Guide for Installing Solar Panels
The installation of solar panels is typically done on building rooftops, stand-alone facilities, or other elevated locations. Optimal placement involves selecting a spot with maximum direct sunlight exposure.
Solar panels operate most efficiently when positioned in direct sunlight, particularly during noontime. When installing a solar power system, placing photovoltaic panels directly under the midday sun enhances the efficiency of the photovoltaic units.
Before commencing the solar panel installation process, ensure there are no obstructions to sunlight, such as branches that could cast shadows on the solar unit. Chart the sun’s path in the sky, and ensure no objects create shadows over the photovoltaic panels, as shadows can significantly impact the solar unit’s efficiency.
Pre-installation Checklist for Solar Panel Installation
- Estimate the cost for the required type and size of the solar system. Governments worldwide offer subsidies for solar panel installation to promote renewable energy. Subsidies vary between countries, such as those in Australia differing from those in India or China.
- Identify the necessary equipment for the solar energy system, creating a list for batteries, charge controllers, power inverters, and solar panels.
Determine System Size:
- Assess the size of the solar system needed by calculating the combined wattage of electrical appliances and determining daily usage hours.
After completing the above steps, ascertain the wattage requirements to decide on the appropriate size for the solar battery and wire size, ensuring efficient power transfer and preventing overheating.
Solar Panel Installation Guide
Step 1: Mount Installation
- Install mounts to support the solar panels, choosing between roof-ground mounts or flush mounts based on requirements. Consider the direction of installation; for locations in the Southern Hemisphere like Australia, facing north is optimal.
Step 2: Install Solar Panels
- Secure solar panels to the mounting structure by tightening nuts and bolts, ensuring a sturdy and durable system.
Step 3: Electrical Wiring
- Use universal connectors like MC4 for wiring, enabling compatibility with all types of solar panels. Connect panels in series or parallel configurations for efficient electrical connections.
Step 4: Connect System to Solar Inverter
- Connect the positive and negative wires of the solar panel to the corresponding terminals on the solar inverter. Connect the solar inverter to the solar battery and grid input for electricity generation.
Step 5: Connect Solar Inverter and Batteries
- Establish the connection between the solar inverter and the solar battery, linking positive to positive and negative to negative. Batteries are essential in off-grid solar systems for storing electricity backup.
Step 6: Solar Inverter to Grid Connection
- Connect the inverter to the grid using a regular plug, linking to the main power switchboard. Attach an output wire to the electric board that supplies electricity to the home.
Step 7: Start Solar Inverter
- Switch on the solar inverter through the home’s main switch, and monitor the digital displays for information on solar unit generation and usage statistics.
How to Purchase, Install, and Connect a Solar PV System for Your Home
A proficient installer plays a crucial role in helping you design a solar system tailored to your home’s needs. This includes optimizing its positioning to maximize electricity generation and minimize your bills.
Here are the steps to guide you through the process of purchasing, installing, and connecting a solar PV system at home:
- Read the Buyers Guide to understand solar electricity systems.
Assess Your Household Requirements:
- Determine your household’s electricity needs by referring to the section on Planning your solar electricity system.
Find Accredited Installers or Companies:
- Seek recommendations for installers or companies with the necessary accreditations, and request quotes from those meeting the criteria.
Choose Your Installer:
- Select an installer based on your preferences.
Evaluate the Quote:
- Ensure that the quote aligns with your requirements, using a checklist to assist in the evaluation.
Check Grid Connection:
- Confirm that your solar system can be seamlessly connected to the grid.
Apply for the PV Rebate:
- Initiate the application process for the solar panel (PV) rebate.
Install the System:
- Proceed with the installation of your new solar PV system.
- Allow your installer to arrange the connection to the grid.
Enjoy Cost Savings:
Experience the benefits of your new system, including reduced energy bills.
Finding a Retailer or Installer:
In the realm of major purchases, it’s crucial to balance both price and quality when acquiring a solar PV system. Look for retailers approved by the New Energy Tech Consumer Code (NETCC) to ensure adherence to high industry standards in Australia.
The installer must be Clean Energy Council (CEC) accredited and possess an unrestricted Class A Electrical Licence registered with Energy Safe Victoria. A qualified installer will assist in planning a system that suits your current and future household needs.
To enhance confidence in a solar retailer or installer, request a written quote and an on-site generation analysis as part of a no-obligation quote. Consider solar system maintenance and operation requirements, and don’t rush into making decisions. Research potential retailers or installers online, checking for consumer complaints or asking for references.
Handling System Faults:
While a warranty is crucial, it is only as reliable as the company providing it. Opt for retailers or installers with a proven track record in the industry to ensure future warranty claims are viable. Understand your rights under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and keep information about the manufacturers and warranties for all system components.
What to Avoid:
Avoid purchasing a solar PV system from door-to-door salespersons or cold-call salespeople. Take advantage of the 10-day cooling-off period to cancel contracts if signed under such circumstances. Refrain from making payments to a solar provider until Solar Victoria confirms your eligibility for the rebate. Apply for eligibility on the Solar panel (PV) rebate page.