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 General

What is PV?

How do we generate electricity from the sun?

What is a PV module?

BIPV
What is BIPV?

How are BIPV systems used?

What do the terms watt (W), kilowatt (kW), and kilowatt-hour (kWh) represent?

What is the difference between AC and DC electricity?    

Grid Connection
What is the difference between stand alone and grid-connected BIPV systems?

What happens if a power cut occurs?

BIPV Systems
How much does a BIPV system cost?

What is the capacity (kWp) required by my premise?

What is the BIPV system lifetime?

Do I need to maintain my BIPV system?

Will a BIPV system cause my roof to leak?

What about location of the BIPV systems? What must I know to ensure the BIPV systems are installed to give the best performance for my house/building?

What is the required area to install PV modules?     

Can I add on more PV modules and increase the size of my BIPV system in future?

Are BIPV systems only meant for new buildings? Can I retrofit to existing buildings?

Why should I consider installing a BIPV system?   

Do I have to select certain appliances to be powered by the PV system?

What is Grid-Connected BIPV?

How do I know if my Grid-connection is safe?       

How do I know if my system is working well?

Policy

How do I get my system connected to the grid?

Net-Metering
What is Net Metering and how does it work?

Will I be eligible for it?

What is the buy-back rate like under Net Metering?

What is the billing mechanism like under Net Metering?

How can I get my BIPV system connected up for Net-Metering?

 


 General

What is PV?
PV is the acronym used to represent the term photovoltaic. Photovoltaic was derived from the Greek word φώς phos meaning “light” and from the name of Allesandro Volta, the Italian physicist to which the electrical unit, volt was named in his honour. So, photovoltaic literally means light-electricity which is exactly what photovoltaic materials and equipment do-convert light energy to electricity.

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How do we generate electricity from the sun?
In simple terms, just shine light onto a solar cell and you will get electricity.
In more detailed terms, PV works when a certain semiconducting material is exposed to sunlight, releasing small amounts of electricity known as the photoelectric effect.
The photoelectric effect is the conversion of electromagnetic radiation (photons) to electrical voltage by a material.
Sunlight is made up of photons and when it strikes a PV cell, they will either be absorbed, reflected or passed through the cell. The absorbed photons generate electricity and the energy of the photon is transferred to an electron in the atom of the PV cell which is made up of a semiconducting material.
The energized electron in the atom of the semiconducting material then escapes from its normal position and forms part of the current in an electrical circuit.  When the electron leaves its normal position, an empty spot forms. The voltage needed to push the current through external loads is provided by a built-in electrical field. This is a special electrical property of the PV solar cell.

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What is a PV module?
A PV module is a made up of a group of solar cells assembled in a commercial unit, ready for installation.
Voltage for a solar cell is about 0.6 V and the maximum short circuit current is over 3 A. As the voltage is insufficient for many loads, the solar cells have to be connected in series.
One PV module has typically 36 cells and modules are connected in series as a string and  depending on the application also in parallel to the array. Thus a solar generator consists of several strings (modules in series) connected in parallel.
A PV module normally has a specified power rating and given a performance warranty by the manufacturer for 20 to 30 years

 What types of PV solar cells are there?
There are two main types of solar cells available in the market today. Poly-crystalline solar cells have the highest market share, followed by the mono-crystalline technology and amorphous silicon. Copper Indium diSelenide (CIS) and Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) are new technologies.

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BIPV
What is BIPV?
Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) is the buzz word used to describe multifunctional solar products that generate electricity while serving as construction materials. There is a large variety of BIPV products available in the market today. They are not only flexible in shape but can come in various colours and functions. BIPV can provide benefits and contribute to enhancing the attractiveness (or uniqueness) of a building’s design.

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How are BIPV systems used?
BIPV systems can be aesthetically integrated into the building from the initial stages or retrofitted to an existing building. BIPV can be used as a: Roof, Façade, Skylight Atrium,Awning

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What do the terms watt (W), kilowatt (kW), and kilowatt-hour (kWh) represent?
A watt (W) is a unit of power. A kilowatt (kW) is a thousand watts and a megawatt (MW) is a million watts. A watt-hour (Wh) is a unit of energy, or power multiplied by time. A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is a thousand watt-hours and a megawatt-hour is a million watt-hours (MWh). The electricity you purchase from the utility is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) and 1kWh is termed as 1 unit. Most single-family homes use 20 kWh or more per day. A refrigerator uses 1.2 kWh per day, and a computer uses 2.4 kWh per 8-hour workday.

