Solar energy is becoming more and more popular for home energy, but the products needed and the installation makes getting started with solar energy generation costly. For those homeowners who feel they have the experience and knowledge level needed to install their own solar energy system, there is guidance. There are precautions to take and the correct steps and methods to use to do the job correctly. There is no room for error with installing a solar system if you want it to work properly and be safe.
Will Your Roof Support Solar Panels?
Perhaps before you even consider adding solar panels to your roof, you should call dependable roofing companies such as Denver’s Roofing Company to inspect your roof and ascertain its condition. If the roof is damaged, weak, or at the end of its lifespan or close to it, replacing the roof might be the first step in going solar. You can tell the roofing company that you plan on adding a solar energy system and they will guide you to the correct roofing choices to make.
The solar panels will need a good strong base to sit on. A dependable, licensed, and the insured roofing company can be very helpful. They need to follow good roofing rules and use a top-quality product such as RoofTec.
7 Steps to Installing Solar Panels
There are solar panel companies who offer their solar products with company installation or with good instructions for homeowner installation. There are solar installations for both on the grid and off the grid installation.
· Step I: You must decide which direction the solar panels should face and then install the mounting structure securely. The mounting structure provides a strong base for the whole solar system so do it correctly. How well the solar panels perform depends on their orientation. The preferred facing direction is south but east and west directions can also work. Please avoid having the panels face north. The mounting structure will also determine the solar panel tilt which should be figured according to the latitude of your home’s location. There are solar trackers to use as guidance.
· Step 2: Assemble the solar panels and attach them to the solar structure. Make sure all the nuts and bolts on the solar modules are well-fixed to the solar structure ensuring that everything stays in place and lasts longer.
· Step 3: Tackle the electrical wiring with care and precision. MC4 connectors are what this system uses to connect solar panels. These are universal connectors and will work with any kind of solar panel. These MC4 connectors make solar array wiring simpler. If there are a series of panels, you will have to connect the positive wire to the negative wire of adjoining modules. With a parallel electrical connection, the positive is connected to positive and the negative to negative leads. The reason for the difference is that the parallel connection keeps the voltage for every panel, and a series connection will increase the voltage to match it with a battery bank.
· Step 4: This is where you connect the solar panel with the solar inverter. The solar panel wires are connected to the backside of an inverter box. The positive wire from a solar panel is connected with the positive inverter terminal and the negative matches the negative terminal. There are other connections as well so that the solar battery, solar panel, and grid input are all connected correctly to the solar inverter producing electricity. Be careful, the inverter must be turned off while you are making the connections.
· Step 5: Now you are going to connect the solar inverter to the solar battery. If this installation is off the grid, the battery is not optional and is used for storing power backup. On-grid systems also benefit from batteries. The battery is attached to the solar inverter for recharging it using the solar panel and the grid. The positive terminals on each are connected.
· Step 6: The connection between the solar inverter and the grid requires plugging it into the main power switchboard. Then it gets power from the grid. The output wire is then connected to the board that supplies electricity to the home. In addition, a metering device is needed to keep track of the extra energy that will be generated by the solar panels.
· Step 7: Now you start the solar inverter through the solar panel and the grid. This is done when all the connections are properly made and we turn on the mains. There will be a digital display to show the electricity generated by the solar unit each day. This display will also show the supply voltage and the current or amp from the solar panel and other information.
If you have any doubts at all about your qualifications to work with electricity and do the above connections, consider hiring a licensed electrician to do these parts for you. You can also use the installers from the solar panel supplier. But, most importantly, make sure all the directions are read carefully and understood before starting the job. Do not skip steps and make sure every step is done correctly before moving to the next step. Test and inspect the system one last time before turning the system on.
Before you start installing the solar system, you will need a permit approved and there are a lot of electric codes to learn and follow. When the solar system parts arrive, inspect everything for missing parts or shipping damage. Make sure everything is as advertised and what you need. Look at the warranty to make sure it is as promised. Now plan the job by adding in safety precautions including wearing a harness that is securely attached to the top of the roof. Each person working on the roof needs to wear hard hats, gloves, safety glasses, and lightweight shoes with rubber soles.
If you have any doubts about your ability to follow the directions and safely work high up on the roof or with electrical components, get professional installation help. A solar power system is only as good as the installation and there is little if any room for mistakes.
*Photos by Vivint Solar