Know everything about solar panel systems in Kerala

FAQ: Grid Connected Solar Rooftop System 2022

Table of Contents

1 About solar rooftop system

1.1 What is a Grid Connected Rooftop Solar PV System?

In a grid-connected rooftop or small solar photovoltaic (SPV) system, the DC power generated from the solar panel is converted to AC power using a power conditioning unit/Inverter and is fed to the grid. Operating modes of grid-connected rooftop solar PV systems can be explained 

1.2 What are the main components of a Grid Connected Rooftop Solar PV system? 

• Solar PV Modules/Solar Panels – The Solar PV modules/Solar Panels convert solar energy to DC (direct current) electrical energy. They are available in different technologies such as crystalline silicon, thin-film silicon, CIGS, CdTe, HIT, etc. Crystalline Silicon Solar PV panels are most commonly used in solar rooftop systems. Multiple panels are connected to form arrays as per the desired capacity of the system. 

• Inverter – Inverter converts variable DC output of Solar PV panels into AC power. The inverter also synchronizes with the grid so that generated power from the module can be injected into the grid. 

• Module mounting structure – The module mounting structure, is the support structure that holds the Solar PV panels in place for full system life and is exposed to all weather conditions. These are normally fixed at a particular angle and orientation in the case of a solar rooftop system. But these can also be of a type that tracks the Sun, called trackers. 

• Bi-direction Meters – Meters are used to record the generation or consumption of electricity. Bi-direction (or Net-Meters) are used to keep track of the electricity that the solar PV system injects into the utility grid and the electricity that is drawn from the utility grid. 

• Balance of System – These consist of cables, switchboards, junction boxes, earthing systems, circuit breakers, fuses, lightning protection systems, etc. 

1.3 How much area is required for a 1 kWp rooftop solar PV system? 

A 1 kW rooftop system generally requires 10 sq. meters of shadow-free area. However, actual area requirements may vary depending on the efficiency of the solar module, their placement, etc. 

1.4 Why do I need a shadow-free area for modules? 

Solar modules (and cells within) need uninterrupted sunlight to produce maximum electrical energy. With the shadow even on a part of the module, the generation reduces to a great extent thereby wasting installed system capacity. Also, prolonged (regular, though intermittent) shadow on some cells or modules reduces their life substantially and these become useless much before their standard life of over 25 years. 

1.5 What types of roofs are suitable for the Rooftop solar (RTS) system? Rooftop solar PV systems can be installed on any type of roof having sufficient load-bearing capacity. 

1.6 What is the daily energy generated from a 1 kWp Solar Power Plant? 

On a clear sunny day, a 1 kWp solar power plant can generate 4 to 5.5 units in a day. 

1.7 Will I get constant/same energy from the RTS all year round? 

No, the daily energy generation from the RTS shall be dependent on the temperature and solar irradiance among other parameters and these may not be the same every day. 

1.8 What are the factors affecting generation? 

• Plant Location 

• Quality of equipment used 

• No. of sunshine hours 

• Workmanship 

• PV module tilt angle and orientation • Module Cleaning 

• O&M activities etc. 

1.9 Will I get the same annual energy from the RTS for all 25 years? 

No. On exposure to sunlight and the outside environment, the solar module loses its generation capacity and this is called degradation. 

1.10 What are the advantages of the Grid-Connected Rooftop Solar System? 

• Saving on electricity bill by the consumer. 

• Utilization of available vacant roof space, no additional land required. 

• Low gestation period. 

• No additional requirement for transmission and distribution (T&D) lines. 

• Reduces T&D losses as power consumption and generation are collocated. 

• Improvement in the tail-end grid voltages and reduction of system congestion. 

• Long term energy and ecological security by a reduction in carbon emission. 

• Better management of daytime peak loads by DISCOM/ utility. 

• Meeting of the Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPOs) of obligated entities. 

2 Cost of system and subsidies

2.1 What is the average cost of grid-connected rooftop solar systems? The current benchmark cost of grid connected rooftop solar systems can be seen in the notification section at https://solarrooftop.gov.in/notifications/view 

2.2 What are the subsidies/ capital support available from the Government? 

Central financial assistance (or subsidy) is available only for residential sector grid-connected solar rooftop projects. For other sectors e.g. Govt., institutional, social, commercial, industrial, etc. CFA is not available. Central Financial Assistance (CFA)* to the Residential sector 

• CFA @ 40% of benchmark cost or @40 % of tendered rates (whichever is lower) for capacity up to 3 kW 

• CFA @ 20% of benchmark cost or 20 % of tendered rates (whichever is lower) for capacity beyond 3 kW and up to 10 kW 

• CFA @ 20% of benchmark cost or @ 20 of tendered rates (whichever is lower) for GHS/RWA capacity up to 500 kW (limited to 10 kW per house and total up to 500 kWp) For calculation of CFA, the PV plant capacity will be inverter capacity or the PV module capacity, whichever is lower. For availing CFA, the PV module and cell shall be manufactured in India only. 

