Solar panels are almost necessary investments these days, especially with increasing electricity prices. You could save thousands every year because of them. As for additional expenses such as installation, this can also be avoided if you can do the installation yourself.
While we do not recommend that you do this by yourself or without professional help, you know yourself better than anyone and you certainly know how well you can do things. For proper guidance, however, we recommend that you take the instruction from us, we don’t want you hurting yourself in the process of installing our solar panels or someone else’s.
Without further ado, here is how you can install solar panels by yourself along with important aspects of the installation.
Set up the conduit and platform
First, you will need to pick a suitable platform for your solar panels, these can be anything flat or tilted towards the sun. The most ideal location is the roof of your house, however, this can pose some installation problems you need to consider:
- Not all roofs are built the same way.
- Some do not have the most optimal exposure to the sun.
- Some roofs need to be serviced periodically meaning dismantling your panel set up to do this.
- You have less freedom how to install your panels.
However, a good roof should save you the trouble of having to build a custom platform for your solar panels. If your roof is not the best though, you will need at least four concrete pillars and at least a lot of 4×4 wood or steel tube for the panels, the amount and width depend on how many panels you have.
As for the conduit, it needs to have a secure connection from the platform to your house, it’s easier if the platform is your roof because that generally means a shorter conduit.
Mount the solar panels
A lot of panels come with mounting brackets which you can easily attach to your platforms, especially if the platforms are wood. For steel platforms or roofs, however, you might need a better drill, and be careful with that roof too. However, if the panels do not come pre-fastened with brackets, you might want to contact your dealer and inquire whether the bracket is provided or where to put one.
For brackets though, angled ones are the most ideal, secure the front feet first. Make sure they are squared and centered before being secured in place with screws or other materials which you have.
Determine the best positioning of the sun and secure the rear legs
Now for ground platforms, you definitely have a lot more freedom with choosing how to install the solar panels. You can also decide which direction they need to face for optimal sunshine. However, make sure that you use meteorological data to determine the movements of the sun in your area, this way, you can maximize sunlight based on the angle and position of your panels.
For sun movements in your area, you can use this website. One thing to note is that it’s not actually the sun that is moving, but the Earth, but for the sake of simplicity, let’s just assume its the sun and the sunlight which adjusts.
Once you are done with calculations, use the rear legs to elevate and tilt the solar panel towards the best direction and angle where it can catch the most sunlight. Make adjustments to the rear legs’ length accordingly before fastening the panel to it.
Wire the solar panels to the conduit
For this method you may need either of these two:
- A junction connector
- A fuse combiner box
If you already have either of those, the modules of the panels should be stripped and wired in pairs before being connected to the fuse box mounted at the platform and connected to underground conduit output cables.
As always, we do not recommend that you do this without any electrical work knowledge. If you are not familiar with the materials mentioned above, then hiring an electrician to do it for you would be safer. Even if you are, proper precautions should always be observed.
Now that’s out of the way, in the terminal box, the stripped wires must be connected properly. In this instance, the red wires are connected to the positive terminal and the black wires to the negative terminal. Once connected, the wires are fed up through the bottom of the junction box and connected to the corresponding positive and negative terminal blocks.
Make sure you understand the wiring of the array
We cannot stress enough that you need to be familiar with how your wiring for the solar panels works. This way, if any problems occur or any performance lapses happen, you can easily troubleshoot. Connecting the exterior wiring to the interior control panels can be quite confusing if it is your first time.
The solar breaker must first be connected to a circuit breaker disconnect. The energy will flow from the disconnect to a charge controller and then to a battery bank to be stored. When needed, energy flows from the batteries back to the circuit breaker disconnect and from the disconnect to a power inverter (this will change the power from DC to AC).
After that, the usable AC electricity will be able to flow into your home’s or establishment’s electric panel. Any backup components you employ such as gas-generators or similar will also have to be connected to the building’s electric panel along with the solar panel array.
Connect the cables to the control panels
Now that you understand how the wiring works for solar panels, you are finally ready to connect them to the house. So run the electrical cable from the solar array into the house through the underground conduit. Connecting the cables to a nylon rope can be used for easy threading, then pull through the conduit to inverter panels.
Connect the cables at the fuse combiner box located at the base of the solar array, this may vary depending on the brand. As mentioned above:
- The green cables are first connected to the grounding strip.
- The red cables are connected to the PV out positive terminal block;
- And the black cables are connected to the PV out the negative terminal block.
Set up the grounding for the array
In order for the solar panel arrays to be safe for human hands to touch without being grounded, you will need proper grounding for them. To do this, bury a grounding rod with about six inches of its body sticking out. You can do this either on a wood surface or on the ground.
Once that is done, run a copper grounding wire from the rod to the fuse box and from the solar panels to the fuse box. The panels should now be grounded safely.
Set up the home connections
Once everything is complete outside, go back inside the building to make finish the wiring. Run the cables from the array to the inverter panel disconnect. Again:
- the red wire is connected to the positive terminal;
- the green grounding wire is connected to the grounding terminal;
- and the black wire is connected to the negative terminal.
It is up to you where to install the battery bank for the solar panel setup, but it is recommended to put it near the control panels. Once you have a location run the conduit through the ceiling into the inverter panel. Next, feed two heavy-duty battery cables into the panel disconnect. The other ends of the cables will be connected to the battery pack.
The battery system must be installed in a series — alternating positive and negatives — and secured into place. Afterward, make sure to cover the panels and everything else then run some tests to see if it works.