8 Easy Steps for Solar Panels Installation (2021 Guide)

solar panel installation

Many people are now increasingly turning to a more sustainable source – solar power.

It’s very handy that a solar panel’s warranty covers transportation and installation. 

Still, if you want to do that yourself, it’s fantastic that you stumbled upon this solar panels installation guide – it will tell you everything you need to know about solar panel installation.

Read on!

‘To-Do List’ Before Installing Solar Panels

  • First of all, consider the size of your solar system – what are your power needs? Domestic solar panels come with a standard dimension of 1.70 m x 1.00 m, and a typical panel generates 250-400 watts per hour. Analyse the lightning systems and appliances in your home as well as your energy bills and do your ‘solar math’.

For instance, couples or people living alone will meet their needs with a 3 kW solar system. However, the most frequently installed solar system in Australia is the 7 kW one, which is enough for a larger family.

  • Next, get the right equipment. Basic solar panel installation equipment consists of:
    • Solar panels
    • Solar panel racking
    • Charge controller
    • Power inverter
    • Solar battery storage unit (optional)
  • Finally, calculate the cost. Solar panel installation cost in Australia is between $4,000-$6,000 for an average household, mainly depending on the type, size and location of your system. 

Although it might be tempting to go with the cheaper system and save a few bucks, it is not recommended in the long run. Solar panels should last you for at least 20 years, so it is advisable not to cut on quality. 

Luckily, there are cost-efficient as well as premium systems on the market, so you can easily choose the right one for your needs.

Now that you’re acquainted with the basic stuff, bear in mind that solar panel installation is a complex and potentially dangerous job. A proper installer should hold an electrical license as well as have accreditation with the Clean Energy Council of Australia (CEC). Finding a cost-worthy, suitable solar panel installer shouldn’t be a problem, since there are more than 8,000 accredited installers across the country.

Although DIY solar panel installation is not an option, knowing the necessary steps will help you understand and monitor the whole process. The majority of solar module installations are completed in a single day. This is where our step by step solar panel installation guide comes in handy.

Basic step-by-step solar panel installation 

Before you start harvesting the fruits of the sun’s energy, there are some pretty basic yet essential steps you must take. 

Step 1: Signing a contract with your installer

An engineer will visit your property to make sure everything is compatible with the new system. The engineers also evaluate the current condition of the roof making sure there is no roof damage that might prevent proper system installation. 

In the case of ground-mount panels, the engineer will ensure the mounting system can handle the load and lift of the panels, as well as withstand the wind uplift loads in your area. Additionally, the company’s experts will advise you on getting the mandatory local permits.

Next, the engineer will check the electrical panel to make sure it is compatible with the solar system you’re installing.

Step 2. Choosing the right location

Next, choose the right location for your solar system. You have two options: roof-mount or ground-mount system. Which option you choose depends on the size and design of your home and yard. 

It’s important to pick a location with the most exposure to the sun for most of the day for best results. North-facing panels usually achieve the best energy outputs since Australia is based in the southern Earth’s hemisphere, receiving sun mostly from the north side.

Step 3: Mount installation

Once the position of the tiles is chosen, the installer will move on to install the solar panel racking, which is where the panels will be placed. This step involves drilling holes in the rafters, installing mounts, and securing them with steel bolts.

Step 4: Installing the solar panels 

This step covers tightening nuts and bolts, ensuring the whole structure is grounded and secured properly.

The actual solar installation process takes between 1-2 days, depending on the size of your solar system, as well as the characteristics and the position of your property. 

Step 5: Do the electrical wiring 

Putting the electrical wiring that connects the solar panels to your property’s electrical panel and the general power system is the next step. Universal Connectors like MC4 are usually used since they connect all different kinds of solar panels.

Step 6: Connecting the solar inverter to the batteries 

The next step is to connect the solar inverter to the storage battery, which is done by connecting the battery’s positive terminal with the positive terminal of the inverter and the other way around – the negative with the negative. There are two methods applicable:

  • AC-coupled system – which is when DC (direct current) is turned into AC (alternating current) by the solar inverter.
  • DC-coupled system – which is when the current flows from solar panels to a charge controller, meaning there is no inversion from DC to AC.

Step 7: Connecting the inverter to the bi-directional meter

In this step, a regular plug is used to make the connection to the main power switchboard. It connects an output wire with the electric board, which supplies electricity to the entire property.

Step 8: Starting the solar inverter 

Finally, you can test your system by switching it ‘ON’ on the main switch in your property. Solar inverters usually come with a nifty digital display that shows you exactly how much power is generated and solar unit usage at any time.

That’s it! You’ve done it! 

Solar panel installation might sound like rocket science, but with our solar panel setup guide, we’re sure you’ll manage. Now is the time to get to work and start benefiting from your eco-friendly solar system!

However, basic solar panel maintenance is needed for the best optimal results and longevity of your system. Checking the panel output regularly, cleaning the solar panels, and making sure all the wirings and switches are in order is what you should do.

FAQs 

1. Can you install a solar system yourself?

Installing a solar system takes great effort and includes a lot of planning and equipment. In Australia, to install electrical and solar systems, you need to hold an electrical license and be accredited by the Clean Energy Council of Australia (CEC).

To avoid unnecessary costs, failures, and above all, putting your life at hazard, stand clear of DIY solar panel installation.

2. How much does it cost to install a solar panel setup?

The cost of installing solar panels depends on multiple factors. In Australia, it is usually between $3,000 and $10,000. According to statistics, a 7 kW solar system costs an average of $6,580.

3. Should I choose micro inverters or string inverters for my solar panel system?

Microinverters may be the perfect problem-solver if something obstructs the clear view of the skies for your panels. However, if you have a clear position and an unshaded rooftop (or a yard), the more affordable string inverter is considered the best solution.

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