2.3 Whether the residential consumer has to pay the full cost of the system for residential sector subsidized projects? 

No. The consumer has to pay the balance amount after deducting the subsidy (eligible CFA) from the L1 project cost discovered by the DISCOMs. Advisory on the scheme is also available at https://mnre.gov.in/img/documents/uploads/file_f1610949591054.pdf 

2.4 At what rate the full cost of the solar rooftop plant is decided? Consumers are advised to pay only according to the rates (L1 rates) decided by DISCOMs. If any vendors are charging more price than the rates decided by DISCOMs from domestic consumers, in that case, consumers are advised to inform DISCOM so that DISCOM identify and punish such vendors. 

2.5 Is there any Subsidy/Support from State Government? Information on state subsidies can be seen on the website of the concerned electricity distribution company. The rooftop solar portals of electricity distribution companies can be assessed at: https://solarrooftop.gov.in/grid_others/discomPortalLink 

2.6 Whether MNRE has empanelled any agency for implementation? No. MNRE is implementing the program through power distribution companies/DISCOMs of various States. These DISCOMS are responsible for the discovery of rates and empanelment of vendors for the implementation of the projects. Consumers can apply online through the portals of these DISCOMS which can be assessed at: https://solarrooftop.gov.in/grid_others/discomPortalLink 

2.7 How should I evaluate vendors offering me RTS? What are the main points of consideration? The system price, though important, should never be the only factor in deciding the vendor. Customers should consider at least the following factors: 

• Price of the offered system. 

• Warranties of system and components. 

• Energy generation estimates and guaranties. 

• Service backup and arrangements the vendor has in the area. 

• Reference installations in the track record of the vendor – along with those customers’ feedback about system performance and service provided by the vendor 

2.8 How can I make payment to the Electricity Distribution Company (DISCOM)? 

Since the system is grid-connected through net metering, DISCOM will generate a bill based upon the reading provided by the net meter installed at the consumer premises. The consumer will have to pay for the net units (total imported units minus exported solar units) only. 

2.9 Can I make my monthly electricity bill ‘zero’ by installing RTS? This is possible in very rare cases because the consumer shall be required to pay some minimum charges like fixed charges, etc. even if the consumed energy is all self-generated. However, ‘electricity charges’, a major component of the monthly bill, can be reduced to zero by optimally designing and maintaining the RTS. The monthly electricity bill may come to zero in States which gives revenue for surplus power generated. 


3 Metering arrangement for solar rooftop

3.1 What is net metering? All solar PV systems generate power only during the daytime when the sun is available. In net-metered systems, the generated power is utilized for self-consumption, and excess power is exported to the grid as long as the grid is available. In cases, where solar power is not sufficient due to cloud cover etc., power is drawn from the grid to power the loads. A bi-directional or net meter records the energy flow in both directions and at the end of the billing period net energy used is calculated. The beneficiary has to pay for only the net energy used.

3.2 What is Gross Metering? In gross metering, the power generated from the Rooftop Solar plant is only fed to the grid. The system owner gets paid by DISCOM for such exported power at a pre-decided tariff. 

3.3 What is Net billing? Connections in net billing RTS are similar to net metering. However, at the end of the billing cycle (normally a month) any excess energy in the grid shall not be carried forward like in net metering, but shall be purchased by the DISCOM as per the pre-decided tariff. Therefore, energy banking in the grid is only within a billing cycle. 

3.4 Can the RTS be installed for only captive use without being connected to the Grid? Yes, the plants which are not connected to the grid are normally called behind the meter plants and MNRE subsidy is not available for such plants even for the residential sector. However, it is required to follow rules and regulations specified for this purpose by the state authorities. 

4 Business model for a solar rooftop system

CAPEX Model: Here, the system is owned by the consumer himself and he bears the cost of the system. RESCO Model: Here, the entire system is owned by the 3rd party project developer. The consumer only purchases the generated energy by paying a pre-decided tariff every month as per Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). The responsibility of O&M for the system lifetime (25 years) is also with the developer. 

4.2 What is the payback for solar rooftops using various business models? 

A simple payback period can be calculated by using the rooftop calculator available at the following web link: https://solarrooftop.gov.in/rooftop_calculator 

5 Installation of the solar rooftop system

5.1 How can I apply for the installation of a solar rooftop system? 

Residential consumers and Group Housing Society can apply for the installation of a solar rooftop system through the online portal of DISCOMs. The link for the online portal of DISCOMs is mentioned- https://solarrooftop.gov.in/grid_others/discom PortalLink

5.2 What is the general procedure for the installation of a Rooftop Solar system for the beneficiary? 

The interested beneficiary may install the solar rooftop systems through project developers/system integrators/manufacturers etc. after taking necessary approval from DISCOMs within the capacity limit as laid down in the order of the respective State Electricity Regulatory Commission/Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission of the respective States/UTs. 

5.3 Can I install Rooftop Solar system if I live in a rented house? 

The RTS under any framework like net or gross metering can be installed by the electricity consumer. So, if you have an electricity connection in your name and you pay regularly the electricity bill in your name and also you have permission to use the roof for solar rooftop installation from the owner, you can install the RTS. 

