Issues With Electrical Wiring
Solar panels can be connected in series or parallel. A series connection involves linking the positive terminal of one panel with the negative terminal of the next and so on. In a parallel connection, all the positive and negative terminals are connected together. Both come with their own set of problems.
In a series connection, the underperformance of one panel can affect the overall energy output. In a parallel connection, if the wires used are not thick enough, the high current generated can damage the electrical connection.
Is It Cheaper To Install Solar Panels On The Ground
Grounded photovoltaic arrays usually cost more than roof systems. The additional materials needed including reinforced columns and cement foundations are responsible for most of the additional costs. Labor costs are also higher for ground-mounted panels, due to the more complex assembly process.
Where Do Solar Panels Go Besides The Roof
In general, you have two choices for ground-mounted systems: standard ground brackets and pole brackets. With a standard ground mounting string, the frame is anchored directly to the ground, with the panels held at a fixed angle. In a pole mounting system, the panels are hung on a pole, lifting them off the ground.
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Pros And Cons Of Solar Panels In The Uk
There are many advantages of solar panels, and they play a significant role in the progress towards sustainability. In 2018, the UK generated 3.9% of its total electricity using solar power, and there are currently more than 1 million solar PV installations. The UKs solar capacity is only going to increase over the years.
Besides being environmentally friendly, solar cells provide significant savings on your electricity bill. While there are disadvantages to solar panels, the long-term benefits of investing in solar far outweigh the cons.
There has been a slight increase in sunshine hours over the years, meaning you can get more and more out of your solar panel investment. The graph below shows the gradual increase in sunshine hours in the UK.
Solar panels can be a great way to cover your household electricity needs free of charge, however, there are downsides to solar panels that must also be considered. Below is a list of the main advantages and disadvantages of this renewable source of energy.
Solar Power For The Home: Costs
Solar power is capital intensive, and the main cost of owning a system comes upfront when buying the equipment. The solar module will almost certainly represent the largest single component of the overall expense.
Other equipment necessary for installation includes an inverter , metering equipment , and various housing components along with cables and wiring gear.
Some homeowners also consider battery storage. Historically, batteries have been prohibitively expensive and unnecessary if the utility pays for excess electricity that is fed into the grid . The installation labor cost must also be factored in.
In addition to installation costs, there are some further costs associated with operating and maintaining a PV solar array. Aside from cleaning the panels regularly, inverters and batteries generally need replacement after several years of use.
While the above costs are relatively straightforwardoften a solar installation company can quote a price for these for a homeownerdetermining subsidies available from the government and/or your local utility can prove more of a challenge. Government incentives change often, but historically, the U.S. government has allowed a tax credit of up to 30% of the system’s cost.
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Best Solar Panel Direction Overall
South is the best direction for solar panels to face overall. In nearly all cases, homeowners will achieve the highest electric bill savings and a quickest payback period by facing their solar panels south over any other direction.
Having your panels face south improves the economics of solar in the following ways: it maximizes solar output, it maximizes your ability to take advantage of net metering, and it maximizes your ability to utilize battery storage.
We explore each of these reasons in more detail below.
Do Solar Panels Damage Your Roof
The thought of adding solar panels to your roof may be nerve-wracking for you as it is a big change and can seem costly upfront. However, upon proper installation, solar panels should not be of concern because they should not cause permanent damage to your roof so long as it is in good condition and does not already have damage.
That said, installing solar panels is not a weekend do-it-yourself project. If you do not have the proper training, you risk causing damage to your roof or harming yourself.
Because of these risks, it is important to consult certified or licensed individuals and companies. While there is a national program, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, that tests and certifies professionals in solar installation, different states have varying guidelines of what they require for licensing. You must research the guidelines of your state to understand what you should expect from installation.
When considering solar panels massive size, you might also wonder if your roof can support their added weight. Your roof should support this extra weight. Still, when choosing the type and size of solar panel you want, make sure you factor in the age of the roof, its material and the estimated weight of the panels.
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Determine Your Solar Potential
There are a few things to consider when scoping out your home for rooftop solar. One factor to consider is the direction and tilt of your roof although this is not a hard and fast rule, rooftop solar panels perform best on south-facing roofs with a slope between 15 and 40 degrees.
Its also important to know how much sunlight your roof gets throughout the day. Solar panels need sunlight to produce electricity, so if your roof is shaded or otherwise obstructed by trees, chimneys, or anything else, that will impact how viable solar is for you. Try out our Solar Calculator to see your unique homes potential for solar panel savings.