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What is the difference between AC and DC electricity?    
Alternating current (AC) electricity is the type of electricity used by lights, electrical appliances, and machines in Malaysia. The voltage of this electricity is constantly alternating. PV modules, however, produce direct current (DC) electricity, which has a constant voltage. This electricity has to be converted to AC by an electronic equipment called an inverter in order for it to be used by your electrical devices. The wires and inverter causes a slight loss of energy, so the AC output is about 90 to 95 % of the DC electricity.

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Grid Connection
What is the difference between stand alone and grid-connected BIPV systems?
In a grid-connected BIPV system, batteries are not required for storage. The utility’s grid itself (TNB, SESCO or SESB) will act as storage and electricity from the utility will supplement the PV generated electricity.
For stand alone systems, batteries are required to store the energy generated by PV. This system is mostly used in remote or rural areas where the main electricity supply from the utility is not available.

Grid-connected BIPV System

Stand alone BIPV System

 

 

 

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BIPV Systems
How much does a BIPV system cost?
Check out local BIPV systems pricing trend

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 What is the capacity (kWp) required by my premise?

 It depends on the household load consumption. For example, a 5 kWp system can save approximately up to RM150 on the monthly electricity bill (based on current TNB electricity rates with effect from 1 June 2006).

 

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What is the BIPV system lifetime?
The performance of the PV modules is guaranteed between 15 to 30 years (manufacturer specific). The PV having no moving mechanisms is meant to last for a long time. However, the performance may deteriorate between 10 to 20% over a 20 year period. For inverters, the warranty given by the manufacture is normally between 5 to 10 years (as stated by three leading inverter manufacturers in the world).

 

 


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What happens if a power cut occurs?
If a power cut occurs, the grid-connected BIPV system will automatically shut off. This is to ensure that electricity does not leak onto the national grid which may pose as a threat to the safety of those that may be working on the grid to restore power supply.

 

**The approved service providers will fill up the PV Generator Interconnection Application Form and submit it to PTM (MBIPV) for processing.

 

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Do I need to maintain my BIPV system?
A BIPV system has no moving parts, is silent in operation and requires no maintenance. As Malaysia is located close to the equator, there is abundant rainfall and therefore, the PV modules do not require regular cleaning. Nonetheless, it is a good practice to ask your PV service provider to conduct periodic checks (every 2 years) on the inverter, cable tightness, system connections, and mounting structure.

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Will a BIPV system cause my roof to leak?
Most flat roof installations do not require penetrations therefore do not increase the chances of leaks happening. Instead a BIPV system can actually protect a flat roof beneath it from ultraviolet rays and leaks. The general rule to ensure that roof leaks do not happen is to never puncture a hole on the roof tile!

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What about location of the BIPV systems? What must I know to ensure the BIPV systems are installed to give the best performance for my house/building?
There are a few things to look out for. First of all, ensure that the PV modules are not shaded. Shading is highly critical as it can cause significant loss of energy. Shading may happen if your building is surrounded by other buildings or by tall trees around the area.
The second point to remember is to choose the best location when installing the BIPV systems such as at the highest part of the house/building. Lastly, ensure that the tilt angle for the PV modules are at the recommended angle that is, less than 30 degrees. Since Malaysia is located close to the equator, installations with more than 30% tilt will have a lower energy yield.

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What is the required area to install PV modules?     
Basically an 8 to 10m2 area is needed for a 1 kWp PV modules for monocrystalline or poly crystalline technology. These two are the most common technologies. The other technology would be the amorphous silicon type and the area required is about 16 to 20 m2 per kWp capacity.

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Can I add on more PV modules and increase the size of my BIPV system in future?
Yes, you definitely can. The only limiting factor would be the availability of roof space as well as your budget!  Also, do not forget to ensure that your inverter matches your PV modules

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Are BIPV systems only meant for new buildings? Can I retrofit to existing buildings?
BIPV systems are not only meant for new buildings but can be retrofitted to existing buildings as well.

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Why should I consider installing a BIPV system?    
A BIPV system reduces or eliminates the amount of electricity you purchase from the utility (TNB, SESCO or SESB).  A BIPV system also reduces your monthly electricity bill and acts as a hedge against future electricity price increase. The electricity generated is clean, renewable and reliable.
By installing a BIPV system, you are helping the community reduce the peak load on the utility’s grid (TNB, SESCO or SESB) and you can also provide additional electricity for the grid when you generate more than you use during the day.

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Do I have to select certain appliances to be powered by the PV system?
No, the solar electricity is fed through your main electrical distribution system via an inverter and can be used by any lights and appliances just like utility electricity.