5.4 What kind of system can be installed in Group Housing Society (GHS)? 

With several common rooftops available in a society, there is a great potential for harnessing solar energy through rooftop PV systems. The energy generated from these systems is used to offset the common loads of the society (common lighting, lift, pumps, etc.). A Net Meter shall be provided against, the Single Point Delivery (SPD) common meter of Cooperative Group Housing Society (CGHS). In this, the society ultimately gets benefitted in terms of reduced monthly electricity expenses. 

5.5 If I shift my residence or office where RTS is installed, what will happen to the RTS? 

The system is easy to be dismantled and reassembled elsewhere. So, it can be shifted to your new residence. 

5.6 Whether solar modules should be made indigenously for subsidized projects? 

Yes. Only indigenously manufactured PV modules with indigenous solar cells can be used in Solar PV systems power plants for subsidized sector projects. For reference, as per the ALMM list 10th March 2021 Clause 4 IV- Link:- https://mnre.gov.in/img/documents/uploads/file_f-1615380939218.pdf . However, there is no such limitation in case the project is installed without any subsidy. 


6 Operation and maintenance of solar plant

Solar PV modules used in solar power plants /systems must be warranted for their output peak watt capacity, which should not be less than 90% at the end of 12 years and 80% at the end of 25 years. The mechanical structures, electrical works including power conditioners/inverters/charge controllers/maximum power point tracker units/distribution boards/digital meters/switchgear/storage batteries, etc., and overall workmanship of the SPV power plants/ systems must be warranted against any manufacturing/ design/ installation defects for a minimum period of 5 years. 

6.2 What are the O&M aspects of a grid-connected rooftop solar PV system? 

Compared to most other power-generating technologies, solar PV systems have very low maintenance and servicing requirements. However, suitable maintenance of a PV plant is essential to optimize energy yield and maximize the life of the system. Some of the maintenance activities typically may include but are not limited to the following: • Module cleaning is required periodically (dust, bird dropping, and other debris can cause a decrease in power generation). Periodicity depends on local conditions like dust, birds, air pollution, etc. 

• Other items should be checked periodically as stated below: o Checking module connection integrity o Checking junction boxes/string combiner boxes o Inspecting mechanical integrity of mounting structures o Tightening cable connections that have loosened o Replacing blown fuses o Repairing lightning damage o Repairing equipment damaged by intruders or during module cleaning 

6.3 There is a presence of monkeys in our area. Would they be damaging the RTS? 

The solar modules are made up of toughened or tempered glass top and so are not easily broken due to monkeys or any falling objects. These can be broken if deliberately someone throws stones. Guarding of module surface with wire mesh is one solution for monkey menace, but not recommended because this regularly casts a shadow on the modules. 


7 General information about solar rooftop

7.1 What is the gross potential of solar power in the country? 

India is endowed with vast solar energy potential. About 5,000 trillion kWh per year of energy is incident over India’s land area with most parts receiving 3-5 kWh per sq. m per day. Based on the availability of land and solar radiation, the potential of solar power in the country has been assessed to be around 750 GW. 

7.2 What is the potential for rooftop solar power in the country? 

The National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), An Autonomous Institute under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has an estimated potential of 43 GW for Grid Connected RTS in the country. 

7.3 What targets have the Government kept for the installation of Rooftop Solar Plants in the country? 

The government of India has set the target of installing 40,000 MW of Rooftop Solar (RTS) Power by the year 2022. State-wise tentative targets are available in the website link (State-wise-and-year-wise-target-for-installation-of-40000MWp-GCRTsystems_0.pdf) ) 

7.4 What is the State-wise breakup of sanctioned capacity under the Phase-II RTS scheme? 

The details on capacity sanctioned under Phase-II of the RTS scheme can be seen on the following link: https://solarrooftop.gov.in/grid_others/phase2SanctionList 

7.5 Which are the States that have Net-metering regulations? 

Electricity regulatory commissions have notified the regulations for all States /UTs. Amendments if any may kindly be seen on the websites of the respective State Electricity Regulatory Commission/Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission. 

7.6 Approved List of Models and Manufacturers of Solar Photovoltaic Module: Approved List Models and Manufacturers of Solar Photovoltaic Module (ALMM) is available at https://mnre.gov.in/img/documents/uploads/file_f-1615380939218.pdf. However, ALMM order in respect of List I (Modules) shall be applicable on all such bids whose last date of bid submission is on or after 10.04.2021 

7.7 Want to know more details on rooftop solar for knowledge purposes? Yes. Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has created a knowledge portal for knowledge dissemination among the Consumers/DISCOM Officials/Bankers/SERCs etc., which can be accessed by using the URL: https://solarrooftop.gov.in/grid_others/knowledge 

Disclaimer: The FAQs are for informative purposes only and no claim whatsoever would be entertained for any issue arising out of this content

From raw materials to 8 steps of cement manufacturing, read everything about the production of cement

Raw Mix Proportioning and Raw Mix Design of cement

The raw materials mixture is called raw mix or raw meal or kiln feed, The continuous production of high-quality cement is possible only if the raw mix possesses optimum composition, The purpose of calculating the composition of the raw mix is to determine the quantitative proportions of the components of the raw materials to give clinker the desired chemical and mineralogical composition and for smooth kiln operation. 

