How to Install Solar Panels

Solar PV Systems are one of the most economical and environmentally-friendly ways to generate electricity. By installing solar PVs, you are not just saving a lot of money on your electricity expenses; you’re also helping saving the environment from the negative impacts that are caused by traditional energy sources.

For starters, a 60-watt solar PV would be an excellent choice whether for off-grid or grid-connected solar power. But a lot of people would also ask: “Can I possibly install the solar PV system myself?”

First off, if you’re not very familiar with any of the electrical work and/or plumbing, it would be safer if you find a qualified installer to install your solar PV system. However, if you know that you are a skilled ‘do-it-yourself’ handyperson who have knowledge in electrical system and plumbing, then you can install your own solar PV system.

Important Factors You Need to Know Before Solar System Installation

Since there are many do-it-yourself solar products that are available now, you may do your own solar installation if you’re absolutely sure that you have the right (technical) skills. You just have to remember, though, that installing the system yourself will actually mean that you may not get qualified for the grant or incentives from the government or your electricity provider (see Net Metering Scheme).

Before you start the installation process, make sure that you have the following information to avoid improper installation:

  • The size of the solar system you want to purchase
  • Your roof area to ensure that you have enough space at an appropriate angle direction to guarantee that you will be generating enough solar energy
  • If you have enough yard space more than a roof space, you might want to install your system mounted on the ground instead
  • Determine what you can do about the shading in the area where you will install the system (i.e. trees, buildings, etc.)
  • Know the local laws in your area that concerns solar system installation
  • Determine whether your roof would be strong enough to handle solar PV systems
  • Check if there are any leaks or damage to your roof that needs repair
  • Know your electricity provider’s requirements if you’re planning to connect to the local grid
  • If you’re planning an off-grid system which uses batteries, make sure to have a well-ventilated area to place your batteries
  • Get a solar PV supplier that also offers technical support service
  • Keep the product’s guarantee (usually more than 20 years) in case you had installed the system incorrectly

Installing Solar Panel

Step 1: Create your box or panel, which should basically have a solid wood bottom, 1.5 inch rails for the side and the middle of the panel.

Note: The size of the panels vary, depending on the amount of energy you wanted to generate (panel size to power just your air-conditioning system during the summer is different from the energy you need to power your entire home).

Step 2: Once you already have the exact size and the total number of panels that you need, you will need to build an array (these are solar cells that are linked together with tabs).

Note: Solar cells are fragile so you need to be extra careful with those.

Step 3: Put the cells upside down on a ready-made pattern, and solder the tabs to each cell (¼ inch of plywood for this project will be sufficient enough and the cells usually come with the tabs); when the tabs are already in place, solder each tab to the next cell to build panel of cells; carefully flip them to place in the solar panel.

Step 4: One of the common problems with do-it-yourself solar panels is the moisture that gets inside the unit and degrade the cells. To avoid this, you may use a layer of foam tape around the edges that are 6 inches apart.

Note: You can find foam tapes at any hardware stores.

Step 5: For the products to perform properly and completely successful, include other solar components such as batteries, inverter, and charge controller.

This is the basic process of installing solar panels. You may follow the steps above if you have a limited budget and if you have the right skills, or you may want to contact a professional installer to avoid the hassle that you may have to go through during the installation.

Lowering Your Electricity Bill

Over the years, costs of electricity continue to rise not just in third-world countries, but in many parts of the world as well. This has become one of the major problems a lot people have to face every month. But, why is this happening?

Electricity bill can be extremely high especially if you have to consume a lot of electricity in your home or in your business. But, there are still a few simple measures that you can do yourself to reduce the amount of your monthly bill.

How to Lower Your Electricity Bill

  • Pay less – Find out if you can take advantage of the “low-income subsidies” from your electric company; get advice from them on how you can apply for it.
  • Less electricity – Change the way you use your electricity; start off by turning off the appliances or lights that you don’t use; you might also want to switch to compact florescent bulbs (uses less energy) to help save on your electricity expense.
  • Reduce cooling and heating usage – Air conditioners and heaters consume a lot of electricity; so you might want to open your curtains to help warm your house (in the winter) instead of using heaters, or you might want to open your windows (during the summer) for ventilation instead of using air-conditioners.
  • Clean your appliances – Because dirt and other substances may affect your appliances’ performance, you have to regularly clean them to ensure that they work at its best.
  • Use energy-efficient products and appliances – Choose appliances that are designed to use less electricity; you might also want to install solar PVs to be able to generate your own electricity.
  • Unplug – Even when they’re switched off, some appliances and chargers (cell phone chargers, laptop chargers, etc) continue to draw electricity; therefore, unplug these appliances or chargers to avoid unneeded power drain.

