Solar Panel Installation: Can You Do It Yourself?

solar panel installation

 

Instead of waiting for the world to change, many people are taking the initiative to implement environmentally friendly elements in their home. One effective way to reduce your environmental impact is by taking up solar panel installation.

It is possible to install solar panels to your home’s power system, but there are a few steps you need to take. We’re going to cover some of the logistics of solar panel installation in this article so you can move on your way toward being sustainable.

Solar Panel Installation

The first thing you need to do is think about your solar array. A solar array is the size and breadth of your solar panel arrangement, depending on the size on power needs of your home.

This also includes the location that you’ll be placing the panels. Some considerations to make are the landscape of your home, the roof type, the availability of your roof to accommodate panels, and land in your yard that you could place panels on.

Things such as shading, roof slope, shingle materials, and more will all come into play.

Doing It Yourself

If you’re looking to complete the whole operation yourself, know that it’s possible but challenging. Doing it yourself requires a lot of planning and knowledge concerning hookups, permits, power usage, and more.

It’s recommended that you speak with a professional in order to carry out some of the planning. You should also work with an electrician in the process of hooking up your components safely to your home. The risk of tampering with your home’s electrical system is high.

Even if you have the knowledge to set up the entire solar panel system on your own, you should work with someone to properly hook it up to your home. Errors in the process could result in fires, electrocution, and extensive damages to your home.

What Will You Need?

There’s a pretty universal skeleton of items needed to set up a solar panel. Whether you’re just putting a small solar panel together or you’re trying to power your home, you will need the following items.

First, you need the solar panels themselves. These range in size and power production, giving you a good variety of options.

Next, you’ll need a mounting system. This is the piece that situates your panels where they’re going to receive the most sun. This is typically on the roof of your home. You can also set up a mounting system in your yard.

There’s a lot of variety in mounting systems, with some tracking the sun and turning to optimize the sunshine coming in. Finally, you will need an inverter.

The inverter changes the incoming power into a format that your home or device can accommodate. Beyond that, you will need to get specific components to suit whatever you’re using the solar power for.

Want to Learn More?

If you’re seriously considering solar panel installation, you’ll need to get more information on the specifics. From the benefits of solar panels to the wiring needed to hook it up, it’s crucial that you have a solid understanding.

Explore our site for more need-to-know information on solar energy.

Solar FAQ Edition: Can You Use Solar Power at Night?

solar power at night

If you’re considering using solar to power your business, you probably have a lot of questions.

That’s normal.

Since solar panels create energy from sunlight, one of the biggest questions we encounter is, “how do I get solar power at night?”

The answer may surprise you.

So Can You Get Solar Power At Night?

Well, technically, no. In the darkness, you aren’t getting power from the sun. And the sun reflecting off the moon doesn’t do it either.

But you WILL have power.

Here’s how it works:

During the day, a solar panel system absorbs energy from the sunlight known as photovoltaic energy (PV). The system converts PV to direct current (DC) power.

The DC power is then sent through an inverter in the system that converts it to alternating current (AC) power. This is the type of power on which your business runs.

And as long as those solar panels are absorbing that sunlight, you’ve got power.

But What Happens When the Sun Goes down?

Once night falls, solar panels can no longer generate electricity for your business.

But thanks to solar storage, you won’t be left in the dark.

Currently, there are two primary solutions to powering up at night with solar energy: net metering and solar-plus-storage technology.

Net Metering

When your solar panel system produces more electricity than you need during the day, the excess doesn’t go to waste. It’s fed back into the electric grid.

How?

When you use net metering, your business stays connected to the local power grid. Even after you’ve installed solar panels. Then any excess energy from your solar panels during those daylight hours is fed back into the grid.

In exchange, you receive credits for that energy from your utility provider and they’re added to your electric bill. Those credits cover the cost of the power you draw from the grid at night.

So in essence, the grid acts as a sort of solar storage system.

The same process works over the course of a year too.

For instance, you’ll probably produce a surplus of energy and earn credits during the winter months. Then when summer comes and electric bills are typically higher, you’ll use those credits.

Solar-Plus-Storage Technology

Solar-plus-storage is more simplified. And it doesn’t require you to be on the grid.

With this solution, the excess power that’s generated by your solar panels during the day is stored in a battery or other form of energy storage. Then at night, the battery takes care of your power needs.

The benefit of this is that you can also get backup batteries so you have power in case of an emergency.

What Is the Best Solution?

It’s hard to say. A lot will depend on your specific preferences.

One downside to net metering is that it’s not available everywhere. And you’re still, to some extent, relying on the grid and your local utility company to get your power.

Solar storage, on the other hand, was once too cost prohibitive for many businesses. But as the heat storage market heats up, costs are coming down.

The Time Has Come to Go Solar

Regardless of the energy storage solution you choose for getting solar power at night, you can’t go wrong using this renewable energy source.

With a solar panel system, you’ll be saving money AND the earth. So it’s a win-win.

If you’d like to find out just how much money you can save by switching to solar, contact us today. We’ll find the solar panel system that best fits your needs.

 

Savings from the Sun: How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

how long do solar panels last

If those electricity bills are making you sweat, you’ve probably thought about something more efficient and less costly. . . . Something like solar panels.

But solar panels don’t last long, or at least that’s what you’ve heard.

It’s time to put that age-old myth to rest. Solar panels are one of the greatest investments companies and homeowners can make. We’re here to tell you why.

If you’re asking, “How long do solar panels last, then?” read on for the answer, but expect to feel surprised. We promise not to say we told you so.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

In order to understand the longevity of the final answer we provide, it’s necessary to comprehend how solar panels function.

Everything begins with the panels. The panels collect sunlight, then convert it to electricity. The electricity flows to the inverter, which transforms the electricity into a type usable for your home or business.

Although percentages vary according to quality, most solar panels lose anywhere from 0.5% to 1% efficiency each year. This is due to the continual weather, heat and other factors.

How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

The number most people associate with solar panel life is 25 years. Let’s start there.

Almost all businesses provide 20 or 25-year warranties for their solar panels. This is the standard expectation across the board.

By about 25 years, most companies expect panels to function at 80% efficiency. Typically, efficiency rates are higher than expected after this time period. Even better, solar panels continue to provide electricity after this point.

That’s right: the general answer, 25 years, doesn’t take into account how long the panels continue to provide electricity afterward.

The Real Answer

The real answer to this question is much longer. In fact, many solar panels installed 40 years ago are still well and working today.

Furthermore, a 2012 study found most panels degrade by .5% or less each year, meaning the efficiency output remains higher than what most businesses guarantee after 25 years.

And here’s more good news: Within a decade, most homeowners’ initial investment has paid for itself. Many find solar panels pay for themselves in a little over seven years.

How Can They Survive So Long?

Solar panels are built to last.

They are made of durable material, including tempered solar glass. The construction lets them stand up to 90 mile-per-hour winds, hailstorms, extreme heat and more.

As you can tell, they don’t break easily.

On top of that, the degrading efficiency doesn’t stop your solar panels from working well past the warranty date. Panels can produce electricity 10 or even 20 years past the expected 25 years.

The reason most people immediately point to 25 years is that, past that point, experts believe the panels’ efficiency is reduced significantly.

Savings from the Sun

You wondered, “How long do solar panels last?” Now you have the answer: much longer than 25 years.

But the length of time your equipment works is directly linked to the quality of the material and the expertise of the company you work with.

Our team works one-on-one with companies and homeowners to walk them through the process of using solar energy, ensuring they understand exactly what to expect.

In addition to quality products and work, we employ honesty and excellence. Find out how much you can save today by contacting us, and let the sun power your life.