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Installing Solar Panels at Home: A Detailed Walkthrough

Installing Solar Panels at Home: A Detailed Walkthrough

Installing solar panels on your home can seem daunting, but with proper planning and by following this step-by-step guide, you’ll be producing clean, renewable energy in no time. 

Installing Solar Panels

Choosing the Right Solar Panels

The first step is finding the right solar panel system for your specific home and energy needs. 

Determine the Correct Size System

Consider factors like:

– Average monthly electricity consumption

– Available roof space/mounting area

– Sunlight exposure over the course of a day

– Local weather and climate

Select the Type of Solar Panels

There are a few common options when it comes to solar panel types:

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline solar panels are currently the most efficient option available. They are made from a single crystal of silicon, giving the panels their distinctive all-black appearance. The monocrystalline manufacturing process results in very clean silicon with impurity levels under 1 part per million, maximizing energy conversion efficiency. These solar panels typically have efficiency ratings of around 15-20%. However, their highly pure silicon construction also makes them one of the more expensive panel options in terms of upfront costs. Monocrystalline panels are a great choice when space is limited given their efficiency, but the premium pricing is something to factor in.

Installing Solar Panels

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Polycrystalline solar panels utilize less refined silicon with slightly more impurities compared to monocrystalline. The manufacturing process results in recognizable blue solar cells rather than black. Polycrystalline panels are marginally less efficient that monocrystalline, with average ratings of 13-16% efficiency. But their cost is also lower, making polycrystalline a reliable mid-range solar option suitable for most residential installations. While fractionally less efficient per square foot than monocrystalline solar, polycrystalline panels strike an optimal balance of efficiency and affordability. They provide great solar energy production without the premium cost.

Installing Solar Panels

Thin-Film Solar Panels 

Thin-film solar panels take solar technology in a uniquely different direction. Rather than utilizing silicon crystals, these panels are made from amorphous silicon layers deposited onto glass, stainless steel or plastic backing. This allows the panels to be very lightweight and flexible compared to traditional crystalline silicon panels. The layered thin-film construction also absorbs diffuse light at various angles beyond direct sunlight. However, thin-film panels have lower efficiency ratings of just 7-13% typically. Their main advantage is being extremely space-efficient given flexibility around unconventional mounting surfaces. So thin-film solar is best suited for specialty applications like RV vehicles, boats and curved surfaces that can benefit from their moldable form.

At Sunkissed Energy, our solar experts can advise which is best suited and budget-friendly for your particular home installation.

 Installing Solar Panels

Gather Essential Permits and HOA Approval  

Research Required Permits

– Building permits often required for structural additions

– Electrical permits needed for wiring work

– Check city and county permit needs 

Get HOA Approval 

If you belong to a Homeowners Association:

– Ask about any restrictions or architectural guidelines regarding solar panels 

– Get HOA design approval before installation

Getting permits and approval taken care of early prevents setbacks further on.

Hire a Professional Installer

Solar is an complex system that interacts with your home’s existing electrical infrastructure. Hiring professional solar installers ensures: 

Correct System Configuration and Performance

Experts properly size components like:

– Inverters to convert solar output 

– Batteries to store energy 

– Chargers, combiners and other gear

This maximizes production efficiency.

Structurally Sound, Water-Sealed Roof Mounts 

Professionals determine optimal positioning and flashing for waterproof, durable roof attachment. This prevents leaks or structural weaknesses.

Proper Electrical Integration  

Your solar array ties into breakers and wiring powering your home. Installers safely handle electrical connections and MODIFICATIONS ensuring appliances function properly and risks of fire or electrocution are minimized. 

At Sunkissed Energy, we provide complete professional installation services for every aspect of your residential solar panel system.

Adding the Right Solar Equipment

In addition to the panels themselves, certain equipment enables your system to operate effectively:

Racking

Racking serves as the mounting structure that securely anchors solar panels to rooftops or other mounting surfaces. Proper racking angles panels to most effectively capture direct sunlight throughout the day. Optimal angle varies by latitude, climate and even factors like panel row shading. Racking must withstand wind, rain and snow loads while keeping panels tilted at the ideal orientation. Aluminum and galvanized steel are common durable, weather-resistant racking materials. Composition can affect panel cooling as well. A reputable solar installer assesses your specific roof and location to advise appropriate durable, optimized racking.

Inverter 

Inverters play a critical role in solar arrays by converting the DC power harnessed from sunlight into useable AC current to run home appliances, lights and devices. Any device plugged into your home outlets requires AC power, so inverters adapt solar output accordingly. Inverters also manage voltage and electricity parameters like amps and watts to synchronize with your home’s electrical infrastructure safely. Microinverters can optimize efficiency panel-by-panel. Solar edge optimizes string inverter technology. Your installer helps select the properly sized inverter technology for maximum energy harvest based on your solar setup.

Batteries 

Batteries provide solar energy storage for use when the sun is down or obscured behind clouds and solar panel production drops. They allow excess energy generated mid-day to remain usable into evening hours. This makes your solar system less reliant on the grid for supplemental power as daylight fades. Battery capacity required depends on after-dark energy demands. Lithium-ion batteries provide long-lasting and affordable off-grid storage combined with solar. Your solar professional can advise ideal energy storage configurations to truly maximize your system’s around-the-clock benefits.

Monitoring

Monitoring displays track system performance and identify any maintenance needs to keep your system performing optimally.

Equipment needs vary. 

Completing the Installation

– Mounting and securing solar panels with racking

– Attaching wiring and conduits 

– Connecting electrical components like inverter, batteries, etc

– Integrating with existing electrical system safely

– Checking for functionality, leaks, hazards

– Completing cosmetic roof repairs post-install

At Sunkissed Energy, we handle your entire solar array installation seamlessly from permitting to completion.

Getting Final Inspections and Approvals

Before your solar system is ready to produce energy savings: 

Local Inspectors Confirm Compliance 

– Ensure electrical code requirements and building standards met

– Check system size aligns with plans and meets output ratings

Utility Company Sign Off 

Your energy provider must:

– Inspect system 

– Approve meter and grid integration 

– Activate net metering for bill credits

Producing Solar Energy at Home  

With permits approved, inspections passed and equipment tested, it’s finally time to flip the switch and start harnessing free electricity from the sun!

Monitor your system as the clean solar energy directly serves home needs for lighting, HVAC and appliances. Excess power gets stored in batteries for nighttime usage or fed back into the grid to earn utility bill credits.

Over the system’s 25+ year lifespan, you’ll avoid thousands in electric costs all while reducing your carbon footprint.

Conclusion

Installing solar panels on your home is an important investment that pays dividends for decades through significant energy savings. Sunkissed Energy’s licensed solar consultants and installers are ready to make the transition to solar smooth from start to finish.  

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