A common concern for homeowners who are considering solar is, What happens if I move after installing solar panels? A typical solar panel system lasts for 25 to 30 years. If you dont plan on owning their house for that long, you may wonder if solar still makes sense. The good news is that solar increases the value of your property and can actually expedite the process of selling the property when the time comes. The housing market is filled with buyers excited by the prospect of acquiring a solar home that comes with the benefit of zero utility bills.
Cracked Back Sheet Results In Poor Insulation
The purpose of the back sheet is to protect the solar panel. However, poor material selection, manufacturing defects, or exposure to severe weather can lead to the development of cracks in the back sheet. This means water and dust can enter the solar panels and cause damage to the cells as well as internal wiring. The only solution is the replacement of the solar panel.
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Birds Will Nest Under The Solar Panels On The Roof
Birds tend to love setting up their nest on the roof right below the solar panels. At first, you might think it is cute but sooner or later you will have to get rid of them. The more birds nest below the solar panels the more excrement you will find on your solar panels, and if you have ever tried to scrape them off then you know that its almost like glue. In addition to this, the birds nests will also interrupt the flow of the rainwater, and in some cases, they can be a fire hazard.
Do You Need Planning Permissions For Solar Panels
In England, Scotland, and Wales, you are not required to apply for any planning permissions for most domestic solar panel installations for both PV and heating installations.
There are, however, restrictions on installations of certain sizes. If your solar panels protrude more than 200mm from your roof, you will need to apply for permission first.
In addition, if your building is within a conservation area, you will need to adhere to some planning permission guidelines.
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Solar Panels Dont Damage Your Roof When Installed Properly
Just like any home improvement project, using the right service provider is essential to a rooftop solar job. For most homeowners, installing solar panels will not result in roof damage as long as your solar installer is a licensed, qualified professional and your roof is in good condition. If you hear of roof damage occurring because of a solar installation, its likely because the roof was initially in poor condition.
The first step is making sure youre working with a reputable installation company. You can connect with high-quality solar installers is by registering your property on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace. We pre-vet all of our installer partners to ensure that only the best installation companies have the opportunity to provide quotes through our platform. If you are concerned about damage to your roof, you can question your installer of choice about their installation process and measures they take to prevent roof damage using the online messaging center or invite installers out for site visits so they can inspect the roof and answer your questions in person. Its also worth asking any company about their workmanship warranty, and whether or not it covers your roof on the off chance damage occurs.
Solar Doesnt Always Involve Holes In Your Roof
If youre still concerned about having holes in your roof to mount your solar panels, there are some less common ways to still benefit from rooftop solar energy. One popular option is to install solar roof tiles or solar shingles, which integrate the electricity-generating capacity of photovoltaics right into your roof shingles and eliminate the need for mounting traditional panels. While this option has many aesthetic benefits, costs are still high and the technology isnt as efficient as traditional panels.
If you have a flat roof, you wont need to put holes in it to install solar. Installations on flat roofs commonly use ballast mounting systems. With this type of system, the mounts are weighted down sufficiently to ensure the system remains secured to the roof. Another option to avoid solar on your roof entirely is to install a ground mount, or join a community solar plan and receive solar energy from an offsite location.
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Install A Solar Array On The Ground
You can also install a ground-mounted solar power system in your yard. This is less expensive than creating racks on your roof or hanging them on a wall, but it does require a lot of yard space.
One of the best aspects of ground-mounted solar panels is easy maintenance. You can brush leaves or snow off of them without having to climb onto your roof.
Solar panel tracking systems can improve a systems output by ensuring constant, direct exposure to the sun, both during the day and across seasons. Axis trackers generate more electricity by using about the same amount of space as fixed systems.
Solar Panels Interrupt The Flow Of Rainwater
I have seen a couple of houses with solar panels installed on them to such an extent that the roof was no longer visible. Generally speaking the more surface area the solar panels have the more electricity they can make, the problem is that this way most of the rainwater will not drop on the shingles but on the solar panels themselves. Sometimes the solar panels are placed in such a way that they hang over the gutters, and once it rains the water will just pour down on the walls of the house. If you want to take a look at the best places to live off the grid in the world then check out my recent article Best places to live off the grid in the world .
