As more people consider going green, installing solar panels will not only help the planet but also reduce monthly energy bills. With so much sunlight out there, you can convert some of it to electricity to power homes and offices. As a result, people who live in the tropics are in a more advantaged position because they have more supply of sunlight.
Before you jump on the topic of solar installation, it is important to know that it is an expensive project to undertake (click here to read more). Therefore, there should be no room for errors. In this article, we will discuss some of the common mistakes in solar installation and how you can avoid them.
Top 5 Errors to Avoid when Installing a Solar System
Below are 5 errors you should avoid during a solar system installation.
Error 1: No Structural Inspection
If you intend to mount the system on your roof, you should consider inviting a home inspector to take a professional look at your roof. Some installations weigh up to twenty-five kg/square meter. When you add such weight to your roof, the structure will certainly react.
Additionally, installations like chimneys and vents increase the difficulty level of roof-top solar installations. The type of roofing material used is another limiting factor. If the material is fragile, a roof rack might be required to avoid placing load directly on it.
Error 2: Installation in a Shaded Area
Due to aesthetics issues, some homeowners would prefer installing solar panels on a portion of the roof that is not in the view of guests. While this is reasonable, the installer must ensure that the area receives an ample supply of sunshine. This does not mean that the system will not function if only one panel is under a shade. Of course, it will, but the current generated within the system will be limited.
The panels are interconnected just like Christmas lights. So, if one of the bulbs is blown, you will notice that the entire string will stop functioning. Therefore, even a small shade on 1 or 2 out of say 8 panels will have a big effect on the entire system.
To avoid this problem, ensure the installation is done in an area that receives a full supply of sunshine. If installing the panels on the ground, raise it up a bit to avoid shadows from obstructing it during certain times of the day. Avoid installing the system around obstacles such as tall trees and tall buildings.
Technology has improved so much that you can now track whether your system will get adequate sun. You may want to visit http://www.solargraf.com/ to read more about this technological solution to avoiding shaded areas.
Error 3: Insufficient Panels
Installers should be professional enough to know the number of panels that will serve a specific building. Just like when you want to purchase a generator, the first logical thing to do is to calculate the voltage of the appliances you want to power. In the case of solar panels, the voltage of each sums up to the entire system’s voltage.
For instance, if one panel supplies 40 volts and you have 10 of them. It means that the system can only supply 400 volts. However, as panels heat up during the day, they lose voltage and if you install an inverter, it requires a certain voltage before it can function. Hence, if the sun is scorching, you may discover that the system will only supply 355 volts.
Therefore, a drop in the voltage supplied will pose a problem if you installed a chain of panels (using the exact voltage of your appliances). The inverter won’t be able to convert the trapped sunlight in the panel to electricity for your building. Therefore, the correct number of panels must be used to avoid running short on voltage.
Error 4: Grid-Tied System vs. Power Outage
When installing a solar panel, you expect the lights to remain on year in, year out. But this never happens if you connect the system to the grid. A grid-tied system is still dependent on the national or community grid for power supply. So, if it goes off, your lights must go off too.
To avoid this challenge, the installer should design a suitable backup battery for your solar panel system. When the national grid supplies power, your system will rely on it, and then when the supply is terminated, your backup battery comes to your rescue.
Error 5: Inferior-Quality Equipment
Almost everyone likes a cheap purchase but sometimes, cheap means sub-standard. This is especially true in the case of unpopular solar panel brands where some companies want to make quick money from ignorant folks. If the product you want to buy has not been tried and proven by other people, you shouldn’t be the first person to try it out. Your money is too valuable to be wasted on an experiment that puts you at risk.
A professional manufacturer spends a reasonable amount of time to test and retest solar systems before unveiling them to buyers. These products must have passed quality control tests from independent engineering bodies. In most cases, the systems are tried under various conditions such as simulated hailstones, rapid heating and cooling, and other extreme weather conditions. When you purchase such products, you are confident that they will live up to your expectation.
Additionally, to boost your confidence in a solar system, the manufacturer should offer a warranty. The industry standard is 5 years but some manufacturers are generous enough to offer up to 10 years. So, if something goes wrong with the equipment within the period under coverage, you can return it and request a refund or a replacement, depending on the manufacturer’s policy.
Investing in solar is a worthy investment. Hence, the installation must be properly done. We shared some common mistakes that installers make during installation, including tips for avoiding them. Most importantly, ensure that you purchase the right equipment from a reliable manufacturer.