 

Main Parameters for Raw Mix Design, 

 

The raw mix composition is usually characterized by certain ratios called moduli. They are proportioning formulas in which percentages of various oxides as determined by chemical analysis are included., The three important moduli are lime saturation factor (LSF), silica modulus (SM), and alumina modulus (AM). Lime Saturation Factor (LSF), LSF represents the ratio of the actual amount of lime (CaO) to the theoretical lime required by other major oxides in raw mix/clinker., It is the ratio of CaO to the other three main oxides.

 

A clinker with a higher LSF will have a higher proportion of elite than a clinker with a low LSF., Limiting the range of LSF in clinker is 0.66 – 1.02 and the preferable range is 0.92 – 0.96. Silica Modulus (SM), SM represents the proportion of SiO2 to the total of Al2O3 and Fe2O3., It is the ratio of SiO2 to the sum of Al2O3 and Fe2O3. SiO2 SM = Al2O3 + Fe2O3,

 

 A high SM means that more calcium silicates (C3S + C2S) and less aluminate (C3A) and ferrite (C4AF) are present in the clinker., In addition, it characterizes the ratio of solid/liquid and the amount of liquid phase in the clinker., Kiln process (coatings, rings, dusty clinker) is sensitive to SM changes., The limiting range of SM in clinker is 1.9 – 3.2 and the preferable range is 2.1 – 2.7. Alumina Modulus (AM), AM characterizes the raw meal/clinker by the proportion of alumina to iron oxide., It is the ratio of Al2O3 to Fe2O3. Al2O3 AM = Fe2O3, AM determines the potential proportions of aluminate (C3A) and ferrite phase (C4AF) in the clinker., In addition, it characterizes the composition of the liquid phase in the clinker, 

 

Alumina and iron oxide have flux effect., The liquid phase promotes the C3S formation., Higher iron oxide decreases the viscosity of the melt, increasing the speed of reaction between CaO and SiO2., Low alumina modulus = Easier burning due to low viscosity., Limiting the range of AM in clinker is 1.2 – 2.5 and a preferable range is 1.3 – 1.6 Raw Mix Design Calculation Prerequisites for Raw Mix Design Calculation, Raw Materials 1. Chemistry 2. Materials cost, 

 

There are many methods of calculation: from the simplest to more complicated ones., The basis for calculation is the chemical composition of the raw materials. Generally, data of chemical analysis should be accurate to two places of decimals. Results of the analysis are more than 100%, each constituent being proportionally reduced. If on the other hand, the total of constituents is less than 100 the constituents are not proportionally increased to 100. In this case, the difference from 100 is denoted as ‘rest’, so that the total of all constituents is then 100.

Ingredients and properties of cement compounds

Ingredients:  

 

1. Lime (CaO):, This is the important ingredient of cement  and its proportion is to be carefully maintained.,A sufficient quantity of lime forms tricalcium  silicate (C3S) and dicalcium silicate (C2S),

 

The lime in excess makes the cement unsound and causes the expansion and disintegration of the cement. , On the other hand, if the lime is deficient, it will decrease the strength of the cement and will cause it to set quickly. 

 

2. Silica (SiO2):, It imparts strength to the cement due to the formation of dicalcium silicate and tricalcium  silicate.,If silica is present in excess quantity setting time of cement is prolonged.  

 

3. Alumina (Al2O3):, Alumina imparts quick setting property  to the cement.,It acts as a flux and it lowers the clinker temperature., Alumina in excess reduces the strength of cement. 

 

4. Iron Oxide (Fe2O3):, Iron oxide imparts color, hardness, and strength to cement.  

 

5. Magnesia (MgO):, Magnesia, if present in a small amount,  imparts hardness and color to the cement.,The high content of magnesia makes the cement unsound. 

 

6. Calcium Sulphate (CaSO4):, Calcium sulfate is in the form of gypsum and its function is to increase the initial setting time of cement. 

 

7. Sulphur (S):, A very small amount of sulfur is useful in making sound cement. If it is in excess,  it causes the cement to become unsound.

 

8. Alkalies: Most of the alkalies present in raw materials are carried away by the flue gases during heating and the cement contains only a small amount of alkalies. ,

 

If they are in excess in cement, they cause several troubles such as alkali-aggregate reaction, efflorescence, and staining when used in concrete, brickwork, or masonry mortar. 

 

Properties of Cement Compounds  

 

Tricalcium Silicate (C3S), Hydrates and hardens rapidly. , Largely responsible for initial set and early strength(up to 7 days), Portland cements with higher percentages of C3S will exhibit higher early strength. , Produces more heat of hydration.  

 

Dicalcium Silicate (C2S), Hydrates and hardens slowly. , Largely responsible for strength increase beyond 7 days. , Produces much of ultimate strength.,Produces less heat of hydration.  

