may cause damage to the system.

13-Does solar water pumping work during cloudy and foggy days?

Yes, it can work. However, there will not be sufficient water for irrigation. In that case a hybrid system (solar + diesel) will be needed or a storage tank can be installed to be filled with water during the sunny days.

14-What precautions should be taken during storms/floods to save the panels?

The panels are installed on the mounting structure which is designed to withstand such severe weather conditions.

15-What maintenance is required for a solar powered pump? Does the performance of the solar water pumping solution get affected over the years of use?

The panels need to be cleaned regularly to maintain the efficiency of the panels because the dust can reduce the exposure to irradiation which affects the efficiency drastically. This is the only maintenance needed for the solar system. The panels are designed to live longer than 25 years, and the performance decreases till it reaches 80.7 % at the end of the 25 years.

16-Should I use batteries in my pumping system?

• The battery reduces the efficiency of the system as it lowers the voltage of the system which lowers the speed of the motor and reduces the discharge of the water.
• It increases the capital cost of the system, and also increases the maintenance and operations cost as it needs to be replaced every 3 to 5 years based on the usage.
• The only reason that makes the batteries acceptable is if the crops needed to be irrigated at night. However, in this case a storage tank will be more efficient as it increases only the capital cost and does not require any additional cost or effort.

17-How long does it take to install a solar powered pump?

If there is already an existing bore well, the whole system would take from 3 to 4 days depending on the volume of the system. If the bore well does not exist, it will take from 5 to 6 days to set up the whole system.

18-Why does the outflow of the pump keep changing?

The flow rate of the water is dependent on the amount of solar irradiance that falls on the PV panels. The irradiance is not constant throughout the day and its maximum range is from 10 am to 2pm.

19-Since solar powered pumps work for only a limited number of hours per day, are they able to replace pumps currently used for irrigation?

Yes, solar pumping system can replace the diesel powered pumps by carefully taking into consideration all the elements affecting the system like needed water, irrigation types, TDH, etc to be able to choose the appropriate capacity and size of all the components in the system.

Services

20-Do you offer O&M services for systems not installed by Spark Renewables?

Yes we do. After contacting us we conduct a feasibility study based on your targets and the state of the system and advise you accordingly.

21-What are my financing options?

Your financing options depend on the type of financing you are eligible for as an individual or entity. We will help you acquire the best financing opportunities for your project.

22-Is it better to pay in cash for the system or in installments?

It depends on your financing objectives and the type of financing tools you are eligible for. We will conduct customized financial studies to advise you.