Orientation: Make Solar Panels Face South In The Usa
- When panels in the USA are facing south-east, they get more sunlight in the morning but less in the evening. It can be useful for those who want to cook meals in the first hours of the day, warm up the house after a cold night and so on.
- If panels are turned to the south-west, they generate the majority of daily amount of energy in the evening. Thus it can be good for those who return home from work and turn on all the appliances in the later part of the day.
How Many Solar Panels Do You Need
- The power output of your whole solar system matters more than the size or number of panels.
- The higher each panel’s nominal power rating , the fewer panels you’ll need .
- If you have plenty of roof space, you might find it more economical to buy cheaper panels with lower efficiency and just use more of them.
- Most solar panels are about 1.6 square metres in area, but they vary in length, width and power output.
CHOICE tip: Fewer panels can mean a quicker installation.
An example: You could use four 250W Jinko panels, taking up 6.5m2 of roof space, to make a 1000W array. But four 327W Sunpower panels would take up the same overall area and form a more powerful 1308W array .
Solar Panel Direction: Best Direction For My Panels
The most optimum direction to face your solar panels is somewhere between south and west. It is at this location that your panels will receive the maximum sunlight throughout the day. If your roof does not face the right direction, then surface mounted panels or pole mounted panels may be your best bet. Alternatively you could adjust the angle of inclination of the panels to a certain degree to offset the effect of direction. For example if your roof is facing 10 degrees west towards north, you could reduce the tilt angle of your panels by 3 degrees. This would produce the same electricity as with a panel which is facing true west. Article by Katherine Tweed, November 14, 2013 from Green Tech Media http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/are-solar-panels-facing-the-wrong-direction.
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Ground Pv Installation Needs More Space But Is Easy To Adjust
- Adjustability. With a rooftop system you are limited in the directions and angles your panels can be set. Ground installations are much more adjustable: you can turn and tilt the panels freely.
- Scale. Space can become a constraint with rooftop installations if you have too many solar panels. Systems of a big scale and solar farms are typically installed on the ground. Besides, in ground installations you can use panels of a larger size to get more electricity out of a single panel. In rooftop installations 72-cell and 96-cell are often just too hard to fit.
- Accessibility. If you are installing your panels on the ground, it’s easy to inspect them: there is no need to climb the roof.
- Maintenance. Solar panels on the ground tend to get dirty quicker than the ones on the rooftop. As a result, you have to clean them more often if you want to keep the production levels high.
- Space. While you can place larger installations on the ground than on the roof, they take up the free space of your yard or a field. The space on the roof is rarely used anyways. On the contrary, free ground space can always come in handy if you decide, for example, to set up a pool or a garden.
- Shading. Ground solar systems are more susceptible to shading from trees and buildings around. If there isn’t enough space between modules, they overshadow each other.
Dc To Ac Inverter Connected To Charge Controller
For this setup, we recommend a Sine Wave power inverter . Youll connect the positive and negative terminals of the inverter, directly into the load section of the charge controller. Once this entire system is setup, youll have a complete solar power system ready to go.
To run your entire home, youll need to scale this up GREATLY. Regardless of the size, the setup will be mostly the same with exception of more expensive hardware due to increased power and load.
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Can Solar Panels Damage Your Roof
If theres one thing that scares many people about solar panel roof installations, its the thought that it will create holes in the roof. Unfortunately, hole creation is essential for installing solar panels on a roof, except a flat roof or metal standing seam roof. That said, if correctly mounted by an expert, you should have little worries about leakages on your roof.
If you install the panels on your roof with a ballasted racking system or a roof clamp system, you dont need to put any holes in your roof. Some systems also use bolts in the roofs rafters, so it all depends on the mounting system your installer uses.
Heres a secret most people do not know: solar panels protect your roof from damage. The panels are from durable materials that can withstand mother natures worst. Plus, if you used a reputable installer, your rooftop becomes part of their warranty, making its care their priority.
Solar panels may also protect your roof from the harsh rays of the sun and keep your home cooler. They absorb the sunlight and prevent them from falling directly on your roof. A study made by UC San Diego revealed that solar panels could help reduce your home temperature by up to 35% or more.
Commonly Asked Questions Related To Buying Solar Panels
Whether you decide that the best place to buy solar panels is Amazon or our own Marketplace, its still important to take all factors into consideration including efficiency, installation costs, and how many panels youll need. Check out a few frequently asked questions weve come across:
Who sells the most efficient solar panels?