Tricalcium Aluminate (C3A), Hydrates and hardens the quickest. , Liberates a large amount of heat almost immediately. , Contributes somewhat to early strength, especially 1day strength. ,

Gypsum is added to retard C3A hydration. Without gypsum, C3A hydration would cause the cement to set almost immediately after adding water. 

(Flash set) , Cement with Low C3A is more resistant to sulfate attack.  

 

Tetra calcium Alumino Ferrite (C4AF), Hydrates rapidly but contributes very  little to strength.,The presence of iron oxide lowers clinker temperature.,Colour effects (grey color) are due to  C4AF.  

Cement manufacturing in steps

The cement manufacturing process involves 8 steps starting from the mining of limestone to the packing of cement. We will discuss one by one all the 8 steps. 

 

1. Mining of Limestone: • Cement manufacturing process starts with the mining of limestone, which is the main raw material for the production of cement. • Limestone is excavated from the limestone mines by blasting and blasted limestone is transferred to the crusher as boulders by dumpers. 

 

2. Crushing of Limestone: • Limestone as mined is fed to the limestone crusher (impact crusher). • The limestone crusher crushes the limestone to -60 to -80 mm size (VRM) / – 25 mm size (ball mill) and discharges the material into a belt conveyor which takes it to the stacker/reclaimer. 

 

3. Stacking and Reclaiming of Limestone: • Limestone is stacked in longitudinal stockpiles. • Limestone is extracted transversely from the stockpiles by reclaimers and conveyed to the raw mill hoppers for grinding of limestone. 

 

4. Grinding of Limestone and Additives: • Limestone and additives are mixed in required proportions so that the specified composition of the final product is maintained properly and ground in the raw mill (VRM / ball mill) to a fine powder. • The fine powder is known as raw meal

 

5. Storage of Raw Meal: • Raw meal is stored in a continuous flow silo (CF silo) where it is blended and stored and kept ready to be fed into the rotary kiln. • The blended material is known as kiln feed. Kiln feed is a homogenized raw meal. • Burning of Kiln Feed: • Kiln feed is fed to a four to six-stage preheater / precalciner system and then to a rotary kiln, where the temperature goes up to 1450oC. • For burning the kiln feed, pulverized coal is fed through the lower end of the kiln. • Raw coal is ground in a coal mill (VRM/ball mill) to fine coal or pulverized coal. • The hot materials coming out of the kiln are known as clinker. • Clinker is in the form of nodules of various sizes, usually 1-25 mm in diameter. • The hot clinker nodules are cooled to about 100 – 120oC in the cooler attached to the kiln. In the cooler, cold air is blown to effect heat exchange between hot clinker and cold air. The cooled clinker is stored in a clinker silo. 

 

6. Grinding of Clinker: • Cooled clinker is ground along with 3 -5 % gypsum in a cement grinding mill (ball mill / VRM/ Roll press combined with a ball mill) to a fine powder, known as cement. 

 

7. Storage of Cement: • The ground cement is stored in cement silos (having different compartments) from where it is fed to packer machines.

 

8. Packing of Cement: • The cement is packed in 50 kg cement bags by electronic packer machines and despatched by truck/rail. 

Popular interior design materials used to make your kitchen cabinets

Are you in the plan of making a new kitchen or in the idea of renovating the existing kitchen? at this time, you will be confused about what materials or what kind of materials combination can be used in the kitchen and moreover,

 It is always suggested that to choose the type of kitchen materials according to your requirements and used not only because of the cost or budget, let’s assume that u have designed an exotic or nice kitchen already,  the same kitchen you can design in three or more types of budget for example; from a low budget, medium, and to a high budget. so, we can design it, in different types of budget, mainly because of the materials and their combination of how we use them. 

 Materials used for kitchen cabinets. before understanding kitchen materials, you must know an important thing a kitchen has three major materials, if want to build a good kitchen you must need these 3 types of materials,

 

The first type is core material, the second is surfacing material, and the third is hardware that you use in the kitchen.  so, let’s discuss this one by one. but before that a small suggestion before you buy any material, core material like plywood, and fiberboard, or surfacing materials like laminates and acrylics, and the hardware 

 Before buying this product or these kinds of materials, you must understand that those types of companies or the materials are how long or how many years they are available in the market. a minimum period of at least 5 -10 years they must be available in the market   do not buy materials purely based on money, it can be any type of brand, you need to know how long those brands are available in the market and then it is suggested to buy those materials, 

 Core materials first, let’s discuss the core materials, core materials are the base or foundation material of the cabinets which can be used inside the surfacing materials,  which is more like a foundation that brings a strong product. basically, if the core material is good it will be more durable.  