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What is Grid-Connected BIPV?
Grid Connected BIPV means that the BIPV system is connected to the utility electricity grid, so that the electricity generated by the BIPV system feeds the local load and sends the surplus electricity into the electricity grid when the user demand is low. There are no batteries in this system to store the PV generated electricity as the grid acts as your ‘store’. During the day when there is less electricity consumption, the excess electricity is fed-back into the grid. During the evening when the electricity consumption increases, electricity would be drawn from the grid.

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How do I know if my Grid-connection is safe?       
Your PV service provider will install the BIPV system in accordance with the installation guidelines as detailed in the Malaysian Standard MS 1837:2005 Installation of Grid-Connected Photovoltaic (PV) System. Before the system is interconnected to the utility grid, it will be tested and commissioned by the approved PV service provider and witnessed by he utility’s representative. The service provider will also have to send a test and commissioning report to PTM (MBIPV).
It is thus essential to engage an approved PV service provider to carry out the competent installation of the PV systems.

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How do I know if my system is working well?
Your BIPV system installation includes a PV meter, which records the total electricity generated by the BIPV system. You can see the PV meter, which will be installed close to the TNB meter for residential consumers, and you can monitor the increasing amount of electricity generated and sent to the utility grid.  In addition to the above, your system will be monitored by a PV Monitoring Centre, being established under the MBIPV Project. The PV Monitoring Centre will monitor the performance of the BIPV installations under the MBIPV project, and prepare statistical monitoring reports of the BIPV Installations and oversee responses to all faults reported if problems are encountered.

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Policy

How do I get my system connected to the grid?
You will need to apply to interconnect your BIPV system with the utility’s grid system. This can be done by calling up your PV Service Provider (PVSP) and informing him/her of your interest.
 
The PVSP will obtain the PV Generator Interconnection Application Form through one of these  channels:

  • by downloading it from the website - PTM PV Form
  • obtaining it from the PTM office; or
  • obtaining it from the TNB District offices

After successfully filling up the forms, the PVSP will submit the forms to PTM (MBIPV) for processing. PTM (MBIPV) will verify the interconnection details and approve the application for grid connection. The approved application will then be processed by the utility (TNB for installations in Peninsular Malaysia). Please refer to Flowchart 1-Interconnection with TNB for more information on the process flow for interconnection                

Net-Metering
What is Net Metering and how does it work?
TNB Distribution has agreed for BIPV generating systems to be connected to its network on a Net-Metering concept for recording the electricity generated by the BIPV system. The BIPV generated electricity is fed back into the grid at the point of supply if it is not needed at the site at the time.
 
Net metering is a scheme to generate revenue for the electricity generated by the BIPV systems to be sold to the utility. It operates by deducting the electricity generated by the BIPV system (recorded by the PV meter) from the electricity used as purchased from the utility (recorded by the utility meter) to determine the “net” electricity the consumer uses and is required to pay for. The two meters will be placed side-by-side at the point of the utility’s electricity supply in the case of residential premises as shown below.
NNet Metering agreement will enable residential customers to ‘store’ the electricity on the TNB grid if they are not at home during the day (when PV is generating electricity) thus reducing or offsetting part of the electricity that would have been purchased from the utility for the day. This will reduce their electricity bill!

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Will I be eligible for it?

Yes, if you are a residential or commercial electricity customer in Malaysia with a BIPV installation whose capacity in kWp is less than the maximum demand of the consumer load.

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What is the buy-back rate like under Net Metering?

It is the same as the prevailing supply tariff. For residential consumers, the buy-back rate shall be the highest rate of the block tariff that they pay (RM 0.46per kWh in Peninsular Malaysia as of 1st July 2008 if the consumption is over 900 kWh per month, or lower according to the tariff block under the TNB’s tariff now in effect (from 1 July 2008).

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What is the billing mechanism like under Net Metering?

The electricity bill will record the total electricity generated from the BIPV system and the total electricity supplied by the utility, TNB. The TNB bill will then be for the net electricity supplied by TNB to the user. If the electricity generated from BIPV exceeds the total supplied by TNB for any period, the balance (surplus BIPV generated electricity, if any) shall be brought forward to the following month. TNB does not commit to pay for the surplus electricity from the BIPV installation. However, for residential consumers, the BIPV electricity generation is not expected to be more than their normal use over a yearly period

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How can I get my BIPV system connected up for Net-Metering?

Just call up your preferred approved service provider and inform them of your interest and they will carry out the necessary steps.



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