Installing Solar Panels

If you’ve decided not to use a professional solar panel installer, but to install your own solar panels, there are several factors you should take into consideration. In particular, you should consider the size of your solar panel system, as this will determine where and how you install it, and you should consider whether or not you want to tie your system to the power grid.

The Size of the Solar Panel System

How big is the solar panel system you are planning to install? Are you installing a system to power your whole home, or just a few small panels to reduce your monthly utility bill?

A large solar panel system is best installed on a south-facing side of your roof. You’ll want to check that there are no trees or buildings obstructing the sunlight. Large systems tend to be heavy, so make sure you know what you’re doing, or find a carpenter friend who does. Incorrectly installing a large solar panel array on your roof can compromise the structural integrity of your home.

If you only have a few panels that you’ll be installing, you can place them on your roof, on a pole, or leaning against a south-facing wall. Again, try to aim the solar panel southward in order to maximize the amount of sun your system will get each day.

Tie to Grid or Not?

Do you want to tie your solar panel system to the grid, or use it to charge 6 or 12-volt batteries? Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. A large, professional-grade solar panel array can actually generate more power than you use. In most states, the excess power can be sold back to the utility company, thus helping you pay off your solar panel investment sooner.

However, be warned that tying a solar panel system into the electrical grid is no simple matter. If you’re not an electrician, you should hire an electrician to do this part for you. Otherwise, you could seriously injure yourself or damage your solar panel system.

If you choose not to tie your solar panels into the grid, you’ll need several components – including a charge controller, an inverter, and a battery bank – to charge deep-cycle batteries. This method of collecting the energy you gain from the sun is far simpler than tying your array into the grid, and is the best choice if you only have a few panels that you plan to use for running appliances or electronics.

About the Author

Shannon Bell writes for Residential solar panels .org a non commercial blog focused on her photovoltaic experiences to help people understand how and why they should save energy investing in solar power. She writes on Solar Panels for Homes to help people learn how to start save energy from the scratch and then apply those experience to the next level.

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2 Responses to “Installing Solar Panels”

  1. Mathew April 28, 2010 at 3:25 pm #

    Those are very important decisions to make. However, you should take also into account how much space you effectively need per watt and how to make it look good. The worst that can happen is that your panel errodes within 2 years and looses energy output. Thats why it is also important to have a plan and too choose your materials carefully

  2. Solar Blog September 14, 2011 at 6:34 am #

    A great post – and if further proof was even required about the abilities of solar panels to provide a total source of energy, a world first is about to occur, as a catamaran is set to complete a circumnavigation of the globe – powered solely by solar power!

    Thanks for posting

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