Standalone Photovoltaic Systems Design and Installation Best Practices

KfW, in collaboration with Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) and PwC India, organised a 3-day workshop on capacity building workshop on ‘Standalone Photovoltaic Systems Design and Installation Best Practices' between 8 - 10 November 2021. The workshop was organised as part of KfW-IREDA ‘Access to Energy’ (A2E) line of credit which focuses on improving the supply and use of sustainable clean energy services in rural areas through improved access to financing for project developers. Being first of its kind, with incentives, the line has attracted attention from different categories of players such as honed private sector Companies, start-ups in the sector, NBFCs, MFIs, etc. for veteran and new technology solutions and services to be implemented in the rural areas.

The workshop was organised for IREDA’s technical staff and was attended by over 45 participants each day. The workshop provided hands-on training to IREDA’s technical staff on the development phases of off-grid systems, the need for quality management across the value chain of such systems and the guidelines for ensuring the correct design and installation practices and processes for different off-grid technologies. The workshop was delivered by Mr. Dwipen Boruah, Co-founder and Managing Director, GSES India Sustainable Energy Pvt. Ltd.

Topics covered during the workshop

  • Solar PV project development phases and quality management
  • Overview of standalone PV systems and design principles
  • Designing PV-DG hybrid mini-grid systems
  • Solar water pumping system design and installation
  • Installation best practices for standalone PV systems
  • Designing of standalone solar-based cold storages
  • Q&A sessions

The workshop was divided into seven sessions. Session 1 of the workshop covered Solar PV project development phases and quality management including reasons for PV system failure and low performance, case study examples, risks associated with solar PV projects and focus areas to mitigate risks and quality management plan.

Session 2 of the workshop was aimed at presenting an overview of standalone PV systems including components of solar PV off-grid and micro-grid systems, off-grid and hybrid system configurations, PV module technologies, battery storage technology, inverter technology and balance of systems components, etc.

Session 3 focused on providing a general overview of standalone PV systems design including design steps, load characteristics and energy demand assessment, energy efficiency and demand side management, DC bus vs. AC bus system, system sizing approach, sizing and selection of battery bank and inverter and PV array sizing approach.

Session 4 focused on designing PV-DG hybrid mini-grid systems covering design steps, determining system configuration for hybrid systems, system component sizing, sizing and specifying genset for PV-DG hybrid system, system optimization, use of software for system design and optimization, etc.

Session 5 discussed the solar water pumping system design and installation best practices. This session will focus on solar water pumping applications, selection of pump based on application and source of water, methods of calculating total dynamic head, designing a solar water pumping system considering specific site conditions, O&M of solar water pumping systems, monitoring of solar water pumping systems, the economy of the water pumping system and levelized cost of water delivery.

Session 6 of the workshop focused on installation best practices for standalone PV systems. This broadly covered tools and equipment required for installation, installation preparation, installation of PV array mounting structure, installation of PV modules, installation of batteries, installation of solar controller /MPPT, installation of PV and battery inverter, system wiring, installation of service connections and Genset, conducting pre-commissioning tests, commissioning and system documentation.

The last session of the training focused on the design and installation best practices of solar based cold storage with a case study analysis of how companies in the A2E sector have done it and what has been the impact. This session also covered the energy demand assessment for cold storage facilities, PV system sizing and Operation & Maintenance of such cold storage.

Each day, a Q&A session was organised to discuss the audience’s questions. The key discussion points included:

  • Software that can be used for PV system designing purposes
  • Standards to be referred in case of module procurement from local manufacturers
  • Best practice around location and placement of system components such as battery, inverter, etc.
  • Sizing of mini-grids in case of heavy load customers
  • Best practice for cleaning the modules to be followed for optimal generation
  • How to address the trade-off between the proper use of insulation versus maintaining the cost economics of the cold storage system

For more information please contact Ms. Snekalatha Krishnaraju, Snekalatha.Krishnaraju(at)