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What Is Solar Power For The Home
Homeowners who install photovoltaic power systems receive numerous benefits: lower electric bills, lower carbon footprints, and potentially higher home values. But these benefits typically come with significant installation and maintenance costs, and the magnitude of the gains can vary widely from one house to another. This article will help homeowners make the financial calculations required to determine the viability of solar power in their homes.
Electrician Is Not Needed
Since you need the assistance of an electrician, the cost of connecting a traditional power vent to your electrical grid can add several hundred dollars to the installation process. Fortunately, you can avoid the additional costs by opting for a solar roof vent. Although it may not be powerful enough to remove all of the hot air from your attic, it will create a cooler environment while avoiding a significant installation expense.
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Install Solar Panels On Your Roof Anyway
You can compensate for the decreased level of sunlight by installing more solar panels. In a solar panel installation, the solar panels themselves only account for a small proportion of costs you should be able to add a few extra panels without pushing up costs too much.
This is the option that most homeowners choose when they dont have a roof section that faces south.
Hard To Replace The Roof If You Have Solar Panels On The Roof
The roof and your solar panels go hand in hand, once you set up the solar panels on your roof and after a couple of years you want to replace the roof then you will have to take the solar panels also down. If you have to replace the roof due to the damage caused by the faulty installation of the solar panels then you can expect to have the same problem a couple of years later if the solar setup isnt made correctly and the quality of the shingles are fairly low.
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Good Sunlight = Optimum Energy Production
New generation panels can generate electricity even on cloudy and rainy days. However, the production will be lower than that on sunny days. And this is good enough only as a short-term arrangement. The capacity of the installation was calculated with sunny days most of the year. If this is not the case, the solar system may not function up to expectations.
Is My Roof Suitable For Installing Solar Panels
There are a number of factors that determine how suitable your roof is for solar panels, including:
- The size of your roof
- The direction your roof faces
- The pitch of your roof
- How much of your roof is shaded
When trying to determine if solar panels are worth it for you, consider the size, direction, pitch, and the amount of shading your roof has. Large, unshaded, southern-facing roofs are the most ideal for solar production.
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Install The Solar Panels
Once the frame has been attached, the installation of the solar panels can begin. The panels are clamped to the aluminium frame but not too tightly at first, in order to have some space to adjust them slightly later. Once all panels are set up in their position, they are firmly secured to the frame.
Formation Of Microscopic Cracks
As the rooftop solar panels are getting thinner, they tend to be brittle and develop cracks easily. These microcracks can bring down the efficiency of the solar panel drastically. They have the potential to develop into deeper cracks and hotspots. It is recommended to attend the microcracks as early as possible.
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Pro : Solar Panels Are Low Maintenance
Compared to other equipment that you might have in your home, like a furnace or generator, solar panels require little or no maintenance.
Unless you live in a particularly dusty area , your home solar panels could easily work for 25 years or more with no work from you or cost of maintenance. Solar panels just sit on top of your roof and silently generate electricity for years.
The only exception is if you live in a dusty area with little rain, in which case you may want to periodically wash your solar panels, which is something you can do yourself with inexpensive equipment.
Snail Trails Or Internal Corrosion Could Occur On Solar Panels Placed On The Roof
Snail trails on solar panels can occur after a couple of years, although these are not actually trails made by snails, they just look like that. Most solar panels will have a silver paste in them, and if this comes in contact with water it could oxidate and corrode the surrounding materials. This means that the solar panels will start rusting from the inside out and this is why it looks like brown trails growing down on the solar panels. So if you start seeing brown spots on the solar panels then you will most likely need to replace the damaged ones.
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South Is Best For Homes With Net Metering
If youre in a location where full retail net metering is available, the best direction for your solar panels is south.
Thats because if 1:1 net metering is available, your priority should be to most efficiently achieve your desired level of solar output, with no regard to when that power is produced.
Let me explain. Solar panels facing south produce the most power overall, but they also produce most of it during midday. Midday is when your consumption is typically at its lowest, so there will be lots of surplus power produced. With net metering, surplus power is actually a good thing: you can export that electricity to the grid in return for bill credits equal to the full retail value.
In other words, if youre in a location with 1:1 net metering, it wont matter when youre producing solar power. Instead, youll want a solar power setup that produces 100% of your electricity usage at the minimum possible cost this can be achieved by orienting your solar panels south.
Learn more: What is net metering and how does it work?