Since prices of generating fuel, such as coal, continue to rise, cost of electricity becomes affected – it becomes higher. For this reason, most countries has implemented new electricity bill to provide solution to this ongoing problem. One of the solutions is installing Solar PV Panels. But how does it exactly lowers your bill?

Lowering Your Electricity Bill

Solar PV generates energy from the sun that converts into electricity, which you can use to power your appliances or any devices that needs electricity. It does not need gas or fuel to work, does not need extensive maintenance, and does not need complicated and expensive processes to install. In other words, solar PV is a great investment in the long run because you’re able to generate your own electricity without even have to worry on high-maintenance costs.

When you start to generate your own electricity, you are also starting to significantly lower your bill. The reason for this is that you will no longer be dependent on the electricity coming from the utility company; therefore, you’re hedging against the continuous rise of electricity rates. And although you may still have to draw electricity from the utility grid, it will still be at a much lower rate, thus, allowing you to save more money on electricity expense.

The amount that you can save will depend on your average electricity usage and the size of your system. Remember, the larger your solar system is, the more energy from the sun it generates; and, the more generated energy to convert into electricity, the more electricity you can use within your home or your business.

One other thing about solar PV is that, if in case your system has generated energy more than what your home or business needs, the excess electricity will go directly to the utility grid, by which you can actually sell to your utility company. In this case, while you’re having a chance to lower your electricity bill, you’re also getting a chance to earn profit (See Solar PV Investment Returns for more details). So it’s going to be like a win-win situation on your part.

Residential Solar System

Just like as commercial solar system becoming more and more popular among business and commercial establishment owners, residential solar system has also become very popular to a lot of home owners around the world. Because it reduces electricity costs, not to mention its contribution to clean environment, many home owners became very attracted to this type of technology to generate their own electricity.

Understanding Residential Solar System

A residential solar system uses solar modules that are made up of PV cells to generate energy from the sun that will be converted into electricity. This electricity now powers your home appliances, lights, and any other home electrical devices.

There are two types of residential solar system. These are the Grid-tied PV System and the Stand-alone PV System.

Grid-tied PV System is considered as the most common and cheaper among residential solar systems. This type of solar system allows you to use your generated electricity, thus, saving electricity and reducing its costs. And if ever your home solar PV has generated enough energy more than what your home needs, the excess electricity will go back to the utility grid. This is what’s called Net Metering, then you get credited for the electricity you deliver back to the grid at the same retail price that you pay for the utility company.

Feed In Tariff (FIT) Is Now Replaced By Net Metering Scheme (NEM)

(Get more detailed information what is Net Metering and how to apply it.)

Stand-alone PV System or off-grid on the other hand, operates independently from the electricity grid. It provides all the electricity that your home needs, and is a lot more expensive compared to grid-connected PV system. Stand-alone PV system is best used for homes in remote locations where there’s no electricity service or if it would be more expensive to install power lines in your area.

Advantages of Installing Residential Solar System

As you know, cost of electricity continued to rise over the years. This adds frustration among many home owners not just in one country, but around the world. This is primarily what drove the majority of home owners to act now and invest on residential solar system.

Installing residential solar system has always been an excellent idea for many, but it has never been as attractive as today with all the advantages that you can actually get. The following are some of advantages that you can look forward to when you install this technology in your home:

  • It generates your own electricity, providing your home with enough energy that your house needs.
  •  It gets rid of your high monthly electricity bill.
  • You’ll serve as an example to many people who are not yet aware of the technology.
  • You’ll get to add more value to your property without actually worrying on property tax.
  • You get a chance to take advantage of the incentives that the government offers, which lie in the FiT Rate.

Residential Solar System Cost

Solar PV cost varies, depending on the type and the size of the solar system you’re going to purchase, and your location. But you can get a rough estimate of its cost by manually computing the size that you need (depending on your electricity usage) or by using a solar cost calculator.

Residential solar system is one of the most effective ways in reducing your electricity bills, while having the chance to earn a profit at the same time. You’ll also play a very important role in replacing fuel and coal-powdered emissions with clean renewable energy. By doing this, you’re making a big difference and you’re greatly decreasing the harmful impact of traditional energy sources (fuel, coal, etc) to the environment.