How Solar Panel Installation Works

Solar panel installation is a complex process that requires careful planning and permits. It also entails the construction of electrical infrastructure and a roof. It's a lengthy process, but it pays off in the long run with a significant resale value boost for your home.
The cost of a solar energy system is determined by your energy usage and the size of the panel you need to power your home. According to the Center for Sustainable Energy, a 5-kW Solar Panel system typically costs between $3 and $5 per watt, before any incentives or tax credits are applied.
You can determine your system's size by estimating how much energy you consume in a month or by using a solar calculator to get an idea of how much power your panels will generate. You can also ask a professional to help you estimate the size of your panels for you.
First, an engineer will come to your house and inspect the roof. This will ensure that your home is suitable for installing solar panels and that you'll have no structural issues with your roof. You should also consult an electrician for this step, because you'll need to replace your breaker panel (the gray box in your basement) to allow for the extra amps that solar panels require.
Next, the electrician will set up wiring for the panels, inverter and a meter. This will connect the panels to your electrical grid and the meter will track how much electricity your solar panel system generates, allowing you to send excess energy back into the electric grid.
After this, the wiring is connected to your inverter, which converts the incoming solar energy into electricity that can be used by your home. You can also add a battery to your system to store energy for use at night or in the event of an emergency.
The wiring for your solar panels should be installed in series and parallel to protect them from damage caused by lightning. This will help to keep the system from overheating and creating a fire hazard.
Once the wiring is complete, your installer will mount the Solar panels onto a platform. It is recommended that the platform be made of metal, and that it be grounded with a UL listed grounding system.
Depending on the type of mounting that you've chosen, you'll need to install a number of hardware parts. Racking hardware, BOS pieces (balance of system), grounding hardware and other attachments are all important to the installation process.
If you're a DIYer, make sure you have the proper tools and supplies for the job. These include insulated tools, a voltmeter with fresh batteries and a rubber mat to insulate yourself from the ground.
You'll also need a ladder to reach the top of your roof, and a pair of hammers, screwdrivers and other tools for putting up the poles that hold the racking system in place. You can even hire a roofing contractor to install the roof if you aren't comfortable doing the work yourself. This post:, elaborates more on the topic, so you may need to check it out.
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