Installing Solar Panels Yourself: 6 Simple Steps

Electricity has become expensive, and getting yourself a solar panel can save you lots of dollars annually. Solar panels are a good investment in today’s world.

Buying one is a good idea, but installing it is another additional expense. But that should never be a problem if you can install it yourself and save a few dollars.

Even though we do not recommend doing it yourself, I believe you know yourself when it comes to doing certain things around your home.

It is always good to get advice from a professional installer with vast knowledge and know-how to go around the process. The best advice we can give you is to take advice from us as we do not want you to get hurt when installing our solar panels.

In this article, we will show you some crucial ways to install your solar panel and the essential things that you should consider.

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ThePhoenixsun Video Series

Can You Install Solar Panels Yourself

Installing Solar Panels Yourself
Installing Solar Panels Yourself

The one question everyone keeps asking is whether you can install a solar panel by yourself? The answer is yes. Many people try to save a few dollars when it comes to installation, preferring to do it themselves.

However, it might not be easy to replace a bulb or try to fix your tap at home. Even though we live in an era where you can easily find DIY videos on YouTube, some professionals need handling.

Installing a solar panel is one of those instances. Installing a solar panel in the wrong way will mean that you will have to spend more money trying to fix the error that you made.

Some federal laws and regulations need to be considered to ensure no future problems with your installation.

The angling of the solar panel and teeing it should follow strict guidelines. All this regulation is the number one reason you should never do the installation yourself.

But if you know your way when it comes to wiring and reading the sun’s movement, you can try and DIY. In this article, we will look at some of the things that you need to consider before going ahead and installing your solar panel.

How Safe are You When it Comes to DIY installation?

Solar panels are becoming cheaper every day. That means many people have come to realize the importance of solar energy.

Even though you can easily walk into any of your local stores and purchase solar kits at a low price, you should think of the benefits you will get when you use a professional solar panel installer.

You will get incentives, quality service, and rebates when you use a professional installer. When it comes to the full installation at your home or even at your office apartment, the installation’s whole process is never that easy.

Below are some factors to consider before starting the whole installation process.

  • Your Roof Condition

Most solar panels are usually on the rooftop. Knowing the condition of your roof will play a significant role when it comes to solar panel installation.

You need to know the size of your roof so that when you are purchasing the solar panel, you do not end up purchasing the wrong size.

You also need to know how strong your roof is because it will hold your panel for years. If you cannot figure out some of these questions, it would be best to inspect your roof to avoid some significant accidents in the future.

Your roof might also be old and cannot support a massive solar panel, and that will mean that your solar panel will end up collapsing.

The positioning of your roof will also play a significant role because if you install your panel on the wrong side of the roof, you will never get any sunlight. That will mean the performance of your solar panel will be highly interrupted.

It is always good to check with your panel provider as they will help you understand your roof and how your shingles will hold, and the best position to place it.

Most solar panel installers will suggest installing your panel at an angle of 180 – 195 degrees south, as that is when the sunlight is received most.

  • Regulations

Depending on which part of the country you stay in, laws and regulations guide things like installing a solar panel.

You might also need to get a clearance certificate from your local electricity company showing that they are okay with installing a solar panel in that area.

Failing to follow any of the given regulations and going ahead to install the panel yourself might lead you to some severe problems with the local department. That is why it is always good to call a qualified solar panel installer from the company you bought the solar.

  • Wiring

Wiring is always the riskiest process when it comes to solar installation. You might have an idea of wiring, but you will cause more damage than you ever thought if you do it incorrectly.

Wiring is a very tricky process as it involves connecting the batteries, the inverters, and many other connections, which, if done wrong, can either cause a power surge or you might end up starting a fire in your house.

In most cases, certification is always right to have before starting the whole wiring process. Improper connections in your fuse box can end up blowing your solar panel, and you will have lost everything you thought you ever had.

Hiring an adequately certified installer will be the best thing to do. They are qualified to do the job, and they will quickly tell you your system requirements and even know what amount of electricity you need in your house.

  • Placement and Planning

Even if you know how solar panels work or how the energy flows from one place to another, planning is important to consider first.

Before you even go further, you need to ask yourself questions like, how many solar panels do I need? What purpose is the solar panel going to serve? How will I place the panel on top of the roof? What size of solar panels do I need to purchase? Does your roof have space?

The above questions are just some of the planning and placement questions you need to ask yourself before starting the installation process.

If you go wrong in one of those placement questions, you will end up doing damage to your roof, and you will spend even more money than you thought. With all those questions in mind, it would be best to contact a professional solar panel installer to help you with the installation.

Set the Platform and Conduit

First, you will need to have a suitable platform to lay your solar panel. It should be a flat surface and should be tilting towards the sun.

The panel’s ideal place should be on top of the house, preferably the rooftop. But this can be dangerous as you can end up falling off the roof.

Usually, not all rooftops are suitable for installing a solar panel. Others do not have excellent exposure to direct sunlight, affecting how your solar panel gets direct sunlight.