Most solar panels on the market are between 15 percent and 20 percent efficient, with some outliers on either side of this range. Also, there are a variety of factors that affect efficiency like wiring and busing, reflection, wavelength and frequency, positioning, and weather. With that being said, the top three companies that sell the most efficient solar panels are SunPower, LG, and REC Solar. Read our article about the most efficient solar panels on the market to see the full list, and dive deeper into how solar panel efficiency is calculated.
How many solar panels are needed to power a home?
The average home needs between 20 and 25 solar panels to cover the entirety of its electricity usage. The actual number you need will depend on various factors like location, efficiency, panel power output, and your energy consumption. Learn more by reading our article that walks through how many solar panels youll need.
How much does it cost to install solar panels?
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Check The Roof For Damage
The first step is to examine your roof for any damaged areas. If you find any problems, it would be wiser to fix them before installing your panel.
Discovering the damage after mounting the solar panels on your RV will cost you money to fix. It will also waste time redoing the panel.
Note: Try to do most of the assembly on the ground as an RV solar installation is slightly more complex than the roof of your house.
You can also reach out to your RV seller to get information about the roof before buying the mounting hardware.
Locate And Screw Each Stanchion Into The Roof Rafters
This step is VERY important, since the roof rafters will be the solid wood that will be holding your stanchions in place. How you can check for your roofs rafters is by doing a knock test, using something like a hammer. Take the hammer and gently tap the area of where you market for your stanchions to be installed. Odds are it will likely sound hollow, so youll need to tap a bit more towards the right or left until it feels like something solid is beneath the shingle . Once you do that, repeat for the other marketing.
Please use your eyes and a tape measure to coordinate even distance between your marketing.
Each stanchion should have a flat mount which fits beneath the shingles, make sure you this is fitted properly and is sealed off with roof caulk to prevent leaks.
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Rooftop Solar Power: The Best Places To Install Solar Panels
If you are interested in residential solar panels, probably the best place to start is at the top.
Rooftop solar power is convenient in large part because it does not take up any property space, using an area of your structure that is probably already exposed to sunlight. But is YOUR roof the best place to install solar panels?
It turns out that solar roofing is not a one-size-fits-all proposition!
While solar panels can be installed on any roof , there are several considerations that will affect cost and efficiency of a solar array.
1. Roof composition
The material from which your roof is composed will affect installation of a solar panel system. Generally speaking, it is more expensive to install solar panels on tile or shake roofs because they are delicate and can easily be damaged. When professional installers walk across the tiles or shingles, they may break or crack. The additional repair cost and/or insurance may add to the price.
2. Roof pitch
Very steep roofs also pose a challenge for solar panel installation. Not only because of the dangerous conditions, but also because special equipment may be required. On the other hand, flat rooftops require positioning solar panels at the proper angle, which may necessitate additional hardware, increasing the cost.
3. Roof Age
Installing Solar Panels On The Ground
Installing solar panels on the ground is another great option to consider, especially if your residence or business doesnt have an ideal roof for solar panel installation.
Benefits of ground installation include easier and safer installation and maintenance, since the panels can be accessed without climbing onto the roof. While this isnt a concern for professionals, you may enjoy the convenience of being able to easily spray down your solar panels yourself without having to get out a ladder or call in help.
Ground solar panel systems often feature better efficiency due to the space beneath them for airflow, which helps to keep the panels cool. And unlike with a roof, you also have the option to expand your system on the ground. A roof only has so much give, but a ground system affords you more space to add panels in the future if wanted.
The primary drawback of installing solar panels on the ground is that they take up space on your property. If you go this route, consider where theyll be least in the way. For example, some people choose to install solar panels in their front yard rather than the back so that they dont eat into activity space. This is also a great option if you want to show your panels off, since theyll be visible from the street.
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Rooftop Solar System Or Ground Pv System
Each type of solar panel and system has its own advantages and disadvantages.
As you can see, regarding orientation and inclination, ground-mounted systems have a wider range of choice, therefore they are preferable from this point of view. However, regarding space and shadings, it is hard to say who would carry the advantage.
