APSL Solar Villages Project: Solar Roof Performance in Sri Lanka and Benefits to the Society

Sarath Wijesinghe and I. M. Dharmadasa

In the era of solar revolution taking place, solar roofs are mushrooming round the globe. In Sri Lanka also, solar roofs are becoming popular and the aim of this article is to provide real data to help the Sri Lankan community to understand the value of these projects. This in turn will accelerate the take up of solar roofs in the country by more families learning the benefits of solar roofs. For this series of articles, we have selected rather a large solar roof of 20 kW. Our next article will be on a small-scale solar roof of 5 kW for average families in Sri Lanka.

The solar roof selected for this article is from Kandy area. The photograph of the system is shown below, and the technical details of the system is given in the following Table.














The 20 kW solar roof installed at Kumburegama village, Kandy in Sri Lanka.

Location Kumburegama village in Kandy, Sri Lanka
Date of installation April 2018
Total power of the system 20 kW
Types of solar panels used 64 Canadian solar panels made from poly-crystalline Silicon.

Power out put of one panel is 325 W

DC to AC Inverter used Solax TL 20000 three phase (20 kW)
Total cost of the system 26 Lakhs of LKR in 2018 (Rs 2.6 Million)


Performance of the Solar Roof

This system is installed under the “Net Plus” scheme introduced by the Government of Sri Lanka. The performance of the solar roof during a day is given below. There are two charts to show the performance during a sunny day and a rainy/cloudy day. The system produces electricity from 7 am to 4 pm during the day and the total produced is fed to the national grid. A sunny day, the system produces 94.5 kWh (units), and a rainy/cloudy day produces 65.3 kWh.







The performance during a whole month is given by the following charts. Again, the data for a typical good month and a monsoon month are shown for comparison. A good month (March) produces 2,744 units and a monsoon month (November) produces 1,773 units.








The total production of electricity and exported to the national grid, during the year 2019 is given by the next chart. The average production per month is 1,965 units and the total for the whole year is 23,582 units.







Income and Simple Pay-back Period


The grid connection agreement according to the “Net Plus” scheme is for 20 years. The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) will pay Rs 22 per kWh for the first 7 years, and Rs 15 per kWh for the remaining 13 years. Solar panels can work up to 30 years, and after 20 years the system could be used according to the rules and regulations during that time.


Total generation per annum during the first 7 yrs      =  23,582 kWh

The total income per annum during the first 7 yrs     =  23,582 x 22 = Rs 518,804

Total cost of the system                                              =  Rs  2,600,000

Therefore, the simple payback period                        =  5.01 years.


The total income per annum after first 7 years           =  Rs 23,582 x 15 = Rs 353,730

The owner will receive an income of ~Rs 5.18 Lakhs per annum for two more years and ~Rs 3.53 Lakhs per annum for the next 13 years.

There will be slight changes to these figures due to ageing of the system, but these figures show the financial benefits to the owner of this system. By the end of 20 years contract, by spending Rs 26 Lakhs, the owner will receive Rs 82.3 Lakhs as the total return. These solar panels have a lifetime of ~30 years and the owner will enjoy free electricity for another 10 years subject to the system continue after 20 years, to use at home plus export the surplus to the grid receiving continuous income, during retirement.


Other Benefits of the System

The above figures indicate the financial benefits to the owner of the solar roof. In addition to these personal benefits, the owner contributes to many other social benefits.

  • This system provides significant carbon offset showing approximately 62 Tons per annum. This reduces emission of carbon dioxide and other polluting gas & particles to the atmosphere.
  • The system itself acts as a promotional system to encourage people to produce clean energy to use in the country, instead of producing energy by burning imported, expensive, and polluting coal, liquid, and gaseous fossil fuels.
  • In the future most of the cars will be electric, and the owner will benefit by having enough solar energy to charge the car free at home. Policies have already been announced in the UK, prohibiting manufacture of cars based on combustion engines, after 2030.


Authors of the Article

  1. Sarath Wijesinghe: Senior Power System and Grid Integration Engineer RWE Renewables UK (wijesinghe@rwe.com).
  2. M. Dharmadasa: Professor of solar energy researcher, and promoter of clean energy applications at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK (Dharme@shu.ac.uk).