On the other hand, some rooftops need remodeling now and then, which will mean dismantling the panel every time. You do not have a lot of options when it comes to installing a solar panel.

In most cases, installing a solar panel should never be that hard and should not require a custom platform. But if you are not the best, you will need to do some extra work. You will require 4X4 wood, concrete pillars, and some tubes to place the panels. 

The size of the wood will depend on the number of solar panels you intend to install. If you have several panels, that will mean you will have to work even more challengingly.

The length will be determined by where you place the solar panel when it comes to the conduit. Placing it on top of the roof will mean that you will need a shorter conduit.

DIY Install Solar Panels Yourself In 6 Steps

DIY Install Solar Panels Yourself In 6 Seps
DIY Install Solar Panels Yourself In 6 Steps

Mount the Panels

When you purchase a solar panel, they usually come with brackets you can use when mounting your solar panel.

If your surface is wooden, you will have no problem attaching the brackets. But if your surface platform is steel, you will need the help of a drill to help you attach the solar panel to your roof.

If your solar panel has not come with its bracket, you will need to contact your dealer to inquire if they forgot to give you the bracket.

The ideal brackets are angled brackets because you need to secure the front first. You need to make sure they are centered and squared before starting the process of screwing.

Determine the Position of The Sun and Then Secure the Front Legs

When it comes to ground platforms, you should never have any problem getting the best position. Ground positioning gives you many options, but you need to have a meteorological idea of the sun’s pattern in your area.

The solar panel’s position will enable you to get 100% sunlight from the sun. So, determining the sun’s angle will help you in your installation process.

Finding the perfect sun movement in your area should never be difficult. You can always visit the website and try to determine how the sun moves in your location.

Once you have gotten the correct calculations of how the sun moves, you can then set your solar panel’s rare legs to an angel that will enable you to get the most from the sun.

Wiring the Conduit to The Solar Panel

For you to be able to carry out this next process, you will need to have either a junction conductor or a fuse combiner box. Once you have one of the tools, you are good to go.

The modules of the panels are usually stripped and wired in pairs. You need to confirm that the wiring is proper from the solar panel modules, and once you know that they are well connected, you will need to connect the wires to the fuse box connected to an underground conduit cable.

If you do not have any idea when dealing with electricity, it is advisable to hire an experienced electrician who will help you connect the wires to the fuse box. It would help if you always took precautions when dealing with electrical equipment.

The next thing you need to do in the terminal box is making sure the stripped wires are correctly connected. The red wires in the terminal box need to correspond with the junction box’s red wires, and the black negative wire should also correspond. Once they are all connected, your solar panel is ready to start functioning.

You Need to Understand the Wiring of The Array

 We will always stress that when it comes to connecting your solar panel to the conduit, you need to be familiar with the whole wiring process.

You need to know how the solar panel wires are connected to ensure that electricity flows appropriately. If you are familiar with the solar panel’s wiring, it can be easy for you to troubleshoot when you ever experience any lapses.

All solar panels have a solar breaker which must connect directly to a circuit breaker disconnect. Energy usually flows from the circuit disconnect directly to a battery bank connected to a charger controller.

Frequently energy flows from the battery to the circuit breaker then to the inverters, which change the DC to AC.

When you finish the connection, you should use the AC generated from the solar panel directly into your house or office apartment. The AC should be able to flow with easy to all parts of your home.

Every part of the house where the connection is passing should be able to receive electricity. If you have any other components like a gas generator or any electric appliances, they should all get electricity.

Cables Need to be Connected to The Cables

We now have an idea of how the wiring works in a solar panel. It is now time to connect the wires to your house. You first need to connect the electric cables with the underground conduit cable that goes directly into your house.

For easy threading, you need to use a nylon rope to connect the cables, after which you need to pull the conduit to the inverter panels. Different solar panels have different fuse combiners depending on the brand company.

  • Green cables are connected first to the ground strip.
  • Red cables connected to the PV positive terminal block.
  • Black cables connect to the PV negative terminal block.

Setting Up the Grounding Array

For you to be able to hold or touch the solar panel array without getting electrocuted, you need to bury the array with six inches of its tip facing upwards from the ground.

It should either be on a wooden surface or directly on the ground. Once you finish doing this, you should get a copper wire from the rod on the ground directly to the fuse box and the same to the solar panel. The grounding will ensure that you are safely grounded.

Setting the Home Connections

Once the external connection is over, it is time to go inside your house and finish the connection. Get the cables running from the array to the inverter to the panel disconnect, but you should remember:

  • Green cables are connected first to the ground strip.
  • Red cables connected to the PV positive terminal block.
  • Black cables connect to the PV negative terminal block.

You should have the battery bank just near the solar panel setup. It would help if you connected the conduit to the inverters in the ceiling. Then feed the battery cables into the panel disconnect.

The other side of the cables should connect to the battery. The battery connection should be in series alternating the positive and negative, ensuring they are secure. After the whole setup, you need to test to see if the connection is working.

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