Solar panel installation steps, tool & safety

Solar Panel Installation

A solar panel system is a group of panels combined together to absorb solar radiation and convert it into electricity for your home.

Depending on a number of conditions, solar panels can be installed in the following ways: on the ground, on rooftops, and in urban settings – on walls and balconies. All options have their advantages and disadvantages. Each has both general and specific installation characteristics.

To install, the panels need to be mounted on the roof (or wherever intended), connected to each other and to an inverter, and then connected to your home’s electrical system so the energy reaches your devices and appliances.

The only nuance is the high lighting requirements for the panels. Therefore, the correct choice of system installation location becomes a crucial factor when designing a solar photovoltaic system.

Three main factors affect the efficiency of solar panels, which must be considered during installation:

Tilt angle: To ensure even illumination, the panel’s tilt angle must be chosen correctly. The optimal tilt angle is considered to be equal to the geographical latitude (typically 40-41 degrees for Armenia).

Orientation: The solar panel must be oriented so that the maximum amount of solar energy falls on it. The optimal orientation is usually south.

Shading: Shading can reduce the panel’s efficiency factor. It is important to install solar panels so that the incident solar radiation is not blocked by nearby buildings, trees, or other objects.

If you want to try installing solar panels yourself to save money or test your abilities on a complex project, industry experts only recommend DIY installation for small solar projects, such as in a garden or summer cottage. They advise against self-installing large solar plants intended to power an entire home.

Here are the typical steps for installing solar panels:

1. Project planning

Installation is complex, so don’t risk your investment by improper installation. Take time to properly study your project and prepare all necessary equipment before starting work.

Assess compatibility

First, check if your property meets the conditions for solar panel installation. Your roof needs sufficient surface area, and the number of panels depends on your energy needs. You’ll also need adequate sunlight, so you may need to remove shading objects like overhanging tree branches. Then ensure your roof and panels are in good condition and won’t need replacement soon.

Estimate energy needs

Decide if you want your solar system to provide all or just part of your home’s energy. Study your typical energy consumption to get an appropriately sized system.

Obtain permits

Solar installations may require construction permits. Check local regulations. You may also need permits for electrical work. This can take time, so do it early. Solaron has years of experience with all administrative and technical aspects of solar installations, and their experts can provide necessary guidance.

Look into solar incentives 

Many Armenian regions offer solar incentives to encourage switching to solar energy, usually through financing, tax credits, or subsidy programs. However, some incentives and discounts only apply if installed by professionals. Research available incentives. 

Ensure safety

Rooftop installation carries additional risks. Ensure proper safety harnesses and roof anchors, follow electrical safety rules. You may want to consult an electrician about home wiring before proceeding. Use PPE like gloves, safety glasses, and steel-toed shoes. Remove metal jewelry.

Ground installation: If installing on grassy ground, consult local authorities before digging to avoid damaging gas and power lines.

Prepare equipment

Typically needed:

• Battery

• Charge controller

• Electrical components

• Energy meter

• Heat sink

• Inverter

• Mounting hardware

• Photovoltaic panels

• Racking system

Tools needed include:

• Chalk line

• Drill 

• Electrical tools

• Metal cutting tool

• Marker

• Roof sealant

• Screwdrivers

• Tape measure

• Wrenches 

2. Install racking

With everything ready, you can start installation. Begin with the racking system that will mount the solar panels to your roof. Measure the available roof space, then lay out the panel design on the ground to fit that area.

You can use a chalk line on the roof as a guide. Install the roof mounting system per manufacturer instructions. Seal any roof penetrations with roofing tar or silicone caulk.

3. Install solar panels

Attach the solar panels to the mounting system using the provided clamps to secure them. Then use wiring to interconnect each panel.

4. Install heat sink

A heat sink is recommended though not required. It dissipates heat generated by the panels to improve energy efficiency. If yours don’t have integrated heat sinks, install external ones per manufacturer guidance.

5. Install charge controller

The charge controller regulates power. Install it between the panel array and battery bank so electricity can flow through the system to the batteries.

6. Install solar battery bank

Any surplus energy your system doesn’t use immediately can be stored in batteries for later use, like during outages or at night. If using multiple batteries, they need to be interconnected, then connected to the charge controller.

7.Install inverter

The power from your panels and batteries is direct current (DC). Your home uses alternating current (AC). The inverter converts the DC to AC for use in your home’s electrical system. Install it before connecting to your home’s electricity.

8. Install energy meter

An energy meter is optional, but many systems include one so you can see how much energy your system produces and you use. If yours didn’t come with one, you can purchase and install one separately per manufacturer instructions.

9. Organize wiring and final check

Double-check all wiring before connecting to your home. Ensure your system is grounded from the PV panels.

10. Connect to electrical panel

Once satisfied all codes are met, you can connect the inverter output directly to your electrical panel per the device’s operating manual, then energize the system.

Advantages of professional solar installation:

In summary, proper and safe solar panel installation is crucial for switching to clean, free solar power. Install with optimality and safety in mind to fully benefit from this renewable energy source.

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