Installing residential solar panels onto your building enables you to take advantage of the sunlight as a primary energy source, as opposed to traditional fossil-fueled energy sources that tend to be costlier and are reported to be rising steadily. This also allows you to lower your energy costs. In addition, most solar panel systems are fairly easy to install and can last up to 25 years or more.
How to Install Residential Solar Panels
Installing the Brackets
Be sure your roof is free of all cracks, slits, or broken roof parts prior to installing your system. Next, measure and identify where each bracket for the rails will be placed.
Install the brackets, using the specialized screws, into the rafter of the roof, taking extra care not to damage the roof’s components. Each bracket should stand approximately 3 inches off the roof to allow air and light to pass through the underside of the panel as some panels utilize reflective light as well.
After you have installed the brackets, seal them with flashing tape to protect against water. Lastly, gently restore the roof’s components for a secure rainproof finish.
Installing the Inverter
Solar panel inverters convert solar panel’s direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC), so it can be utilized by your building or fed into a commercial electric grid.
There are three basic types of on grid solar panel inverters: string inverters, DC optimizer inverters, and microinverters.
Basic string inverters are the most budget-friendly and easiest to install. However, they power multiple panels using a single string, which can lower the overall output of the system if one panel is shaded or malfunctions. In addition, since these inverters run on a single string, it means if one string goes out, then all strings are affected. Nonetheless, efforts are being made to develop string inverters with multiple MPPT inputs so only one string is affected and not the others.
The DC optimizer string inverter is similar to the basic string inverter, except the DC optimizers have been brought outside the unit. The optimizers install on the racking behind the panel, then each optimizer is connected to the next optimizer behind each panel. The strings are then connected to the inverter. This unit individually manages each panel, which means in the event of shading or a malfunction, only that individual panel will be affected.
Unlike string inverters, which utilize just one inverter, microinverters are independent inverters that attach to each solar panel separately for on-the-spot inverting right at the panel. This not only ensures the entire system functions efficiently but also ensures that each panel continues to perform at maximum output, even if one panel is shaded or malfunctions. A microinverter system also enables you to expand the number and type of solar panels, should you choose to expand your system later. Once the microinverters are installed, they are then connected to the AC breaker box for use.
To install a string inverter, simply mount the inverter onto the wall inside the loft, attic, or crawlspace etc. of the building, for later use. In accordance with local regulations, an isolation switch may also be required in the area for electrical safety precautions.
Installing the Solar Panel Rails
Install the rails to the brackets using an electric drill. Remove any excess railing using a basic handsaw.
Installing the Residential Solar Panels
Position the panels onto the rails in their proper sequence. Consult a solar panel professional for the proper solar panel sequence for your building.
After the residential solar panels are in place, secure the brackets of the panel using a hand drill. Simply secure the wires of the panels beneath the roof’s components, using flashing tape, for a clean, neat look.
Once all the panels are mounted to the railing, the panel wires will be interconnected then fed into the building where they will be connected to the inverter.
Installing the End Caps
The end caps complete the look of your solar panel system. Simply place the end caps onto the rails for a more sophisticated look.
Installing the Armored Cabling
After all the panels are connected, you will then need to install the armored cabling. To do so, run the armored cabling from the inverter, down the exterior of the building, to the nearby generator meter of the building.
The generator meter displays exactly how much energy is generated from the panels for each particular day.
Test the System
Activate the system to ensure the inverter and panels are operating correctly.
Once your system has been checked, and passes, for regulation and safety by your local permitting agency and utility company, you will then be able to enjoy your system and all the benefits that come with it.
What are the Benefits of Installing Residential Solar Panels?
The main benefit of installing residential solar panels is that they allow you to save, in some cases, up to 50% over traditional fossil fueled systems, which put you at the mercy of increasing electric costs.
Another benefit of installing solar panels onto your building is that a solar panel system, depending on its specs, can provide full backup power in the event of a power outage due to a fault by your local power company.
Lastly, when installing an on grid solar panel system, residents are provided with certain incentives offered by the local power company for the buyback of unused energy. In addition, residents are also afforded various tax incentives and rebates provided by federal, local and state governments.
How Much Does Installing Residential Solar Panel Cost?
Residential solar panels cost varies based on the size, watts, and the brand of your kit.
However, the cost of residential solar panel kits for a 9-kilowatt system typically ranges anywhere between $8,445 and $13,368. On a higher end of the spectrum, some of the best residential solar panels cost anywhere between $11,825 and $ 14,174 (including microinverters) for a 9-kilowatt system.
In short, installing residential solar panels to your building not only helps lower your energy costs but also lowers your carbon footprint for a cleaner, greener residence.