Residential Solar PV systems and higher electricity bills

I came across a very interesting article about a scenario in which putting up a solar system actually leads to increase in electricity bill. I am sharing some excerpts below, and I feel that this is an important topic to address.
“Recently with the prices of Solar Panels becoming affordable, people have started using Solar Panels with Charge Controllers to charge these battery banks. At the same time, UPS manufacturers themselves have started offering the UPS with Solar panels.
So this sets off a chain of complications. With the UPS and the Solar both setup to charge the batteries, will the UPS get to charge battery? Or will the Solar get to charge the battery? In theory it depends on settings in the UPS and the charge controller. In practice, the UPS continues to charge the battery. As a result, the UPS draws power from the grid, and continues to drive large power bills.The promised savings by going Solar never happens. Worse, this duplication of charging can cause an expensive batteries to become damaged and even lose life.”
The article was written by the Bangalore based startup, Enerplus. The complete article can be accessed here.

5 thoughts on “Residential Solar PV systems and higher electricity bills”

  1. What Mr. Madhavan Namboodiri has posted is a serious matter. It calls for reply from experts. Will REsolve take the initiative please ?

  2. I disagree with the post as this cannot be a general statement
    This is true ,
    1. if the power cuts are minimal. However this is not the current situation today in most parts of S. India with power outages as high as 18 hours.. In a case where power cuts are at minimal levels, an intelligent charger controller will help over come the problem.
    and / or
    2. If the charger controller is not an intelligent sensing device for sensing and the changing over between the grid and the solar and the battery. Today many customers are often caught unawares with quick fixes with cheap PWM charger controllers priced at Rs250 ,in the market ,often creating a problem like indicated in the article.
    The article however doesn’t show solar in true light as it addresses solar in darkness. This article rightly discusses only a case of a badly designed system and not a good solar product.
    Such misleading posts should be avoided.

    1. Dear Karthik,
      Right at the beginning of the article, I have clearly mentioned that this is one of the scenarios which can cause problems. So,you can rest assured that there is no question of generalization or attempt to mislead. As you have rightly pointed out, this post mentions only one case/scenario of badly designed systems, which can make people lose faith in solar. The intention here is to create more awareness among the end consumers and avoid mistakes as mentioned in your point no.2.
      Moreoever, the original article also mentions the same solution you have highlighted – the need for intelligent/smart controllers.
      Since you are a veteran in this field, I would request you to share similar pitfalls that end customers(particularly residential) should avoid when they buy and use solar systems.

  3. Hi Madhavan,
    We have faced this issue while implementing Solar inverters in AP. Actually, it is not really a problem if the inverter/UPS has a micro-controller which manages the supply. Most of the inverters approved by MNRE have this so if this technology is available in the dual-source inverter, these issues shouldn’t arise. I have personally seen people saving at least 30% on their bill while getting power for that additional 4 hours through Solar power.
    The key is to put the UPS on auto mode and let it decide on which source to use. Some consumers try to control by switching off the mains and use only ‘solar’ but that in-turn increases the energy consumption during nights, if there is a power cut.

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