Do It Yourself Tips for Residential Solar
It’s not that hard to install and maintain your solar system. You just need help wiring and metering. Besides an electrician, pay a handyman to assist you during installation.
Doing it yourself is a brilliant idea because you can size your solar system any way you want. It pays to do a little research and buy a few tools.
Seek Expert Advice
Find a specialist with lots of experience. Someone who owns a solar system may know the process and products.
Answer these questions before you invest money and time in solar: Do I have room on my roof or property to install solar panels? Would I rather have panels on the rooftop or on the ground where I can access them easily?
Does this area receive enough sunlight during the day? Do shadows from neighbouring structures and tall trees fall on this area? Is my roof structurally sound to withstand the weight of panels and racks? Will I be able to position my solar panels correctly?
You need a stable, spacious and exposed roof. Mount your solar panels where there’s sufficient sunshine.
Check your electricity bill. At the bottom of the bill, there’s a kWh number, which indicates how much electricity you use. We recommend lowering your power usage. Energy efficiency saves you money.
Ways to save energy include using energy efficient lighting and reducing phantom loads. Computers, stereos, TVs and smartphones draw electricity when they’re in the ‘off’ or ‘standby’ mode. Plug these devices into a power strip. When not in use, turn off the strip.
Whether you plan to do it yourself or hire a solar installer, there are things you should understand. Read how-to-manuals or watch tutorial videos. You can’t connect the electricity if you don’t know the basics of electricity. Make safety your main priority.
Learn the difference between off-grid and grid-tie systems and decide which system is suitable for you. Grid-tie systems lower your electricity bill but require a connection to the grid or utility company. With an off-grid system, you can work and live in remote areas where electricity is too expensive or not available.
Size Your System
The process isn’t the same for sizing grid-tie and sizing off-grid. Work with a solar expert to design a system which is expandable and affordable.
Set a Budget
Once you determine how many panels are needed to produce adequate electricity, look at comparable systems. Compare prices and set a realistic budget.
Check out state/local incentives, federal tax credits and utility rebates. Now refigure your budget.
Contact the Authorities
Call your city or county building department. Installing “to code” qualifies you for incentives and ensures safety. Contact your electrician to finalize wiring and metering.
Need a little assistance? A solar company can back you up, from sizing your system, selecting solar components to getting the unit up-and-running.
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