Other things must also be taken into account, like maintenance for example. It is a lot easier to clean your solar panels while they are on the ground than going up to the roof and finding a comfortable place to clean them. Cooling of solar panels is also important, and ground mounted systems have leverage on this topic as well because air flows more naturally if they are on the ground.
However, ground-mounted systems have disadvantages that are not easily visible. Ground-mounted systems tend to cost more than roof-mounted PV systems because the materials needed for the installation are more expensive. Ground-mounted systems need foundations, so excavations must be carried as well. All of this increases labor costs and installation times. Here is a useful post with more information regarding how much it costs to install solar panels.
Moreover, think about it. You hardly ever go and stay on your roof, but you may spend a lot of time in the backyard. The day you have a barbecue and there is missing space occupied by solar panels might be frustrating. This something that could end up bothering you in the long run.
Avoid Common Mistakes People Make When Installing Solar
Many people make these mistakes in solar installation. Let’s see what they are and how you can avoid them:
- Purchasing Overpriced system
- Not Making a Checklist of Components
- Not Knowing about System Dimensions
To avoid this mistake, the first step is to figure out how much it will cost to set up the system of your choice. Remember that different types of solar panels differ in their prices. Make sure you go through all the options and choose the one that fits your budget.
To avoid this mistake, you need to create a checklist of the solar energy system’s components, which include solar panels, a charge controller, a power inverter, and a battery.
To avoid this mistake, you need to figure out how big of a solar system you’ll need. Add up the wattage of all the electrical devices you’ll be using. Calculate the number of hours per day that the appliances will be used.
If you follow the procedures above, you will avoid mistakes, and you will be able to determine the required wattage, solar battery size, and wire size. Understand that proper wire size prevents wire overheating and ensures optimal power delivery to your batteries.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q1. Can I install solar panels myself?
Ans. Yes, you can learn about solar installation and install solar panels yourself.
Q2 – Where Should Solar Panels Be Installed?
Q3 – How long do solar installations take?
Q4 – Where can I purchase solar panels?
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Connect The Electrical Components
The next step is to connect the electrical components properly. Since the wiring, determined by the type of solar system is already in place, fitting the parts should not be a challenge.
If the system has a battery backup, the number of components will be many. In this case, make sure connections between the panels, charge controller, battery, and the inverter are all correct. You can then direct the power from the inverter to the main electrical control panel of the house.
Ground Mount Tracking Or Roof Mounting: Which System Is Best For Your Home
Roof mounting and ground mount tracking solar panels each have their own set of advantages. The rooftop option is ideal for those with limited yard space or those who would rather dedicate their lawn to decks or swimming pools. With the solar panel system completely installed on the roof, you wont have to make any major landscaping compromises. Roof panels also serve as extra protection, helping to extend the life of the roof. If you do not have ample roof space and ground mounting is an option, we have many different designs to choose from. If you have unlimited space, a large ground mount could be the best solution. If your space is limited, a tracking system may be best for you. Although a tracking system may cost a little more up front, they are on average 45% more efficient. The return on investment for a tracker can be equal to a much larger ground or roof mounted system.
Ground mount tracking systems are perfect for those with a large amount of unused land or those who are unable to install roof panels. With ground-mounted panels, homeowners can utilize larger systems, resulting in even greater energy savings. This option also provides more flexibility in avoiding shading issues since they can more easily be placed in sunny areas in the yard.
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Where Does My Solar Inverter Get Installed
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A solar inverter is the component of the solar system which is used to convert the DC power produced by the solar panels to the AC power which is used by our home electrical system and appliances. It may be a micro inverter, power optimizer or a string inverter. Microinverters and power optimizers are installed below the solar panels whereas a string inverter may be installed indoor or outdoor as per the installer recommendation or homeowner requirements.
Power optimizers are coupled with string inverters and optimize the power at the point of the solar panel. An optimizer is a perfect balance between string and microtechnology.
As power output from each of the solar panels is different, there are two ways of connecting them to the inverter. One way is the string method in which the panels are connected in strings with or without a power optimizer under panels and then connecting these strings to a central string inverter. A string inverter without power optimizers can be the most cost effective but also can be the least efficient especially in shaded areas. Its inefficiency comes from the fact that the panels are run together in a string . Because in this connectivity, if a single panel malfunction, then the complete string containing that panel will suffer and will go offline making the power output for that group of panels zero.
For people planning solar for homes, you may consider the following points while choosing a suitable place for inverter installation.