Are you looking for a way to reduce your energy bills? Installing solar panels can be a great way to do just that. But, before you start shopping for solar panels, there are a few things you need to know. In this article, we will outline 4 easy steps to follow when installing solar panels. So, whether you are a first-time homeowner or an experienced DIYer, this guide is for you.
1) Complete a Site Survey With an Engineer
Before you even think about ordering solar panels, it’s important to know their compatibility with your home. You can have the best equipment in the world but if it doesn’t fit on your roof, there won’t be much point in investing in it at all.
A site survey should ideally be carried out by an engineer, but if you are hiring one yourself make sure they are not only accredited by a company but also experienced at carrying out surveys for solar panels.
They will need to assess factors such as whether or not your roof is facing the correct direction, where your meters are positioned, and whether trees near your property could obstruct the sun’s rays during certain times of the year.
This isn’t an exact science so don’t worry too much if they’re not 100% sure but it’s worth keeping in mind that an engineer’s job is to ensure the system works well and to your benefit, so you should consider hiring one who knows their stuff.
2) Secure the Right Permits
Before getting solar power panels installed, you usually need to secure all necessary permits. Solar panel installations vary depending on where they are located, so check with your county or city government to see if any permits are required. Check local zoning laws before starting your project to make sure you don’t violate any laws when adding solar panels.
Depending on where you live you may need to secure a permit before having solar panels installed. If this applies to you, make sure all necessary paperwork has been completed and received before any work begins. A verbal okay from the council isn’t enough; always get things in writing or insist upon electronic confirmation.
It can take anywhere between six weeks and months for permits to be granted so keep this in mind when planning your project timeline. Sometimes companies offer guaranteed turnaround times which are rarely an accurate representation of how long permits take to come through.
Once you have secured all necessary permits for your location, you’re ready for step three.
3) Order the Right Equipment
After getting all required legal documentation in order, it is time to purchase the equipment you will need for solar systems. Your order should include:
- Electrical inverter(s)
- Racking and rails for your solar panels
- Ground wire and fittings (if necessary)
It’s important not to jump the gun and order solar energy system until you’re sure they will fit well with your home’s aesthetics and your property’s design. If you are considering installing solar panels on shaded areas or parts of your roof that cannot accommodate them, speak with an engineer before making any final decisions.
There aren’t many remedies for this problem so it could be best to look into other options such as investing in ground-mounted systems. Also bear in mind that if you do decide to go ahead with a DIY installation, you will need a setup large enough to sustain a system designed for a house twice the size of yours. On a positive note, because the panels are self-contained you can add them to your system overtime if necessary.
You’ll also want to figure out which equipment works best for you for a solar power system. Your system size could limit what type of inverters are available from manufacturers, so consider whether you want central or string inverters when it’s time to place an order.
4) Get Your Solar Panels Installed
It’s important not to underestimate this part of the process. It’s rare for a solar panel installation to go wrong in a major way but it isn’t unheard of either. Any reputable installer should be able to provide you with a list of references from past clients and have no problems including testimonials from people who have been through their doors or called them up for advice.
If they don’t seem interested in doing so, alarm bells should be ringing. Make sure any work being done is checked by an engineer before completion and sign off on everything together before finally accepting the project.
The installation process includes:
- Installing the racking system on which your solar panels will sit
- Connecting your racking system to a ground wire that runs into the earth below the panel system
- Wiring together all of your electronics and components, such as electrical inverters, so they work in unison with one another
Remember that inverters change DC power produced by solar panels into the AC power appliances use. A central inverter distributes DC power to all points in a circuit whereas a string inverter only sends the current down its branch of the circuit due to being used with non-optimized solar panel arrays.
After this final step, you’re done and installed solar panels! Your own solar system will start generating energy and help you with your electricity bill.
1. How Many Solar Panels Are Needed To Power A House?
A residential solar system can come in a variety of sizes, depending on the amount of energy you’re looking to generate. If you want to know how many panels it will take to electrically power your household appliances and devices, add up all the gadgets and appliances you use during midday when there’s no cloud cover and other weather patterns affecting direct sunlight hitting your roof. This estimation will give you an idea of what kind of array size of panels you need.
2. Can I Install Solar Panels On My Home Myself?
Yes, you can install solar panels on your own. However, keep in mind that there are several options available for installation and many factors to consider before getting started (such as the condition of the roof and local laws and permits). Most homeowners choose to hire a professional installer or general contractor.
3. How Do I Pick An Installer?
There are multiple ways to find an installer: through referrals from trusted friends and family; searching your preferred internet listings; asking around at your local hardware store or solar-focused retail outlet; or by attending networking events hosted by local groups or businesses.
Once you’ve found some names, make sure they’re licensed and insured, and request references. Ask if the work will be completed by a company or individual, if it’s an individual, find out whether they’ve been running their business for a while and if they work alone (some contractors use helpers).
4. How Do I Prepare For Installation?
You can make sure your roof is ready to handle solar panels by having it inspected by a professional, especially if you’re planning on installing them yourself. The inspector should look at all parts of your roof that the installer will access (including the gutters, chimneys, overhangs, vents, and skylights), and help ensure there are no issues like worn-out shingles or broken tiles in need of replacement.
You also need to find out what kind of roof you have (shingled, metal, or flat), and whether it’s in good condition.
5. Where Do I Start?
Before signing a contract, read it carefully and be sure that you understand all the terms. Most contracts are valid for about one to two years, but some companies will not allow you to cancel within six months of installation.
You also need approval from your electricity supplier before installation can begin, call them to get this process started. A few companies specialize in obtaining these necessary approvals for their customers. If your installer is unable to get this confirmation on their own, they should provide you with suggestions on how to help speed up the process.