 solid wood

The first core material is solid wood,  solid wood was the material that was mostly used now they are not used much mainly because of its cost,  options in solid woods are teak wood, Segun woods, and Indian rosewood there are many types of solid woods are available.  and moreover, solid wood is nontoxic material because they are not mixed with any chemicals.  and also it is a renewable resource it was mostly used material before.it is costly, and moreover, for people who can afford good labor, more time and money you can use this material, 

 metal cabinets

 The next core material is metal cabinets are mostly made of stainless steel or aluminum it is a very strong and durable material the main drawback is, it is slightly costlier than the other options available so, in case you have a bigger budget if you can spend extra on your kitchen, you can go for metal cabinet options also.  and moreover, you can plan to use the metal cabinets as the base unit also.  and other overhead or loft cabinets you can plan to use different core materials that you can adjust your cost also. 

 fiberboards 

The next option is fiberboard, in the fiberboard options are Particleboard, MDF, HDF, and HDHMR  MDF is medium density, HDF is high density, and HDHMR is a high-density high moisture resistant board available in the market. the specialty of this is it has a smooth shutter finish, based on this they are mostly preferred to use in the shutters and doors as compared to plywoods this is the cheaper option, and moreover, most furniture manufacturers prefer to use the fiberboards material mainly because it is cost-effective, and then based on its surface finish. and then if you take it as life-wise, it doesn’t have a longer life span.  if durability is your major option and you won’t give up on it, fiberboard is not the option for you  

 plywoods 

The next surfacing material is plywoods it is one of the cheaper alternatives to solid wood but it is slightly costlier than fiberboards. so, in plywoods, there are different varieties available like moisture resistant boards boiling water-resistant – BWR, BWP – boiling waterproof boards are types of options available so, in the kitchen when you work on base cabinets, it is suggested to use boiling waterproof boards and at least plan to use boiling water-resistant boards which are good because in the kitchen, there will be high water moisture or the water content so, use plan to BWR or BWP  plywoods are mostly cost-efficient, it has a good life and it also carries good strength and screw holding capacity is better in plywood plywoods are one of the majorly used materials in building modular kitchens, 

 composite boards 

The next option is composite boards, that available that is WPC – wood polymer composite or you might have heard about the PVC panels. it is a hybrid material, it is a manufactured mixture of polymer fiber, wood, and additives in certain ratios.  it is a greater alternative to plywoods and fiberboard because it has higher waterproof, termite resistance compared to any other plywoods or fiberboards. the small drawback of the material is because it has less density the screw holding capacity is less as compared to plywoods so, if you prefer using composite boards, plan and purchase and use boards that have a higher density or high-density boards and moreover, it is as good as fiberboard’s surface finish like smooth surface finish you can use this in various doors or the area that needs to be given a smooth surface finish you can use these composite boards. 

 The next major component is the surfacing materials the surfacing materials are used on top of the core materials it is more like a protective layer or decorative material of the core. most of the finishes or surface finish or the output of the kitchen cabinet is defined by the surfacing material, need to be more careful in choosing surfacing materials. 

 Wood staining or varnish so, the first surfacing material is wood staining or varnishing very common and it is used from ages is varnishing, it adds an extra layer or extra color to solid woods not only on solid woods you can use it on plywood s and also in fiberboards it acts or creates a protective layer when it is applied on the solid wood or any other wood and moreover, but it also saves the core materials from dirt, sunlight, and water. it protects from all these kinds when you use the varnish 

 Painting the next commonly used material is painting so, inpainting based on the interiors and kitchen cabinets there are two major options PU painting and Duco painting generally, you can use the painting with material that is fiberboard and composite boards. because of its surface and even you can use it for metal panels also  it is mainly because it is good to have the core material that is already with a smooth finish the output will become better when you paint on it 

 

Laminates, the next prominent option is laminate it is a familiar choice for many modular kitchen companies or interior designers or any company who does modular kitchen would use laminates most of the time it is mainly because this is the low-cost option compared to other surfacing options, low maintenance, and long-lasting properties. laminates have two types one is paper-based laminates and the other one is PVC laminates are available in various thicknesses, colors, designs, and textures it is fairly durable and scratch-resistant and also it is fairly resistant to wear and tear moisture, and heat, it is mostly used because of these properties acrylic sheets the next option is acrylic sheets are mostly preferred to the people who need the high glossy finish like with glossy laminates with a better gloss finish, for this, acrylic sheets or acrylic laminates are used mostly it is considered as a cheaper alternative for lacquered glass but compared to laminates it is costlier. acrylic sheets are available in various thicknesses, like 1mm, 1.3mm, 1.5mm, and even 2mm but acrylic sheets with better thickness like more than 1.3mm and 1.5 mm will be better like it gives you good output 

 Veneer sheets the next surfacing material is veneer sheets, veneer sheets are nothing but it is a layer of hardwood and it is a greater alternative for solid woods. people who cannot afford solid woods for their kitchen can plan to use veneer sheets because veneer sheets’ finish will look equivalent to a solid wood’s design and finish moreover, you can also varnish veneer sheets because it is having these properties, you can use veneer sheets,  

 

hardware the next one is most used material in the kitchen is the kitchen hardware,  the first kitchen hardware we gonna discuss is the hinges

 

hinges- you would have noticed that it will be present in the kitchen cabinet shutters connected with the carcass so, commonly used hinges are the cut hinges or Indian hinges.  cut hinges are still used but nowadays European hinges are familiar,  European hinges are modern-day hinges and available in various types of opening angles and moreover, in European hinges, u can also get like normal close hinges or soft close hinges, hinges like these functions u can purchase use them. 

