A solar panel installation for your home would both help the environment and your savings.
However, you’ll only enjoy these benefits if installation is a success, which will require a bit of work on your part beforehand.
How to Set up Solar Panels: 5 Things You Must Know Before Beginning
While you may be excited about the benefits of installing solar panels for your home, don’t get started until you’ve reviewed the following five steps you must go through before actually beginning.
1. Begin with Assessing Solar Access
Long before you begin the solar panel installation process, you need to ensure that you have direct access to the sun. This might seem obvious, but many people make this simple mistake every single year.
It’s only after they’re finished installing their solar panels that they realize how much shade their rooftop sees in the early morning.
Fortunately, your roof doesn’t have to be directly in line with the sun in order to benefit from solar power.
You can also set them up somewhere in your yard where this won’t be a problem.
2. Confirm Your Roof Is Structurally Sound
Another step a lot of people skip when learning how to set up solar panels is first checking to confirm that their roof can actually support them.
If you decide to set them up in your yard, this won’t be a problem.
However, if your roof has sufficient access to the sun, you should probably hire a professional to go up there and examine it before you begin installation. While the roof may be strong enough at the moment, you want experienced eyes to tell you whether or not that’s going to change in the near future.
It’s not just about the risk of your roof giving into the weight of the panels, either.
If you have shingles that need to be replaced or warning signs of an impending leak, it’s best to address those before installing solar panels. Otherwise, you may need to pay to have them taken down while necessary repairs are done and then reinstalled.
3. Check with the Homeowners’ Association
Many homeowners’ associations don’t allow solar panels. Despite their many benefits, HOAs ban them for aesthetic reasons.
Check with your HOA first before installing because these rules are generally airtight. So even if you’ve gone through the solar panel installation process and paid for the entire setup, your HOA may still have every right to make you undo the work.
4. Schedule an Energy Audit
Before you begin with solar panel installation, you need to actually know how much solar power your home needs.
Solar panels aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution.
Either way, the goal is twofold:
- Make sure you’re not unnecessarily wasting energy at the moment (e.g. drafts, outdated light bulbs)
- Find out how much energy you use every month (approximately)
Once you’re able to address any energy wasters and have an accurate idea of how much you use every month, you’ll know what kind of solar panel installation is required to provide it.
5. Choose the Right Type of Solar Installation
Finally, before you begin solar installation, you’ll have to decide which version makes the most sense for your home. There are two options:
- Photovoltaic – Works by turning sunlight into electricity
- Thermal – Takes sunlight and uses it to heat air or water for use inside the home
If, after finishing your energy audit, you discover that your home needs a lot of energy for heat, thermal may be best.
The same is true if heating fuel is expensive where you live relative to the cost of electricity. However, this version is rarer so it will be harder to find qualified installers.
Installing Solar Panels on an RV
Many people want to learn how to set up solar panels because they own an RV. Fortunately, installing solar panels on an RV is even easier than doing so on your home.
For one thing, as far as solar panel installation goes, most RVs are the same.
Panels go on the roof. They connect to your vehicle’s bank of batteries and the batteries connect to your electrical devices. RVs are far simpler than homes in this regard. These vehicles also require a lot less energy.
That said, the one big difference among these vehicles is how much electricity they consume, so be sure to audit your vehicle’s use before installing solar panels on your RV. Don’t simply assume.
Installing Solar Panels Is Easier Than Ever
While the steps we covered above are all things you’ll have to do, the good news is that there are now countless professionals who can help with the rest. So if you go through these simple steps, you can simply pay someone to do everything else involved with installing solar panels.