Gear Required For Off
The essential components of an off-grid system are similar to a grid-tie setup with the addition of:
- Charge controller
- Battery bank
- Balance of system components
The following short video from Su-Kam Solar describes the different uses for pure sine wave versus modified sine wave inverters. Not only will you see the difference in the graphical illustrations of both you will hear the contrasts, too.
Switch On Your System
If your system has now met all state, local and utility company requirements, you can now commission it. Check whether your solar system is functioning by firing up your solar monitoring app almost every inverter comes with one these days.
Does the app show the system is performing as expected? If yes, then congratulations! It was hard work, but youre finally done.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Diy Solar Panels
Although cheaper than going solar with a professional solar company, DIY solar is still a big and costly commitment. Youll want to figure out whether a DIY solar panel installation is right for you before youre too heavily invested in the process!
To help you decide if DIY solar is worth it for you, here is a list of the possible pros and cons:Table: Pros and cons of DIY solar panels
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Diy Solar Panels Lets Talk About It
There are clear benefits to doing things yourself. The main benefit is saving money. There are many others, however, including learning a new skill, getting those creative juices flowing, and even finding a new hobby. But when we heard DIY and solar panels in the same sentence together, we had to check this out for ourselves.
As a company that owns our own utility-scale solar farms and provides electricity powered by that same solar, we were skeptical about these so-called DIY kits being offered on the market. After all, home solar installations can cost thousands of dollars depending on the size you want. Plus, it sounded a little too much like a science fair project.
But yes, you can indeed install your own solar power system at home, both ground-mounted and on your roof. However, the question remaining is: Should you?
Well, yes and no, depending on what applications youre looking for. Lets talk about the benefits of building your own solar panels, what application youd use to do such a thing and whether its worth it in the end to just call a certified solar installer.
Why Go Solar At All
Regardless of whether you DIY or hire a professional solar installer, going solar has major financial benefits. It reduces your monthly electricity bill and can even increase your property value. There are federal and state tax incentives that can reduce your overall costs as well. Yet, even when considering all of this, the price tag can result in sticker shock for some people. So its no surprise that many homeowners will consider a DIY Solar Install.
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How To Establish The Perfect Solar System Size
When setting on a solar system, the proportions of the household as well as the electricity needs have to be taken into consideration. Generally, larger households tend to require more energy to power them and the appliances. The most common solar system size for households in the UK is the 4kW system, which can accommodate a modest sized house.
Installing a Grid Tie Solar System
You can install a grid tie solar system if your household is already plugged into utility power. Grid tie systems are easier to install than off grid and can easily be expanded, depending on each houses needs. It is recommended to have an electrician or licensed contractor do the final wiring hook up.
Installing an Off Grid Solar System
Installation of off grid solar systems is suitable for individuals who would like to be self-dependent on energy. It is highly recommended to hire a certified technician when installing off grid solar systems. Certain government incentives apply when doing so, which can save a considerable amount of money on the purchasing and installation of solar panels.
Difficulties in DIY Solar Panels
Can I Buy Solar Panels And Install Myself
Yes! Over half of our customers install and maintain their own solar power systems. However, there’s plenty you can do yourselfsizing your system, picking components, mounting and installing the solar panels, inverter, safety disconnects, and so on. The more you do yourself, the more you’ll save.
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A Safe And Secure Solar Panel System
A solar power system ensures you are equipped in the event of an outage from a natural disaster, whether you choose to ground mount or install your solar panel kits on the roof of your home. Regardless of the choice you make, you will no longer rely on the city or town grid solar system and reduce or totally eliminate your monthly electric bill.
Even better, order a grid-tiedsolar panel system to sell some of that energy back to the energy company. Each home and its necessities are different, so it is important to evaluate all the options and determine what works best for you. Although it can initially seem confusing, use our guide on how to size a solar system before you order your solar panel kit.
Which solar power kit is right for me?
Every project is unique so were here to help you determine the right kit for you. Our knowledgeable team of techs will answer your questions and make sure you select the appropriate kit for your project. Or browse our resources, videos, and guides to help decide which solar system kit best suits your needs.
What does my solar kit contain?What if my energy needs change?