 

telescope channel the next hardware system is telescopic channel telescopic channels are used in the drawer system or cabinet box that connects to the carcass in your kitchen.  light to heavy bearing channels are also available so, according to your usage whether it is light usage or heavy usage is better according to your usage, you can purchase and use them. and then, again in this also there are normal close, soft close systems and nowadays there are motorized like servo motor based telescopic channels are also available that it opens and closes in just a touch-based on your budget you can choose these materials accordingly kitchen accessories another major component that comes in the kitchen is kitchen accessories 

what does an architect do?

A lot of people don’t understand what an architect does. And the general public thinks that architects are engineers or that the same thing. And they’re not. 

 

what does an architect does, and what their role is? and if you want to be one what that looks like.  there are a few different kinds of architects, there are design architects, there are technical architects who are good at understanding how things go together,  like building details, all the systems that go into a building, and the technical aspects of a building, and then business architects – people who are good at understanding how a business is operated, but may not be that that well-tuned when it comes to designing or the technical aspects. So if you’re thinking about hiring an architect or you want to become an architect just keep in your mind, that there’s not just one track that you have to be on. 

 

So the primary role of an architect is a  “conductor of buildings”, like in music, the conductor knows what all of the instruments should be playing, but may not know how to play every single instrument in the symphony or whatever the band or whatever it is. And that’s really what an architect does: they focus on how they can assemble all these instruments to make something that makes a lot of sense.

 

Now an architect is a  jack-of-all-trades in a lot of ways. An architect needs to know a lot about the HVAC, the plumbing, the electrical, the details,  like how the Assembly’s carpentry, tilework.  All of the trades jacks-of-all-trades is the architect’s job on top of understanding code, understanding how a project is going through, coordinating with a client, making sure that they understand the process and what is happening, and serving as a middleman between the client and the contractor. To sort of, like break things down, so that everybody is on the same page.

 

There are parts of engineering that an architect does, but the architect doesn’t necessarily do structural engineering for the building.  Architects can do that, but most architects unless they’re more towards that technical side, don’t do that because it’s a liability. They’ll hire someone else and they do that with pretty much everything that they do. They hire sub-consultants that then advise them on what they should do. And that so a structural engineer, a civil engineer,  mechanical engineer – those type of engineers and architects will we’ll hire  to be a part of their team and then the architect becomes the  conductor, making sure that all of those parts of the team makes sense,

 

The architects have to understand everything that is going into a building and make it work essentially. And make it beautiful. That’s, what the architect does, it’s the architect’s job to make sure that all of these things coming together, make sense for what the client wants in terms of an aesthetic appearance. And then when construction starts make sure that the contractor whoever’s building the project is adhering to what the architect is drawn. The “design intent” is what it’s called.  So the drawings communicate the design intent to the contractor and then the contractor is supposed to build to that design intent, but lots of things get missed in drawings or maybe can get overlooked, is maybe a better way to put it and it’s the architect’s job to be on-site, to be able to point out different things maybe the architect is looking at.

 

When a contractor takes it on a job. It’s their job to understand all that stuff, but sometimes things get missed so the architect is there to say  “hey, this is important, we need to make sure this gets hit”. So, or this certain requirement gets met. So, that’s the best way to describe what an architect does, is do the design, make sure that everything makes sense from a functional and programmatic point of view, and then coordinate all the sub-consultants that are putting their stuff inside the building, all the things that make the building work, make sure that that can be incorporated and doesn’t detract from the beauty of the architecture and make sure that it works.

Pros & Cons of Solar Panels

 Solar panels are a great green solution for your home improvement, however, where there are advantages there are also disadvantages, we will unfold both sides of the coin. 


Taking into consideration a 3kW system, which is the standard size for the average Kerala home, we’ll break down aspects such as the costs, savings and so much more! Solar panels have become increasingly popular in the domestic market, and with good reason! Let’s dive into the advantages first! 


1. They’re a low-carbon energy source. The way a solar PV system works is by converting sunlight into electricity. Because the sun is one of nature’s most abundant and free resources,    switching to solar panels will not only make you more energy-efficient but it is undoubtedly a positive step towards a greener world. For a typical household, solar panels could save around one tonne of carbon dioxide per year, which means just one installation can offset approximately 25 tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime. 


2. You can reduce your utility bill. The average Kerala home has an annual energy consumption of about 3,200 – 4,100 kilowatt-hours, and a 3kW system has an output of 4000-kilowatt hours, meaning that – in perfect conditions – your panels could produce 83-106% of your energy needs. Moneywise, this is a potential saving of up to Rs. 25000 on your bills, annually. Although, the actual amount you will save would depend on several factors, such as your power consumption, the price you pay for electricity, and the number of sunshine hours your house gets. 


