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What are the Best Tips for Installing do-It-Yourself Solar Panels?

Article Details
  • Written By: Patrick Lynch
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 10 February 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Solar power is being utilized on a greater scale than ever before as its benefits become more apparent. The most commonly used do-it-yourself solar panels are the photovoltaic variety that produce enough energy to power a home. Tips on installing these panels include fitting them on a roof that has no shade with mounts that should be kept in a straight line. This ensures that the panels connect seamlessly. Stainless steel bolts and rails should also be used whenever possible.

Photovoltaic solar panels may be the most cost effective do-it-yourself solar panels on the market. A single panel must be able to produce at least 250 watts of direct current, otherwise it is unsuitable for home use. Do-it-yourself solar panels of this nature lose approximately 0.5% of their efficiency per annum and have an average life of around 30 years. Photovoltaic solar panels only need to be hosed off a few times per year during the summer. Otherwise they require no further maintenance.

In order for the do-it-yourself solar panels to be effective for home use, at least 5,000 watts of power will be needed. In other words, a minimum of 20 solar panels must be purchased. This should be able to run a few electrical appliances in the home such as a washing machine.

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A rail mounting system is necessary to secure the do-it-yourself solar panels to the roof. This system sometimes comes with the panels but must be purchased separately otherwise. Although it is best for the panels on a roof which faces west or south, solar panels will be effective as long as the roof is not shaded.

Align the mounts on top of the rafters. They should be already drilled to ensure the rafters do not get split. It is important to keep the mounts in a straight line. This can be achieved by using a piece of chalk to mark off the position of each mount.

Use stainless steel lag bolts when securing the mounts on the roof. The area surrounding the mounts should be cleaned with a hot mop, and metal flashings should be placed on top of the mounts. Metal rails should then be attached with steel bolts.

Once this has been accomplished, all that is left to complete the installation of the do-it-yourself solar panels is the placement of the panels themselves. If the mounts have been placed correctly on the roof, the panels should connect perfectly. Finally, the panels should be connected to the power supply, thus ensuring a flow of energy into the home.

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