Home solar panel installation by homeowners who have purchased solar kits from our company is becoming an everyday occurrence. With the growing popularity of solar panel micro-inverters, home solar kits are cheap, fast and easier to install than you might think.
If you can replace a window, paint a room or repair a blown off shingle with some instructions and a few tools you likely already have around the house, you can install the majority of your own home solar panel kit saving you a boatload of money.
We think that home solar DIY (Do-It-Yourself) kits are the wave of the future for several reasons. Solar micro-inverters have taken some of the mystery out of the solar installations and made solar kits nearly fool-proof. The micro inverter and the AC solar panel kit work at the individual solar level.
Each inverter extracts the greatest power from that module no matter what the other modules in the PV array are doing. The output of each is independent of the other solar panel kit modules and inverters in the set. The outputs of the micro inverters or AC solar panel kit modules are connected in parallel, rather than in series, and this isolates one from another.
If you are roof mounting solar panels like the couple in the picture above, you start by installing your “stand offs” which are means you snap some caulk lines to lay out your solar kit lines, remove a few shingles and lag bolt the solar stand off’s to your rafters. You then lay down the flashing that comes with the solar kit, cut the shingles you removed back to allow for the standoffs and re-nail down the shingles with some 2″ roofing nails under the laps.
Next step to installing your home solar panel kit is to attach the racks to the stand off’s. If you are purchasing a home solar kit with Schüco panels and racking they are all engineered to make assembly fast and easy. The racks are installed in no time. The next step is to install the micro-inverters which are located under each panel.
We hear that SMA is coming out with a micro-inverter, but for the time being, for our home solar kits, Enphase is our micro-inverter of choice. The micro-inverter works by converting the DC electricity that comes from the home solar panel kit to AC which is used for your household appliances. Each Enphase micro-inverter is individually connected to one home solar kit module in your array. This unique configuration means that an individual maximum peak power point tracker (MPPT) (whew that’s a mouthful) controls each solar panel individually.
This insures that the maximum power available from each solar panel is exported to the utility grid regardless of the performance of the other solar panels in the home solar kit array. That is, although individual solar panel in the kit in the array may be affected by shading, soiling, orientation, or module mismatch, the Enphase micro-inverter insures top performance for its associated home solar panel kit. The result is maximum electricity produced by your home solar kit.
Installing the Enphase Micro-inverter that comes with your home solar kit involves five easy key steps:
1. Installing the AC branch circuit junction box or sometimes called a combiner box. (Usually at the end of the rack of the solar kits)
2. Attaching the micro-inverters to the racking
3. Connect the Micro-inverter wiring harnesses that comes with the solar kit
4. Ground the system (copper grounding wire not included)
5. Complete the Enphase Installation map (so you know which inverter is associated with which solar kit panel)
6. Connect the solar kit modules
Each of the detailed installation steps in the following sections is numerically referenced in the installation diagram below.
With our Schüco home solar kits the next step would be to install the solar panels. Schüco makes this easy with alignment clips and proprietary attachments that are quick and fool-proof for the installers.
So now, solar kit panels are installed, AC is hooked up and your local electrician will notify your utility company to come by and “commission your system”. That means they will want to look at the solar kit installation and verify that everything is OK.
With the purchase of our home solar DIY kits you get complete sets of instructions, drawings and directions for to get your solar rebates. For your 30% federal income tax incentives you should consult with your tax advisor for the best option for your home solar kit refund.
You then run some conduit down to an AC disconnect box. If you have not had a licensed electrician help with your solar kit installation up until now, it would be advisable you have a licensed electrician run electrical from the AC disconnect to your fuse box.
Normally a homeowner will have pre-reserved the power company rebate before starting the installation of their solar kit. After the solar kit installation is complete and signed off by the building department of your local city, you would then call your utility company to commission the system.
This has to be the most exciting part of installing your custom installed solar panel kit. In a week to ten days, a utility company representative will usually meet you at your house and after a brief inspection will allow you to turn your solar panel kit on. Nothing can be more empowering that watching your meter either slow down, or spin backwards. You open your next electric bill and you can really see the power of producing your own electricity from the solar kit that you installed yourself.