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.
Is Solar Electricity Feasible For A Condo
Many of the same conditions that make a home or business a good candidate for solar apply to condominiums. Condo owners will also likely need to get approval from their condo association before installing a system. For more information, check out the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resource’s Solar Guide for Condominium Owners and Associations.
Make Sure You Understand The Wiring Of The Array
We cannot stress enough that you need to be familiar with how your wiring for the solar panels works. This way, if any problems occur or any performance lapses happen, you can easily troubleshoot. Connecting the exterior wiring to the interior control panels can be quite confusing if it is your first time.
The solar breaker must first be connected to a circuit breaker disconnect. The energy will flow from the disconnect to a charge controller and then to a battery bank to be stored. When needed, energy flows from the batteries back to the circuit breaker disconnect and from the disconnect to a power inverter .
After that, the usable AC electricity will be able to flow into your homes or establishments electric panel. Any backup components you employ such as gas-generators or similar will also have to be connected to the buildings electric panel along with the solar panel array.
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Can I Install Solar Panels Myself
As solar panels become more and more popular, a common question that comes to people’s minds is, Can I install solar panels myself and will this save me money? Going solar in the long run has great financial benefits as it can completely replace your monthly utility bills and prevent you from being subjected to annual rising electricity prices. These benefits however, do come with a price tag as solar is truly an investment in your home. The average cost of solar in Washington state ranges from $11,000-$16,000 depending on the installation company you choose, and the size of your desired system.
Although it is possible to install solar panels yourself, there are some serious risks to attempting this project on your own. The act of planning and placing the panels on your roof or desired area can be tricky if you want to get the most efficient energy possible from your panels. Determining size and tilt of your panels is also a very important factor to maximize your investment. Wiring for solar panel installation requires experience with high voltage wires and the risk of injury is a reality.
The Homeowners Guide To Installing Your Own Solar Panels
Installing solar panels can reduce your carbon footprint and reduce your monthly utility bills. But, many homeowners are hesitant to switch to solar energy solely because of the steep costs of installing a new system. As of this year, its estimated that installing solar panels can cost between $14,000-$40,000 depending on the size of the system. This price includes the cost of the product itself in addition to the installation. Therefore, homeowners have the option of lowering the total cost of this project by handling the installation on their own.
Installing solar panels may seem like an intimidating project, but theres no need to worry. Follow this DIY guide:
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I’m An Engineer And Electrician Can I Install The Solar Power System Myself
Although solar systems are not that highly complex, do ityour-self installation is not possible/allowed. There are a number of detailed AustralianStandards and legislative requirements that apply which require trained,licensed and accredited solar power system installers. Failure to adhere tothem could not only void your product warranties but also your insurancepolicies, rebates, incentives and feed-in tariffs.
The selection, matching and configuration of the variouscomponents is also important and requires a sequence for commissioning that candamage your solar power system/inverter if not carried out in accordance withtraining and instructions from you panel/inverter manufacturers. Roofattachment is also critical and needs to be handled by approved contractors andto Australian Standards if roof warranties and leaks are to be avoided.
Safety is also a primary consideration. Solar systems producehigh voltage DC electricity which can if handled improperly can cause Death viathe serious risk of electrocution. Once inverters are connected, we are dealingwith 240V AC which by law requires a licensed electrician and needs to be approvedby the relevant electrical bodes before being switched on.
Self Install Solar Pros
Two major benefits of installing your own solar panels on your home is the cost-savings benefit and the control you have over the system. Going solar for most homeowners starts with saving money on their monthly utility bill. Being able to do that while having control over the way your system works, looks, and is maintained can also give you the feeling that youre doing more for the environment as well. But beware, installing solar panels on your home is not an easy task. Despite that, here are a couple of benefits of DIY solar.
The obvious benefit of a solar do-it-yourself method is that it helps save some money. You wont have to pay others to find the product, submit your permits, and install the system. The installation labor cost is about 10 percent of the total cost of installing solar panels. It is also one worth having a professional team perform the installation process so that the panels are up fast and work without issues.
One of the pros of a DIY solar installation is that you will have total control over your panel setup, and you can design your system. While it is a lot of work, it can also give you better understanding of your system and how it works which will help you in troubleshooting issues in case they arise.
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Install The Solar Panel System
At this point, you should have successfully applied for all necessary permits and approvals, and accepted delivery of your solar equipment. Its now time to install the panels!
The actual specifics of the installation will depend on what system type and equipment youve decided upon.
The process Im describing below is for a grid-tied system that uses microinverters for the direct current to alternating current power conversion.
Task 1: Install solar panel racking and mounting
Use a chalk line to measure and mark out exactly where on your roof the racking system will be installed.
Next, look for solid bits of the roof to drill into for the installation of lag bolts. You should consider using a stud finder with AC current detection to ensure youre not drilling through a power line.
Caulk the holes and install flashing to create a waterproof seal before you screw the lag bolts in. Once the lag bolts are all ready, you can install L-feet and then lock the rails on to them.
The method Ive described here is for a system using roof mounts. If your roof isnt suitable for an installation, you may want to consider ground mounts instead.
Task 2: Connect the microinverters
On to the microinverters. These are little boxes that will modulate the output of each panel. Youll connect them to the rails using the provided bolts. Each box will have a positive and negative wire coming out of it, which you will connect together to form a series connection for each array.
