Does your heart skip a beat when you hear the words “residential solar” or “how to install solar panels?” If you’re like us, or anyone else who wants to get off the grid while remaining in town, then the answer should be yes!
Before we get into the process of solar installation, though, we’d like to start this guide off with a couple of small disclaimers.
1. Solar panel installations mean working with electricity which can be dangerous. Make sure that your house is powered down before you do any tricky wiring!
2. Solar arrays can be expensive and daunting to install, so it’s easy to feel like you’ve become overwhelmed by the solar installation process. Even if you’re hiring them for peace of mind, a pro-solar installation company is well worth the money.
Clear as mud? Great! Now, on with the guide.
1. Assess Your Solar Needs
Every house requires different amounts of energy to run, has a different roof layout, and will receive a different amount of sunlight throughout the day. So, check your energy bills and measure the sunlight your roof receives to make sure that you can install enough solar to run your home without any worries!
You can also consider installing solar panels in your yard for maximum exposure if you have the right kinds of solar panels.
2. Set Up Your Mounting System
Every solar array is different, so you’ll be building a custom module to fit your roof. In general, the steps you want to follow are:
- Measure your panels and map out where they’ll go on paper.
- Mark & measure your roof or yard to confirm your measurements.
- Move your frame materials to the installation site.
- Assemble and secure your frame in the location it will live in.
- Run your electrical conduits.
It’s also important to remember to make sure you can fit underneath the frame for services and solar panel installations down the road. If you install your panels flush, then you’re just asking for trouble.
3. Place Your Solar Panels
This part is relatively self-explanatory. Grab a friend or hire help and start attaching your panels to the frame. Use brackets, bolts, or clamps (or whatever else your types of solar panels require) to position the panels.
4. Wire Your Panels
Use well-insulated wiring to connect your panels. Make sure to keep the wiring tidy.
Afterward, connect your wires to your charge controller or inverter (depending on your panels) and then to your battery. Depending on the location of your installation, this may involve drilling into your roof, so be sure to come fully prepared to waterproof any holes you may create.
Finally, ground the panels to the metal frame they sit on and then, by extension, to a grounding rod that’s planted into your yard. This step will prevent short circuits, damage from lightning, fires, or fatal shocks down the road.
At this point, it’s easy to become intimidated and overwhelmed, so don’t be afraid to reach out to your local solar companies for help.
5. Test Out Your System
You should take this process in a series of steps. Those steps are:
- Physically check all electrical connections to ensure that wires are making good contact and that everything is securely mounted.
- Check all solar panel mounting points and mounting racks for solid, immovable connections.
- Check to make sure that your battery is hooked up correctly.
- Check to make sure that your battery is hooked up to your house’s internal circuitry correctly.
- Turn on your solar array, let it charge, and start switching on breakers one-by-one.
Once this process is completed successfully, then that’s it. You’ve successfully installed your new solar panels!
Still Have Questions About How to Install Solar Panels at/on Your Home?
No problem! This is another situation where you can reach out to your local solar professionals for their advice. If you happen to live in San Jose, check the electrical panel installation San Jose here. (You can also read more of our solar articles!)
Either way, we have confidence that you can start getting off the grid now that you’ve read our “how to install solar panels” guide.