Moving into a new home can be fun and, as a new homeowner, power is important. So, this solar panel installation guide seeks to educate you about all things solar when it comes to power needs.
The thrill of starting with new things like solar can make you feel less stressed. It’s cheap and climate-friendly to use solar energy in your home. As a homeowner, you already have open roof space spanning about 100 square feet and above, it is good enough to accommodate solar panels.
For this reason, we have put together this post to serve as a handy guide to help you achieve your goals of having a solar-powered home.
If you are interested in knowing how to install solar panels yourself then you will need a great solar panel installation guide to assist you. There are a lot of things you need to know:
How Solar Panels Work – Benefits And Downsides
Knowing the exact way to channel free solar panels for home use is important. There are few main parts of the solar panels starting with the solar panel itself which comprises photovoltaic (PV) cells that create energy out of sunlight.
Energy is formed from an inverter that forms alternating current (AC) from the direct current (DC) of solar power. It is fitted with a controller (surge protector) that regulates the electricity and protects the batteries. The batteries are vital for secluded homes. They can be costly and are not wired to a grid.
The main advantage of powering your home with solar technology is that it provides a pollution-free energy source for your environment. Also, adding solar panels to your homes makes them more valuable.
Although solar is a great choice to prevent rural homes from spending more on energy, it comes with its own extra expenses for homeowners that are near large coal operations and hydro dams. Also, having solar panels in your home causes a slight increase in your monthly insurance premium.
The Types of Solar Panels And The State of Your Roof
Every homeowner can choose from one out of the three main types of solar panels according to their needs.
Monocrystalline silicon panels are more expensive but smaller and give more effective electricity rates. Thin-film solar panels offer less electricity at a low cost and consume much space. Polycrystalline silicon panels have moderate efficiency and cost.
The average warranty for a solar panel or inverter is 25 years, and it will be better if you update an overdue roof before installing solar. But installing solar panels on your roof can lengthen the life span because it protects it from tough elements.
Solar Panel Installation Guide – The Cost Of Solar Panels
There is no exact cost of home solar panel installation because it depends largely on the size of the system your house needs. To calculate the estimate, multiply your daily energy usage in kilowatts by 0.25.
The figure you get is the size of the solar panel system you should get. Another determinant is whether you intend to lease, buy, or enter a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
You don’t pay a high upfront cost when leasing solar panels. The solar panel installation leasing companies spread the payment monthly because it is their property and their profit does not come from the homeowner but the Investment Tax Credit (ITC). Removing high initial cost has contributed to the increase of homeowners who have access to solar.
You are going to spend high on initial cost but you also gain because of the extra high tax credits and ROI you get. The system remits 30 percent of its cost to the federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). That means buying a solar system of $20,000 will add $6,000 to the federal tax bill of any customer.
The Power Purchase Agreement is just in the same setup as a normal electricity bill. The system is owned by a third party company while the homeowner pays only for the generated electricity. More people are currently embracing this style.
Cost of Solar Installation
Before choosing a solar panel contractor, ensure you have multiple estimates to do a price comparison and get reviews. The estimate should consider several things like your climate, sun exposure on your roof, and the roof design. Make sure that the professional you choose has a license and gives you a warranty.
Considerations Involved In Buying A Solar System
Before you go ahead to buy a solar system, you must consider some things.
- Warranty: Note how long the warranty lasts and the clauses that are in the contract. If there’s a missing clause or any condition that would cause ineffectiveness of the warranty, ensure that you settle it before making your purchase.
- Verify the certification: Ensure that the company you go to for your solar system installation is reputable and accredited. Go through their testimonials and certification properly so that you have an idea if the company is good enough for you to patronize them.
- Installation Standards: Don’t proceed with a solar panel installation until you are sure that you have done a complete inspection of the roof and found out the best angles. Also, ensure the roof has the strength required to carry the weight of the panels.
DIY Solar Installation – How Skilled Are You?
The solar equipment will always come with instructions and expert directions together with controller automation. This may make you confident in your ability to fix the panels on your own but it does not guarantee that the system you built will be durable and efficient.
There is a chance that after a few months your panel will have certain problems like high-temperature changes, humidity in the panel or it may be totally damaged.
The instructions are not enough to fix the panels, it is important to have the skills. The panels are strong and can withstand very bad weather situations.
