DIY Solar: Where to Start Posted on 08 Dec 10:42
With only a small investment of time and effort, DIY solar can provide you with all the benefits of a professionally installed photovoltaic system — without the hefty price tag!
For the first time in history, homeowners can buy the same components businesses use. Installing and connecting a panel array is a surprisingly simple and straightforward way to cut your system costs significantly.
Questions to Consider
Though DIY solar costs are significantly less than those of professional installations, it is an investment in your future. Consequently, it requires careful thought and consideration.
As you begin thinking about installing a solar panel system, you’ll need to determine the answers to some basic questions that will help with the process.
First, consider your property. Do you have adequate room on your roof for solar panels, or might a ground-mounted system be more appropriate? If you prefer a rooftop location, you must determine whether your roof is structurally sound enough and able to bear the weight of the photovoltaic panels.
When choosing a location for your array, also consider the building’s orientation and access to the sun. Do trees or other buildings shade your roof or your preferred ground location?
For your photovoltaic panels to function at optimum efficiency, they should have a clear view of the southern sky. Fortunately, if that’s not possible at your location, you can work around almost any potential limitations.
Determining a System Size
Use a solar system calculator to determine the number of PV panels you will need to achieve your desired level of energy output.
To make the calculation, you will need to know how much energy your home requires. Check your past electric bills to determine your average energy usage (in kilowatt hours) per month. Your building’s roof pitch and direction, or azimuth, also affect the size of your system.
Our solar calculator also considers the derating factor and system losses when sizing your photovoltaic array. If you aren’t familiar with these concepts, it may be helpful to consult with a solar energy expert to ensure that you choose the right components to meet your needs.
Installing Your System
If you're handy, you can install your own system with the help of a friend or two. Our do-it-yourself customers simply follow the instructions included with their materials and have their systems up and running in a weekend.
If you aren’t well-versed in matters of electricity, you can handle the mounting of the photovoltaic panels and hire an electrician to do the wiring. Be sure to check with your local utility company first, as they may require you to have their technicians or licensed contractors connect your system to the electrical grid.
So, are you ready to make the move to photovoltaic energy for your home or business? Browse our website to find all of your DIY solar needs.