10 Solar Panel Installation Tips for Your DIY Journey
So you’ve chosen to take the DIY route with your solar panel installation — congratulations! What’s next?
As experts in DIY solar panel kits, we’re eager to help you navigate your installation according to plan. Discover our 10 best solar panel installation tips to help you streamline the installation process and get your solar panel array up and running in no time.
Check out our DIY Solar Installation guide here.
Solar Panel Installation Tip #1: Choose the Right Size System
Yes, installing a solar panel array on your home will help you go green and save you money on your electric bills. But not just any system will work. You’ll need to decide on exactly what size system you need, which is different for every home.
Furthermore, calculating your costs and savings can be tricky. It’s best to get in touch with a solar expert to help you understand your requirements and what you need to buy. Here at GoGreenSolar, we are experts at helping DIYers get up and running. We’ll guide you through sizing your system properly and choosing the right equipment based on your electricity usage.
Solar Panel Installation Tip #2: Get Help With Paperwork
Installing the system is just one piece of the pie. For some, getting the permits and utility interconnection can be more complicated than the actual installation process!
You’ll definitely want help with retrieving permits from your local county or municipality to install your system, and getting permission from the utility to tie into the electric grid and operate your system.
The best way to get this task done right is to purchase your DIY solar kit from a reputable company that can help you with these processes.
Additionally, we can also assist you in maximizing your incentives. If you need guidance navigating the federal tax credit or other local rebates, we’d be happy to help.
Solar Panel Installation Tip #3: Plan Ahead
It is important to do a few things before you get on the roof (or ground).
One, read the installation instructions for all your equipment. Before you start rolling your eyes, know there are a lot of important details that you need to know! Installation manuals are always written for a good reason.
Also, make a shopping list of items you’ll need from the hardware store. Try to save yourself from running back and forth to the store. When you purchase a DIY kit from GoGreenSolar, we’ll provide you with a detailed list of everything you need to purchase from your local home improvement shop.
Next, plan out how you’re going to get the solar panels on the roof, if you’re doing a roof mount system. If you have a single-story home and some helping hands, you could access your roof fairly easily. But if you have a second-story home or no helpers, you may want to consider renting a lift to make the job safer and easier. And, always remember to follow standard safety precautions.
Finally, before you get out your ladder and tools, be sure to check the weather forecast. You don’t want a surprise thunderstorm rolling in after you’ve drilled all the holes in your roof.
Solar Panel Installation Tip #4: Wait for Permission
This one can be difficult. As eager as you are to install your residential solar system, it is important to wait until your permit is approved by the local building authorities and you have completed the necessary applications for the utility company before you do any installing.
Solar Panel Installation Tip #5: Measure Twice, Drill Once
Measure out exactly where you are going to put the solar panels on your roof before you drill a single hole. Using sidewalk chalk is a great way to mark up your roof so you can have the whole solar panel array mapped out, and don’t run into any surprises.
Solar Panel Installation Tip #6: Keep It Level
Using chalk lines, strings and a T-square will ensure your solar panels are installed straight and level.
If you spend the time upfront making sure the roof attachments and rails are in line with your roof shingles, and the first solar panel you install is square, your result will be a clean-looking solar array that looks like it was done by a seasoned professional.
Solar Panel Installation Tip #7: Track the Serial Numbers
If you are installing micro inverters or DC optimizers, it is very important to make a map of the serial numbers so you can properly set up your monitoring. If there is an issue with any equipment down the road, you will know exactly which solar panel is causing the problem instead of hunting through the array trying to figure it out.
Manufacturers put serial number stickers on micro inverters and optimizers. So, all you have to do is peel off the stickers and put them in order on a piece of paper for future reference. It only takes a minute if you remember to do it before you install the solar panels.
Solar Panel Installation Tip #8: Make Gravity Your Friend
Work with gravity instead of against it. Install the lower row of solar panels first and make sure all the clamps are tight. As you install the second row of solar panels above it, you can use the first row to hold solar panels in place as you get them into position. Be sure to leave a small gap in between rows before tightening the second row of solar panels.
Also, as you plan to pull wires through the conduit, start at the highest location so you can pull the wires downward instead of having to pull the weight of the wires upward.
Solar Panel Installation Tip #9: Stay Grounded
Improper grounding of the system is one of the most common reasons that solar panel installations fail inspections. Make sure you follow the racking manufacturer’s instructions for grounding and be sure to install grounding bushings at both ends of the metal conduit.
Solar Panel Installation Tip #10: Set Up Some Lifelines
Always put safety first: a rope and harness should be your physical lifeline if you are working on the roof.
And having expert, certified technical support should be your virtual lifeline to get you through any difficulties you encounter. GoGreenSolar is proud to offer complete technical support for customers from NABCEP-certified professionals. Solar professionals are here to answer your calls or emails and guide you through every step of the process. We’ll help you get everything done right the first time for a stress-free and hassle-free installation.
The Adventure of DIY Solar Installation
Have more questions about solar installation or whether DIY is right for you? Check out our DIY installation FAQ page, or contact us to chat with an expert!