Oxygen FAQ

Up to date, expert answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) about oxygen supply systems, respiratory care and pulse oximetry written by OCC & collaborators.

Are solar powered PSA plants a good option? And what does PV refer to?

Solar is a very good power option. PV = photovoltaic – refers to the parameters by which solar panels harness electricity. Electricity is a major cost in PSA systems, so if it’s free, oxygen is essentially free. However, there are so many factors involved in solar design: latitude, how much sun you have, irradiance, cloud cover – it’s hard to generalize. In many parts of the world, including India and much of Africa, we see solar systems with batteries that have a 3-year payback. Problem is lack of funding.

Some of the challenges/considerations that need to be made when using solar options include:

Size:  You need to know the size needed. E.g., if your generator requires 12 kW, solar should be sized 60kW to take care of the needs of the entire system. Solar power does not work 24 hours, depending on where you are, so you need to consider this.

Area: For a 280 LPM system, electricity requirements are 20 kW, and require 120 kW with solar, and 12000 sq foot area. Managing area is a big challenge. If you can manage to allocate a 6000 square-foot area, you can maybe install solar in this area so that at least 50% of energy will be through solar means. There are also companies that can provide space to help. Electricity boards allow you to generate electricity in one place, and you can manage the electricity where you need it. The availability of this set up varies state by state.

Investment: Solar can be costly, but there are companies in India giving solar with a 15-year contract and fixed unit charges. In Bombay and Delhi – electricity rates average 9-10 rupees per unit, but with solar you can achieve 6, 6.5 rupees/unit – so it’s cheaper.

If you are using solar then it should be 5 times the actual electricity requirement of a generator.

FAQ by Assist International

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