If you feel like installing your solar panel with only a solar panel installation guide or manual, that’s great. But then the bulk of your time will be spent on research and acquiring experience, especially in electrical wiring and soldering. This is to ensure that the components are rightly placed to maximize sunlight even in bad weather.
If you insist on doing the installation on your own then you have to know where to buy a solar inverter system and kits you will need to finish the solar system.
When you decide to make your purchase from sites like eBay, ensure that you scrutinize it for quality. Oftentimes the cells advertised online have been used or failed quality control tests, so are careful.
The main materials needed to construct the solar power system on the rooftop has to be sourced. When you do so, it takes away the stress of getting worked up over the contractor’s markups and the cost of installation and wiring.
Some of the tips that will help in purchasing materials include:
- Solar cells: make sure that you assess the manufacturer and the seller of the solar cells if you’re making an online purchase. Most of them offer solar cells from China which are more affordable but of questionable quality.
The ones from Japan have moderate prices and performance but the most expensive and highest quality products are the American solar cells. Consider your budget before you make a choice. You can even buy a few cells first to test it on some home appliances before you make a big purchase.
- Tools: A solder and a soldering iron are necessary. Other tools include solder paste, flux saw, a wooden board, and protective glasses. You also need a multimeter to measure voltage and amperage. Arm yourself with a ruler and pencil.
You will need other materials like blocking diodes, glass sheets, inverter, junction box, sealant, tile crosses, tab and bus ribbons, heat shrink tubing, terminal block, and aluminum angle bar.
Write down all the necessary materials and find a shop where you can buy them. You may have to shuffle between offline and online stores before you get what you need.
Building Your Own Solar Panel System
When you have gotten all the needed materials for the system, then you can proceed with the building. To ease your work, buy a pre-configured solar panel kit, it comes with inverters and the main solar panel PV system.
Ensure you check if the parts are complete. A complete set should have:
- DC cables
- Electrical plan for making permits
- Waterproof junction box
- Disconnect switches
- A subpanel
Check that everything is in the kit.
DIY Solar Installation Costs
The cost of buying panels wholesale has reduced and they are cheaper than ever. Now you can get them at the rats of $1 per watt. The ideal cost of a cell should not be more than $1.3 for one watt.
It is easy to calculate the amount it will cost you by using the dollar per watt rate to refer to the amount of money that you have for producing the electricity.
For instance, the average cost of electricity for homeowners is $3.05 per watt, and that is the regular cost to purchase a 6kW system. This implies that it will cost you around $18,300 without tax credits and rebates.
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DIY Solar Panels – Reviewing The Benefits And Pain Points
When you install the solar panels by yourself, you end up saving more than when it is done by a professional.
The cost of solar kits is now dirt cheap when compared to hiring a professional with the least price being at $7 per watt. This means the least you will spend on installation for a 5kW system is $35,000.
But when you do a self-installation, you do not pay the expenses for installation and so you spend around $4/watt and save about $15,000 when you install a $5kW system.
With DIY, you can easily buy solar kits either online or in any hardware store around you. You can also buy the home solar kit and proceed immediately with the installation as soon as your materials are complete. But if you leave the job to a professional installation company, they may bring the equipment and schedule another time for the installation.
Another benefit is that you can accumulate the energy and channel the spillover to the grid. There are companies ready to pay for electricity.
However, installing a solar panel yourself is not advisable because there are many complications with the setup process. Watching DIY tutorials is not enough to tell you what you’re doing wrong with the installation unless you eventually do it.
This involves making mistakes and spending more in the long run. But then if you have some knowledge of electrical and construction work the Installation of a solar power system on your own will not be so tedious.
Precautions To Note Before Installing A Solar Panel
- Let your solar panels be installed in a position where you are sure it will receive maximum sunshine daily.
- There should be nothing to block the sunlight from reaching the panel otherwise it will lead to low accumulation of energy and in turn, cause low production of electricity.
- Although solar light is currently being used as a popular source of renewable energy, it may cease to function when there is no sunlight or the light is too low to be converted to electricity.
It is increasingly becoming the norm for homeowners to use solar technology as a source of power for their residence, and many homeowners are joining the bandwagon.
However, before you go for it, you must know what you’re getting into and we believe that this solar panel installation guide will serve as a good reference for you and help you walk the ropes.