Do’s and Don’ts of Solar Panel Installation

Avoid shading while installing solar panels

PV modules should be free from the shade, so if one row of cells is affected by shade this will drastically reduce the output of the PV module. However, with recent new technologies in the market like half-cut modules by dividing the current internally in the modules and this improves the modules’ performance, longevity, and shade tolerance


Figure 1: Solar panels under shade resulting  in shading loss


Installation Angle

Building owners should have an idea of how to install solar panels that can maximize solar energy to harvest.  The direction that your roof faces is one of the primary factors that determine how much sunshine your solar panels will see over the day. The first step in determining optimal PV panel orientation and the tilt angle is to review the site where the PV lighting system will be installed. As a general rule to optimize the panel performance in summer, the panel should be tilted 15° less than the latitude roughly and in winter they should be tilted up an angle 15° greater than the latitude, most panel orientations are done using computer simulations and mathematical models but it is good to understand the basics of how these things are worked out if you are planning to install solar panels on your rooftops.


Flashing your roofing system

While installing solar panels on the roof, flashing is an essential part. Its role is to seal places that are vulnerable to water. The reason why this is an important part is that you don’t want your roof to be leaking. If these areas are not sealed properly, moisture and water can seep in, causing severe damage to the home.


Do think about the long-term investment

When installing solar panels most owners don’t think about the long-term investment compared to the short-term investment. The owners may expect a short-term payback in a certain number of years but they also need to factor in the life cycle costs such as replacing the inverter age of roof at the time of installation.


Maintaining your solar panels and roof after installation

Performing routine maintenance is critical to ensure the long-term success of the solar panels and the roof. Certain types of racks called ballasted tracks are can make it difficult to maintain the roofs as they have to be completely removed or relocated to get to the roof surface for maintenance. The figure below shows a photovoltaic array with ballast racks. These are nothing but concrete blocks that are placed throughout to make sure the array of panels is firmly placed on the ground or roof so that there will be no movement in case of wind lift or no need to penetrate the rooftops.


Figure 3: Ballasted mounting structures


Energy Auditing for Solar Projects

Energy auditing is don’t determine the energy requirements of a particular building. The process of energy auditing helps prevent oversizing of the system, in general, it saves a lot of costs. Steps involved in energy auditing include a listing of electrical appliances that will be using solar power, power rating of electrical appliances, Running hours of the appliances, and total energy consumption of the building.


Cheaper materials for solar installations

Cheaper solar panels are typically manufactured in China and they always come with underlying issues. Cheaper solar panels tend to be less durable with a shorter lifespan and in the long run, it will be more expensive to maintain them. However, for those who consider the price to be an important factor, there are still some good options for cheap solar panels on the market today.

The above mentioned are some of the things that the owner should be aware of. Having a basic understanding of installation is important because any problems that may occur will have an impact on the investment made by the owner. While proper installations will keep the maintenance costs to a minimum level.

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