This guide is aimed to walk through the entire process of installing solar PV on a residential property. The installation projects may include a team of three to four including a project manager, roofers, and electrician.
How long it takes?
The basic installations can be completed in a day or two. However, sometimes the fixation may take longer on particular roofs with slate or other fragile material. The professional installers will keep disruption to your daily activities to a minimum. Let’s explore the installation components and process in a bit more detail.
- Solar panels
Solar panels are made up of individual cells covered with a reflective glass and packed in an aluminium frame. The average weight of solar panels may vary from 15 kg to 30 kg depending on the size. Panels are of various sizes, a standard mono-crystalline 250W panel of 1.6-m x 1-m size may weigh around 19 kg.
- Roof anchors
Stainless steel hooks are screwed on to the roof rafters, which form the base for solar mounting system. The roof anchors will go hidden underneath the panel after installation.
- Mounting frame
Mountain frames are made of two parallel aluminium bars for each row of solar panels. The rails are attached to roof anchors and get locked to ensure no movement when panels are mounted on top of it with clamps.
Clamps are used to hold the panels tightly on to the frame. End-clamps and mid-clamps are usually used for this purpose. End clamps fix the last row on to the frame while mid clamps are fixed between two panels by ensuring equal spacing, usually 200 mm apart.
- Step #1 – Erecting the scaffold
Scaffolding is erected to offer a sturdy working platform for the roofers and safety rails are fixed which run along the roof edges.
- Step #2 – Fitting roof anchors
After taking proper measurements, roof anchors are screwed on to the rafters. Need to double check after fixing that the frame will sit straight.
- Step #3 – Attaching the frame
Next, the aluminium bars which form the frame are locked on to the anchors. Ensure each bar is straight and all of them stay parallel.
- Step #4 – Installing panels
With all bars fixed in place, the panels needed to be clamped on to the frame. In whichever easiest way possible, the panels can be fixed by columns or rows.
- Step #5 – Wiring the panels
Connect the panels based on the system’s voltage, power, amperage, shading on the roof, and positioning of panels.
- Step #6 – Connecting panels to inverter
To finish the system connection, we need to install DC wiring from the panels to the home system.
- Step #7 – Inside the home
An electrician need to work on getting the inverter connected to the main electricity supply of the home. Before finishing the connection, one needs to install a small consumer unit and generation meter too. The power needed to be cut off to do this.
- Step #8 – Commissioning the system
Once the whole wiring is completed, you can then switch on the inverter and commission the solar system to start enjoying free electricity.