Our designers are experts at building flexible systems that can grow right along with your energy needs. Solar panel kits make the perfect starting point for a project that may need more energy down the line. We customize each kit for your needs, so that your system is expandable to account for increases in energy consumption.
Can I Build Solar Panels On My Own
Solar panels have increased drastically in popularity, as more people want to self-sustain their household with the electricity demands. To make solar panels more affordable for everyone in the UK, the government has set up incentives like solar panel grants. Even so, investing in solar panels can still be a considerable investment which some are not prepared to make. So what else is there to do? Build it yourself of course.
To get straight to the point, yes, you can build your own solar panels, or at least partially, depending on the craftsmanship of each person. The process DIY includes sizing the solar panel system, choosing which components suits your needs, mounting and installing the solar panels, the solar inverter and safety disconnects. Even if you do not fully install the solar panels, the more that is done, the less expensive it would be to hire a certified technician.
Installing Electrical System
Circuitry can be the tricky part of installing solar panels on your own, but with minimum knowledge about wiring, this can be achieved by anyone. Of course if you do not feel confident to do this part on your own, it would be best to hire a certified electrician to do the wiring and metering into your house.
Learn Hub: Do It Yourself Solar
When you choose DIY solar, youre taking control of your solar project. While a DIY solar system involves some extra effort, you can act as your own project manager and save thousands when setting up your solar panels. You can build it yourself, hire local laborers to help, or do a mix of both.
Regardless of which approach you choose, our Do-It-Your-Way Solar Guide will help you learn everything you need to know about DIY solar panels, including planning, system design, set up, and more. And, you can when youre ready to get started.
Building your own solar system puts you in complete control of your solar project but requires a lot of planning and hard work. By opting to go DIY solar, you can actually cut your costs by more than $12,000 for the average home solar system. Not a bad investment.
You can go solar today for about one-third of what it would have cost ten years ago. In fact, the cost of a fully installed system went down from $7.14/watt in 2010 to $2.50/watt by 2020.
How To Get Your System Onto Your Roof
Forget the ladder. Even with a team of people, this method is fraught with danger and you are going to need to hire a dedicated lift or crane to get your panels onto your roof. For this reason, we always recommend investing in the expertise of a professional installer. If youre not sure how to access or vet your options, you can find out how to get the best option for your needs here
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Set Up The Conduit And Platform
First, you will need to pick a suitable platform for your solar panels, these can be anything flat or tilted towards the sun. The most ideal location is the roof of your house, however, this can pose some installation problems you need to consider:
- Not all roofs are built the same way.
- Some do not have the most optimal exposure to the sun.
- Some roofs need to be serviced periodically meaning dismantling your panel set up to do this.
- You have less freedom how to install your panels.
However, a good roof should save you the trouble of having to build a custom platform for your solar panels. If your roof is not the best though, you will need at least four concrete pillars and at least a lot of 4×4 wood or steel tube for the panels, the amount and width depend on how many panels you have.
As for the conduit, it needs to have a secure connection from the platform to your house, its easier if the platform is your roof because that generally means a shorter conduit.
Diy Hybrid Solar Systems
Combining features from both grid-tie and off-grid solar systems, hybrid systems enjoy the best of both worlds. You can store your solar power for use at night or in power outages.
This is ideal for homeowners in certain areas who would otherwise have to pay higher peak rates for grid electricity in the evenings or at night.
However, if you have good net metering in your area and power outages are minimal, a standard grid-tie system may be your best choice.
Below is a diagram that illustrates how a hybrid system works:
As the graphic shows, a special hybrid inverter is used in this type of system. Its also important to note that if you opt for this setup, you should purchase the batteries at the time of installation. Battery technology is advancing rapidly, possibly resulting in non-compatibility with your hybrid system if you wait too long. This could mean a lot of costly upgrades for you later.
For hybrid systems, AC-coupled batteries are common. These batteries store both DC from your solar array and the grid AC as alternating current . Currently, the Tesla Powerwall is one of the most popular choices for an AC-coupled battery.
A photovoltaic system using a DC-coupled battery is more energy efficient than current AC-coupled batteries. This difference is more pronounced with a large-scale installation. So, it probably wont affect your home solar installation efficiency.
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Make A Diy Plan And Design Your System
This is the trickiest step in the whole DIY process, especially if you dont have any prior experience working with energy systems.
