A Step By Step Guide To Installing Your Own Residential Solar System
With all of the talk about climate change, environmental impact, and renewable energy sources these days, going green is in high demand. More and more people are deciding to go greener with their daily lives by reducing water use, using eco-friendly products, and replacing old ones that may not be as sturdy or effective anymore.
Renewable energy is one of the most popular ways to achieve this. There are many different types of renewable energies like solar power, wind energy, and hydroelectricity. All three come with their own set of benefits and costs so it depends on your budget and how much electricity you need and what type of energy to make a purchase.
Solar-powered electronics are some of the most common things that people install renewable energy onto. These include cell phones, televisions, computers, and other gadgets. Some individuals choose to buy separate panels for each device while others invest in a system where they connect it all together. No matter which option you pick, making sure your equipment is compatible will play a big role in how successful you are!
This article will help you through every step of installing a residential solar panel system. From choosing the right size solar panel to connecting everything properly, we will cover them all here.
Plan your installation
After determining whether or not you have solar potential, next up is figuring out how to install your system! Depending on what type of solar panel you pick, there are different strategies for installation. Some require prepping the surface area of the roof in advance, while others can be done as soon as the panels come down.
Some things to consider when picking your installation method are convenience, budget, and skill level. For example, if you’re very handy, then choosing an already-assembled unit may be best so you don’t have to do too much beyond wiring it into place. On the other hand, if you’ve never installed anything before, buying an assembled product may not be the most cost-effective way to go about it.
And finally, some products cannot be put together until later, which means you’ll need to find a time that’s suitable for assembly. This could be during daylight hours, or maybe even at night once the sun has set. Finding this timing should factor into your decision.
Connect your panels to the grid
Now that you have identified the right solar panel system for your home, it’s time to connect them to power! Most people start here because this is the most basic part of putting together a residential photovoltaic (PV) system.
Solar energy can be generated at two levels — production-level systems and net-metering systems.
A production-level system means generating electricity directly from the sun without investing in any other components. These types of installations are not practical or cost-effective unless you have a very large house with lots of roof space.
Net-metering works differently. With this type of system, your house already has electrical wiring so you just need to find spaces where you can install PV modules and generate enough power to offset the amount you use every day.
Connect your battery storage to the grid
Now that you have connected your solar panel system to power, it is time to connect your battery. You will want to make sure your battery can handle the power generated by the panels!
Most batteries are designed to be able to handle direct current (DC) energy sources only. Batteries cannot store electricity as energy, it must be converted into another form.
Converting DC energy into other forms requires special components such as resistors or capacitors. It also needs to be done at specific voltages for the battery to work properly.
Your battery should be capable of handling the power coming from the grid as well as any additional power the solar panels generate. Make sure to test this out before connecting both systems together!
After testing, we recommend using an equalizer bank in parallel with the battery. This way, the battery gets a slightly higher voltage than what it was set up for, which helps prevent issues.
You may also need to add some diodes or switches depending on how much control you wish to give yourself over the settings of the battery.
Connect your inverter to the battery storage
Now that you have determined that solar is for you, what next? You will need to make sure your system has an energy source to store this energy! Most importantly, you will want to be certain that it can receive power from the grid or the solar panel batteries will not work.
Most residential solar systems these days use either lithium-ion (li-ion) cells or sodium sulfate (dry salt) batteries as their storage medium. Both of these types of batteries are able to hold a significant amount of charge and they both require separate equipment to connect to them – something most people have in their homes already!
Your battery needs to be in sync with the time frame at which the solar panels generate electricity. For example, if one panel comes up during the day and then goes down at night, its stored energy gets emptied. This is why many PV systems have a controller or computer program that regulates when the batteries get charged so that it does not overfill them.
Install the wiring
The next step in your solar power journey is installing the wiring for your system. This can be tricky since there are many different ways to do it, so make sure you research all of them!
Some things to consider while choosing where to install your panels include whether or not your house current has enough electricity to run the gadgets you want to use solar energy for, how much power you plan to generate, what type of grid connection you have (solar farm off-grid or into the grid), and if you need extra electrical power at certain times like during peak sun hours.
Your panel installer should be able to tell you what connections are needed in your home and which ones they have access to, but also know that some utilities give discounts for using their connectors.
Test your system
The next step in installing your solar panel system is testing it! This will give you an accurate picture of just how powerful your new system can be.
Most major appliance stores or home improvement centers will have a representative that is able to test out any equipment for free. They would also likely offer technical help setting up your system as well.
Having them check yours, will save you money on expensive installation fees. Make sure to ask about discounts too! Most places offer special deals to people with green energy sources.
Solar power is constantly evolving so make sure to check out current technology. Some things may not work anymore, but they might still be good enough to create a very cost-effective way to use electricity.
Document your installation
After completing all of your parts, it is time to document your solar system! This includes taking pictures in every stage of assembly, both interior and exterior, as well as documenting how you installed each part onto the system.
It is very important to note who helped you with this project and what hours they spent helping you. If their help was not mentioned here, take some time to call or email them so that you can acknowledge their contribution to this project!
Now that you have everything assembled, it is good practice to do an initial test run to make sure that everything is working properly. Once again, be sure to capture images and notes about the settings and performance of the panels!
After testing, it is best to let the batteries rest for one week before using the full power of the system.