The evidence for climate change is now too great to ignore. Most of us don’t spend all day thinking about it. Yet, we’re all concerned about it and about the way in which it’ll affect us going forward. We can see indicators of this underlying concern every day. Your neighbor switching to that Prius, your aunt who recently became obsessed with composting. These actions demonstrate that no matter how small we think our sphere of influence is, it will always include us.
A common way of managing climate change, is reducing your carbon footprint. Many people have found that the best way to do this is by installing solar panels. You may have arrived at a similar conclusion but are confused about the process itself. We are here to help you figure out how to set up solar panels.
What You’ll Need
Before you can begin the installation of your solar panels, you must ensure that you have done the necessary prep work. This includes:
1. Acquire Equipment
You will obviously need the equipment directly related to the solar panels. This includes:
- Charge controller
- Solar panels
You will also require:
- A breaker
- An MC4 connector
- Roof anchors
- Mounting frame
- Key lock system for the frame
- Nuts and bolts
- Cable Cutter
- Crescent Wrench
- Electrical Tape
2. Take Measurements
You obviously don’t want to set up the whole system, only to find that it can’t power what you need. So, make sure you look into what appliances you’d like your system to power. Add up the wattage of these appliances and consider how many hours a day they will be used.
When you multiply the duration-of-use with the appliance’s power rating, you end up with the “watt-hour” for that appliance. Combine the “watt-hours” of all appliances and you have total power needed. Knowing this will help you determine things like battery size, wire thickness and your home’s power load.
3. Financial Calculations
Solar panels can help you save money by producing your own electricity instead of relying on the power grid. They can also help you utilize net metering, which means that the energy that you produce doesn’t have to be used at the time of production but instead at any future date. Through this you can have energy credit with the electric company, to be used when the need arises.
7 Steps to Set Up Your Solar Panels
Now that we’ve covered our bases, let’s go over the steps to set up solar panels.
1. Mount the Installation
You will first need to build a mount, onto which the solar panels will be placed. The panels need to be secured safely and fixed in a stable manner, so the mount is essential. You will need to choose the direction of the mount carefully, as the panels will be facing in that direction.
You want to ensure maximum time in the sun for the panels. This will mean maximum energy generated. Placing them in sub-optimal direction will reduce the value they can provide for you.
2. Place Panels
Once the mount has been constructed, you will place the panels onto it. Installation of the panels is relatively easy process. You will simply need to affix them onto the mount and bolt them securely.
The entire process requires a great degree of care. The panels are delicate so make sure you handle them appropriately. When installing the panels, make sure they are placed in a safe and secure manner. Doing so ensures you can reap the benefits of solar panels for years to come.
3. Carry Out Electrical Work
Once fixed, you will want to create electrical connections between the panels. You can connect them in series or parallel, depending on your preference. MC4 connectors are preferred over others due to their universal nature. They can connect to any type of panel.
If you opt for parallel connection, connect the positive terminal on the module of one panel to the positive one on another. In series connections, the positive terminal on one module is connected to the negative one on another.
4. Establish System-Inverter Connection
Now that all the panels are interconnected, you must establish a connection between the system and the inverter. The inverter converts direct current that is variable, into alternating current that can be used by your appliances.
Connect the positive terminal on the inverter to the system’s positive wire. Negative will match negative.
5. Connect Inverter to Battery
An obvious problem with solar power is that it is available only half the time. To circumvent this issue, we use a battery that stores the power our panels generate and then use it when needed. Same as before, positive wire on the inverter connects to the positive terminal on the battery. Negative will follow the same matching rule.
6. Connection to Grid
You will now connect the inverter system to the grid by connecting it to your home’s main switchboard. An output connection will feed the electric board that your home uses.
7. Start the Inverter
Now that all connections have been established, switch on the inverter. There will be a main switch for this where the inverter is connected to the home.
Our Final Thoughts
Now that you know how to set up solar panels, we hope you enjoy the many benefits they provide, the most important ones being a reduced carbon footprint and a noticeable reduction in energy bills.