A. Decide on your goals
What do you want from your system? Financial savings? Backup power? Independence from the grid?
The goal youre shooting for will determine the best system type for you, how complex the installation will be, and how much the project will cost.
B. Choose the right solar system type
The next decision is to choose the right solar power system type to match your goal.
All system types have many features in common: they all involve solar panels, inverters, mounts, and wiring.
There are, however, some crucial differences, and they can impact the projects cost and complexity. Heres a brief summary of each.
C. Check solar rules and regulations
There is a wide range of rules governing solar installations. They can vary greatly between states, and even between local jurisdictions.
Be aware that some states dont allow a solar system to be connected to the grid unless the installation was performed by a licensed contractor. If this is the case where you live, you won’t be able to install a DIY grid-tied or hybrid solar system.
If DIY is allowed where you live, then youll probably need a building permit and a utility permit before you start your installation. This generally involves an onsite inspection by either a structural engineer or a licensed electrician.
D. Design the system
- Your energy needs
How Safe Is Diy Solar Panel Installation
The price of solar is dropping dramatically across the nation as homeowners are waking up to the benefits of solar energy. There are home solar kits sold at hardware stores, and although you may think youre getting a bargain in that very moment, youll be missing out on the quality, incentives and rebates that only come with professional solar panel installation.
Whole home solar installation is a serious project. You may be able to effectively install a solar panel to the side of an RV or shed, but the roof of your home or business is a much bigger mountain to climb, literally and figuratively. Here are some factors to consider before attempting to install solar paneling yourself.
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An Important Note On Diy Solar Panel Installation
There are many DIY projects that homeowners can complete entirely on their own, but solar panel installation is not one of them. Installing solar panels involves the use of electrical wiring, which is not safe to work with unless you are an experienced electrician. Furthermore, a number of states, including Florida, require homeowners to hire licensed technicians to install solar panels. For these reasons, it is best to let a professional handle the majority of the installation work. But, you can still cut costs by purchasing the equipment and mounting the panels on your own instead of hiring a professional to complete these tasks. Then, call an experienced professional when youre ready to connect the system. This strategy will help you save as much money as possible while also ensuring you are not exposed to electrical hazards.
Wire The Solar Panels To The Conduit
For this method you may need either of these two:
- A junction connector
- A fuse combiner box
If you already have either of those, the modules of the panels should be stripped and wired in pairs before being connected to the fuse box mounted at the platform and connected to underground conduit output cables.
As always, we do not recommend that you do this without any electrical work knowledge. If you are not familiar with the materials mentioned above, then hiring an electrician to do it for you would be safer. Even if you are, proper precautions should always be observed.
Now thats out of the way, in the terminal box, the stripped wires must be connected properly. In this instance, the red wires are connected to the positive terminal and the black wires to the negative terminal. Once connected, the wires are fed up through the bottom of the junction box and connected to the corresponding positive and negative terminal blocks.
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Purchasing Materials For Diy Installation
There are four main parts of a solar panel system that you will need to purchase prior to installation: the panels, batteries, controller, and power inverter. Start by choosing the right solar panels for your home. Thin-film solar panels are the least expensive, however they will wear down faster than other options, so theyre not the best choice for homeowners who want their system to last as long as possible. Polycrystalline are budget-friendly as well, but they arent ideal for homes that are located in hot climates. If the temperature regularly climbs above 80 degrees Fahrenheit in your area, its best to choose monocrystalline solar panels.
If you own a small home, its best to go with amorphous solar panels, which are designed to provide power to small-sized spaces. Although these are more expensive than thin-film solar panels, they are far more efficient, which makes them the better choice.
Next, select the right batteries. There are two main battery choices: lithium-ion and lead-acid. The former is more expensive, but more durable as well. If you dont want to worry about replacing the batteries on a regular basis, choose lithium-ion instead of lead-acid.
Finally, purchase a controller that is compatible with the rest of the materials you have selected. Now, you have successfully completed the first step in the DIY installation!
You Have High Energy Needs:
If you have high or erratic energy needs such as washing machines, refrigerators, or televisions, consider that increased energy needs especially in winter calls for a more complex electrical system. Consider hiring a professional who can help you manage storage needs and cycle your battery properly when your energy needs vary.
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