Solar panels have proven to be the best source of renewable and clean energy. In fact, according to the latest statistics, solar energy counts for over 3.5% of total electricity generated in the United Kingdom.
Solar panels are a sure way to cut down on energy expenses in the long run. There are countless reasons to get them installed, and that’s why they are increasingly gaining traction. However, choosing a location for the solar panel and understanding its installation procedure can be daunting for first-time users.
So, if you’re curious and want to learn about the process of mounting solar panels, this guide will take you through everything you need to know!
Benefits of Getting a Solar Panel
Solar panels are a revolution in the field of renewable energy. Here are some reasons why you must get solar panels installed at the earliest.
Solar panels emit zero pollutants. Thus, using solar panels minimises the effects of climate change on the environment and reduces your carbon footprint.
Any electricity that you produce using solar panels is entirely free. This allows you to use as much energy as you want without having to pay any additional costs. It can power your home or business for free, thus saving cash in the long run by cutting down on energy bills.
No Permission Required
You don’t need any official permissions to install a solar panel. You just need to comply with a set of simple rules.
If you’re in the UK, you will get plenty of sunlight all around the year. Since the sun isn’t running out of sunlight anytime soon, you can generate and use as much power as you want without worrying about exhaustion.
Choosing an Appropriate Location for the Panel
The placement of solar energy panels is mainly dependent on the tilt and azimuth (orientation) angles. The tilt angle depends on the latitude of your location. Other than this, the orientation is important and is specific to the kind of installation you opt for.
Types of Mounts
While the location is an integral part of the solar panel installation, the mounting type determines the system’s efficiency. This section talks about the two types of mounting.
Roof Mount Systems
Roof Mount is a popular choice globally because it is cost-efficient and saves space. However, even though they save space, they are not very flexible. The system has to be placed on the restricted space available on the roof.
Other obstructive factors include chimneys, antennas, vents, and so on, which further reduces the space available on the roof. Therefore, it cannot be claimed that roof mounting is the most optimum choice.
There are two types of roofs, so you need to know how the solar panel will fit on yours.
For sloped roofs: A railed system must be installed on sloped roofs. This includes attaching a set of rails on the roof to keep the solar modules in place. Flashings are attached to rafter locations that will provide a more robust structural support.
For flat roofs: On flat roofs, a system of ballasted rocks is used to hold the system to the floor. The flat mounting racking system is usually installed at an angle between 5-30 degrees, depending upon its type.
Ground Mount Systems
Ground mounts do not have any restrictions, provided you have enough space in your lawn or backyard. These systems can be comfortably placed at the correct tilt and orientation angles, maximising the efficiency of the solar panels.
Note the place where you decide to place the solar panel must not be covered with a lot of shade.
How to interconnect solar panels?
Once the system layout is in place, including the number of panels connected in a string and the number of strings to be installed, you can move to connect solar panels.
You can comfortably connect two or more solar panels by using the MC4 connectors. Generally, solar panels are connected in series, and then the string wires are directly connected to the invertor. However, they can also be connected in parallel or a combination of series/parallel using connectors.
The solar panel connections must be handled with utmost care. This is because they continuously receive sunlight and have an open circuit voltage waiting for something to close the circuit’s path.
Process of Installation
This section deals with a step-wise breakdown of the process of installation of solar panels. The following are the steps to install a solar panel on your roof.
You must install scaffolding first to ensure safety during the primary installation process on the roof.
Next, the solar panel mounting system has to be installed. This will support the solar panels. In order to maximise exposure to sunlight, the mount must be set up at an angle of 18-36 degrees.
Next, the solar panel is installed on the mounting structure. Ensure all the nuts and bolts are in place to provide maximum support.
A critical step is wiring. This is done using MC4 connectors to connect solar panel strings. These are used since they are suitable for all types of panels. As a safety measure, shut down all power supplies of the house while connecting.
Connect the solar inverter to the system. The solar inverter can be placed either indoors or outdoors, depending upon the location of the main panel. The efficiency of the inverter is more when it is put in a cool, shady place.
The next step is to connect the solar inverter with the solar battery. A solar battery is placed to ensure an uninterrupted energy supply on cloudy days. It also affects and decreases costs during solar panel installation.
Now you need to connect the inverter to the consumer unit. A meter and a monitor must be installed to measure the amount of electricity that is generated. The solar system’s performance can be easily checked using a computer or laptop.
Finally, start and test the solar panels.
The solar panel installation process is complete.
Maintenance of Solar Panels
Installation is just the first step of generating power using a solar panel. Its maintenance is very crucial, and one must not neglect it. Luckily, solar panels require negligible maintenance.
However, you must check your solar panels once every year to check if there’s dirt or any other things piled up on the panel. There shouldn’t be anything blocking them from absorbing the heat of the sun.
Consult the experts regarding any warranty constraints about self-cleaning. You can even take the help of a cleaning company to do the cleaning for you.
Additionally, it would be best to get your solar panel system checked by the installer every 4-6 years.
Solar energy is by far the most cost-efficient and environment-friendly source of energy. Hence, if you’re thinking about getting one installed, don’t think much. It is an investment and will reap benefits for generations to come.
This solar panel mounting guide talks about different components of getting a solar panel mounted and successfully installed. Take the first step towards an energy-efficient future and get your solar panel system installed at the earliest.