How to Install a Solar Panel
Solar panels generate electricity from sunlight by converting photons of light into electric current. The electricity they produce is direct current (DC). An inverter converts this DC into alternating current, which is what powers appliances.
Solar energy is a renewable resource. It reduces our dependence on fossil fuels and the production of harmful greenhouse gasses.
Solar energy is a renewable, clean source of electricity that can replace fossil fuels and reduce home utility bills. It also contributes to a safer planet by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.
The process behind converting sunlight to electric current is called photovoltaics (photo=light, voltaic =electricity). Solar panels contain photovoltaic cells that convert light into electricity using the principles of semiconductors. The basic design of solar panels involves silicon solar cells that are connected in series to generate electricity. Solar panel efficiency depends on the quality of the silicon and the other materials used to create the cell. Monocrystalline solar panels use a single pure form of silicon while polycrystalline solar panels make use of multiple silicon fragments. This difference in efficiency is the reason for lower power output from polycrystalline solar panels. Thin film solar panels spray or deposit amorphous silicon or cadmium-telluride onto glass or metal surfaces, creating modules that can be fabricated in large volumes and at low cost. However, thin-film solar panels have lower efficiencies than crystalline solar panels.
Each individual solar cell converts only a small proportion of the Sun’s energy into electricity. So, solar panels need to be combined into a larger array of cells to generate enough energy for your household. They’re then connected to an inverter that turns the DC electricity from the solar panels into alternating current. This electricity can be used by your appliances, exported to the grid or stored in a battery for later use.
Solar Panel Installation
The first step in the solar solar battery panel installation process is choosing a solar company. This is one of the most important steps because it determines both the price of your system and the quality of your installation. Choose a company that has been around for at least five years and has an NABCEP certified installer. They should also have good customer reviews and a competitive pricing structure.
Once you have chosen your installer, they will begin the permitting and inspections process, which can take between 2-4 weeks on average. This is because the town and utility companies will need to inspect your home and give their approval before your solar panels can be connected to the grid.
During this process, the team will also look at your roof to make sure that it can support the weight of your solar panels. In the majority of cases, your roof will be fine, but if it isn’t, it may need some additional support.
Once the local inspections and permit processes are complete, your solar energy systems will be installed on your home. They can either be fixed mounted (so they remain stationary) or ground mounted, which allow them to track the sun as it moves across the sky throughout the day and season (single or dual axis). You may also want to install a monitoring system that will tell you exactly how much power your solar panels are producing on an hourly basis.
Solar Panel Maintenance
Solar panels don’t have a lot of moving parts and are very sturdy. However, like anything else, they can get dirty from time to time. They are easily rinsed off with a hose, and if your location gets a lot of rain, this is usually all you’ll need to do.
Solar panel maintenance mainly involves tracking the power production of your solar system and making sure it’s producing what it should be. Typically, any decrease in performance indicates there is a need for cleaning. It’s easy to track this with your system monitoring or by looking at your electricity bill.
Occasionally, your solar panel installation team will come by and clean your panels. This is a good idea, especially after severe weather and in the fall and spring when dust outdoor waterproof solar lights and debris tend to build up on your panels.
The frequency of these cleanings depends on the conditions in your area, but two to four times a year is generally enough. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s manual for your particular panel to ensure they are being cleaned properly.
Never walk on your solar panels, as this can damage them and void your warranty. Additionally, this is a dangerous way to get up on your roof and can lead to falls that may injure you or your property.
Solar Panel Repair
Solar panels can be damaged by severe weather conditions, physical impact, or faulty connections. This may result in a drop of energy output or even completely shut off your system. It is important to keep up with regular maintenance and inspections to prevent damage and loss of energy production.
The cost of repairing a broken solar panel depends on the severity and nature of the damage. Small chips and cracks can usually be repaired with epoxy, while extensive damage to the glass or cells requires panel replacement. Repairing loose connections typically involves cutting into the panel, fixing the connection, and soldering it closed, so it is one of the more expensive repairs.
Keeping up with regular cleanings is also an important part of solar panel maintenance. This should include non-abrasive cleaning materials, warm water, and a squeegee. Professionals can perform these tasks safely and effectively for a reasonable price. They should check wiring to make sure it isn’t corroding or faulty, and they can trim any overgrown tree branches that are obstructing the solar panels.
It’s always best to hire a qualified technician for repairs and maintenance, especially any work that involves going up or down ladders, walking on roofs, or performing hot or soldering jobs. This is especially true for any work that requires access to the underlying components, as opening up the panel could void any warranty agreements.