How Long Does It Take To Install A Solar Electric System
The timeline for installing your solar electric system can depend on a number of factors, including weather and installer availability. For residential systems, the physical installation process can be completed in as little as a few days, though it could take several weeks or months to begin generating electricity due to municipal inspection and utility connection timelines. MassCEC has seen it take an average of five months from contract signing to electricity generation for residential projects.
The timeline for larger-scale projects can sometimes take a bit longer due to the projects’ size and greater potential for complications. The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources tracks this on commercial-scale renewable energy interconnection and can be a resource for those looking for more information.
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Poorly Designed Solar Systems Dont Perform As Well
Installation is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to using solar energy in Massachusettsyou also need to design the solar array. Professional solar companies know how to arrange your panels in order to maximize performance. Without a good design, you may end up with solar panels that dont generate as much electricity as you thought they would.
Consider The Condition Of Your Roof First
If you have a roof that is over 20 years old, you are going to want to have it inspected by a professional before attempting to install solar panels on it. There could be any number of structural issues that could lead to leaking, sagging and ultimately collapse which would likely destroy your panels in the process an expensive problem to repair.
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Should You Or Shouldn’t You
Youve heard it on the news and youve read the latest reports. Solar power is projected to become cheaper than coal in about 10 years. Just consider the significant drops in the cost of going solar since 2009, solar prices have dropped 62%! What was once a far-reaching solution to lowering your home energy bill has now become a reality in the life of many homeowners. In fact, DIY residential solar kits are appearing on the shelves of big box stores. As a homeowner, youre ready to get in on the action! And with a DIY kit, how hard could it be to start saving money on your monthly electric bill? In this article, well cover what youll do to install a home solar energy system and the pros and cons of the DIY method versus hiring the professionals.
Contacting A Professional To Connect The System
According to the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, large national companies typically charge more for their installation services than smaller, local companies. For this reason, its best to find a local solar installer company. Make sure the company is licensed to perform this work, and ask them for references prior to signing a contract. You should also choose a company that offers a warranty so if something goes wrong with the installation, you are covered.
Follow these simple steps and you will get to enjoy the many benefits of living in a home with solar panels!
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Mount Your Solar Panels
This next step requires you to mount your solar panels directly into the rails. Each rail is going to have little brackets which will be holding the panels. Using a drill, carefully screw these brackets to the aluminum frame of the solar panels, being careful not to overdo it and crack the glass on the panels.
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.
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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.
Disclaimer: Things To Be Cautious About
If this is your first time undertaking a project such as this, theres a few things you should be really careful about. It goes without saying that electricity is nothing to play with, you know it can kill you very fast if you are not cautious or not wearing appropriate protective material.
When doing any kind of task, even if it is slightly risky, always wear protective eyewear. Our eyes have the greatest impact on our life and without them life will never be the same .
Lastly, if you are planning on climbing on your roof and mounting solar panels, use protective gear such as a rope in case you slip and fall. Even if you have a one story home a 7-8 foot fall can prove to be very dangerous if not fatal.
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Takeaways On Diy Solar Pros And Cons Should I Install The Panels Myself
- A DIY system is possible and it will come at a much lower price than a professional solar panel installation
- Going the DIY route means you will need to learn a lot and file some paperwork, likely
- If you are a handy kind of person or fancy yourself as someone who wants to be and you have the time and energy, go the DIY solar panel route
- If you are looking for a good solution for a residential home, we suggest you contact a local solar panel company for a quote. You will earn feed-in tariffs and get tax credits which will pay for your system in about 10 to 15 years
How Much Does How To Connect Solar Panels To My House’s Electricity
However, the weather condition isn’t always predictable, and that quote won’t constantly be right. With our production guarantee, we’ll treat our quote like a guarantee. If your system produces less electrical energy than we approximated, we’ll write you a look for the difference. If you opt to install your own solar panels, you’ll be losing on the assurance these service warranties use you.
Solar power needs an intricate system that ought to be set up by knowledgeable, qualified solar professionals with correct security equipment. Not only will this keep you safe, however you’ll conserve time and have an investment backed by strong warranties for years, keeping your financial investment safe as well .
Solar is a fashionable thing in 2020 and lots of adventurous property owners are starting to question “DIY photovoltaic panels” the concept of building a photovoltaic panel system on your own. Of course, there’s a lot associated with a solar installation and there’s a right and an incorrect circumstance for do-it-yourself solar projects.
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Main Components Of Solar Power Systems
The best solar panels for you will depend on your budget and the amount of light that’s available in your location. Knowing the components of a solar power system can help you understand how the types of solar panels work.
There are three main components in a solar power system:
Solar Panels: The main role of a solar panel is to generate electrons when exposed to sunlight, which then helps produce a flow of electricity for your home or office. Solar panels dont release fumes and dont have greenhouse gases or carbon emissions.
The amount of electricity solar panels produce from sunlight is referred to as solar efficiency. The average efficiency rating is between 15 percent and 17 percent, but high-end models can reach above 20 percent.
Inverters: Standard home appliances use alternating current electricity to operate. Inverters take the direct current electricity produced by solar panels and convert it into AC electricity.
There are two types of inverters: string inverters and microinverters. A string inverter is attached to a wall, and all the solar panels connect to it. A microinverter is attached behind each solar panel. Microinverters offer more energy production, but they cost more than string inverters. Most solar panel kits feature one of these two inverters, as well as essential solar power accessories such as batteries, solar battery chargers, charge controllers and cables.