3. Solar panels have a long product lifespan. You can expect your solar panels to have a lifespan of 25-30 years, and most reputable manufacturers offer product warranties of 10-25 years. Given the previous example, this means that over the lifespan of your solar panel you could potentially save a minimum amount of Rs.7,50,000. This is not at all a bad outcome, considering it’s without using any additional solar panel funding options 


4. Little maintenance is required.   Another great thing about solar panels is that they barely require any maintenance once they’ve been installed. The main thing you need to do is ensure nothing is blocking your panels from getting sunlight – whether that’s fallen leaves or shadows being cast by nearby trees. And when it comes to keeping them clean, rainwater is usually enough to get rid of dust or grime, which could otherwise hamper their production ability. 


5. Solar panels are silent. Solar panels don’t have any moving components, which means they’re silent, making them perfect for residential areas. Once you’ve installed them on your roof you won’t even notice they are there. 


6. Solar panels can increase your property value. Solar panels can potentially increase the value of your property because of all the benefits that come with them. Naturally, the size of the system will affect just how much the value will increase. When it comes to the transfer of ownership, bear in mind that different families have different energy expenditure habits. So, one system may be adequate for some families and inadequate for others. 


7. You can easily scale up your system size. If you’ve installed a system and find yourself wanting a larger one,    you can easily add more panels onto your roof – if you have the roof space for it, of course. The size of your system will depend on your energy needs and goal. Some people want their panels to cover most of their consumption, while others want to cover just parts of it. So, if you started conservatively, but later on want to have a larger system, you can quite easily install more, after obtaining approval from the authority


8. With a storage solution, they provide more energy independence. If you’re not home during the daytime, when your solar panels generate the most electricity, having a solar battery can be a beneficial add-on. This gives the flexibility of storing the energy and then using it when you need it.


9. Solar panel subsidies and funding options. Finally, one of the benefits of solar panels is that up to 40% subsidy is available for on-grid solar systems in Kerala, you have several financing options too. What’s available to you depends on where you live. 

In Kerala, ANERT is providing solar loans, in association with reputed banks. 

 

Although solar panels can offer some great benefits, there are key drawbacks to be aware of, too. 


1. High upfront costs. To begin with, the upfront costs for installing solar panels are quite high. You can expect on average to pay between Rs. 1,90,000 to 2,25,000 for a 3kw system. Taking the annual savings on your bills into account, the payback time can be 6-10 years. Using electric vehicles and induction cooking systems can make your ROI period much earlier than this. 


For some, this can be too long of a wait and therefore not financially feasible. However, if you are after a green solution with long-term benefits, there will almost always be high setup costs. So bear in mind that there aren’t many cheaper alternatives to solar panels. 


2. Limitations with your roof. Your roof space and direction play a huge part in how big of a system size you can get – or if a solar panel system is worth it at all! So if you have a small roof, you may only be able to install a limited number of panels, which typically means a smaller capacity. You could install highly efficient panels, although that comes in at a higher price. With regards to the direction of the roof, in the northern hemisphere, a south-facing is optimal, while east and west-facing are also fine. However, for the panels to work efficiently they should also be free from any shade. 


3. Solar panel performance is dependent on sunlight. A key criticism is that your panels won’t generate any electricity at night when the sun has gone down, as they only work when there’s sunlight. This means that you’ll see higher performance in the summer than in the winter when there are fewer hours of sunlight. A common misconception, though, is that it needs to be hot for solar panels to function 


4. Low-efficiency rating. Currently, an average solar panel efficiency rating is between 15-20% – meaning that 80 % of the solar energy hitting the panels is not being converted into electricity. The result is, that houses with very small roofs may not be able to have a large enough array to generate sufficient electricity. However, even with the current level of efficiency, for normal roofs, solar panels can more than sufficient power your household needs. That being said, technology is constantly improving, so we are likely to see an increase in efficiency rating in the future. 


5. The manufacturing process can be environmentally-damaging. There are corrosive chemicals involved in the solar panel manufacturing process. Most of these chemicals are not unfamiliar some of them are also present in other products like our mobile phones and laptops. But if not handled properly, they can be damaging to humans as well as to the environment. Additionally, the solar panel manufacturing process can require a lot of energy, which in turn can emit greenhouse gases. Although, they are still a far greener solution than coal or natural gases. 


6. Solar panels are fixed at their installed location. Once you’ve installed solar panels, they’re fixed in position. It’s quite cumbersome and not cost-effective to de-wire and unmounts your system, so if you choose to move houses you’ll likely need to leave your panels behind. That being said, as mentioned earlier, it will potentially increase your resale value. 


7. Solar panel aesthetics. This is a very subjective opinion, but installing solar panels on your roof can dramatically change the way your house looks like. Some people enjoy how solar panels look on their roofs, while others see them as an eye-sore. Fortunately, some companies offer solar panels with a more aesthetic focus, making them look more like normal roofs. Although at the moment these are not as cost-effective as standard solar panels. 

Hopefully, by now you have quite a holistic overview of solar panels – both their pros and cons – so that you can make your own informed decision.