Installing Home Solar Panels



Hooking your home up to solar power can be a great long-term investment. The sun is going to be around for a few billion years, more than long enough to supply your house with all the energy it needs. You just need to install a few panels correctly, aligning them, so they take advantage of that free power.


The installation can be a bit of a challenge for some people. Do you have the company install them, or do you decide to save yourself a little cash by doing it yourself?


The answer will vary.


For example, if the provider for your solar panels insists on doing the installation themselves, or of its part of the package, why not? Getting professionals to handle any job is better than you doing it blind or off a manual that may not cover everything.


If on the other hand, you’d rather do the installation yourself, there are a few things you should keep in mind. There’s preparation work to be done.


First, you’ll want to look at your roof. There’s a lot of pieces in play there. Making sure you’ve covered all of them or factored them in will help not only the installation but the optimisation of your power supply.


If your roof is in bad condition, you might consider having it cleaned, renovated, or replaced entirely. If the roof angles are too steep, the panels might not catch enough sun consistently. If the gutters are dirty, you’ll need to call to clean them out.


The average rooftop is built to last about five to ten years. The average solar panel setup is designed to take about two decades of punishment from the environment. This means that if your rooftop is due for an overhaul, you’ll want to get that done before the panels come in.


Consider the direction. Your house will have one side that gets more sun than the others.


Determine which side of the roof catches more sunlight than any other direction. For instance, in the Northern Hemisphere, the sides that face south get more direct sun. By doing this, you improve the overall efficiency of the system.


If you live in an area that’s perpetually overcast, solar panels might not be a good choice for you.


Consider the pitching of the roof. Sharply-pitched roofs are a good idea to have.


Think about the space. Solar panels require a lot of room. Between the panels themselves and the related equipment, you’re looking at a sizable bit of space. Measure first, then consult with an expert to see if you can accommodate it all.


You’ll also want to make sure the roof and the structure supporting it can handle that weight. Solar setups don’t put that much extra weight, but it’s a good idea to check structural stability anyway.


Are there any fixtures running along the intended space? These may include vents or plumbing. You’ll want to get those out of the way.


These are all things that your solar contractor will also check or advise you on. They’re factors that you can control to maximise the output of the panels.

Advantages of Solar Panels



A solar panel is a device that is used to absorb energy from the sun in order to generate heat or in many cases electricity. It is also referred to as a photovoltaic cell since it is made of many cells that are used to convert the light from the sun into electricity. The only raw material for these solar panels is the sun. it is made in such a way that the cells face the sun in order to enable maximum absorption of the sun rays. The greater the energy from the sun is, the more the electricity that is generated. Solar panels are used in many homesteads in the world due to their many pros that are far more than cons. Some of these pros are discussed below.


One very important advantage of using solar panels is that they do not emit any gases that are common in green houses. The panels do not emit any smoke, chemical or heavy metals that can be risk factors to human health. Solar panels are therefore environmental friendly when compared to burning of fossil fuels to generate energy. This is very important since carbon emissions are dangerous and avoiding their emission helps in safeguarding our present and future environment. Being environment friendly is important since the government is constantly coming up with ways to control global warming and the use of solar panels is a great way to start. The solar panels therefore maintain a clean setting and they leave the air fresh. More importantly they help in prevention of many cancer incidences. This is because some products from some sources of energy like nuclear energy have been said to cause cancer due to initiation of mutations in cells.


Secondly, use of solar panels ensures ongoing free energy for those who use it. This is mainly because the only cost incurred is that of installation. Once the installation has been done the energy is free since the panel does not require regular maintenance or fuel to run it. It also requires no raw materials for its operation. It works as long as there are sun rays which is an everyday thing in most parts of the world. In a world where equal distribution of resources is continuously being sought, this is very important since each and everyone has equal rights when it comes to use of solar energy. This is because the energy from the sun falls on all. This is a good way to maintain equality as compared with energy from fossil fuel which low income homesteads do not afford in many cases.


Solar Panel System – Helpful and Certified Guide for Starting The System

Constructing a Solar Panel System is hard without proper guide. Using a guidebook with comprehensive data offers thorough strategies, explains what exactly parts perform most optimally to have the most power from the system, as well as guides your own hand throughout the whole procedure for making the system.


You shouldn’t suffer from attempting to patch together the usable solar energy system and then fail since you utilized the incorrect wiring for that solar panel or perhaps a bad electrical system.


Just how do you love to make your very own Do it yourself solar power panels? Possessing a solar panel system set up your own household helps to reduce your regular utility bill around 60%-80% monthly.


The real fascinating piece here is it is possible to utilize the strength of the sun’s rays for more around $1000. There isn’t any need for extraordinary expertise to make your personal solar panels.


Home owners in some hard climates must also purchase a solar system having sturdy support frames. Nevertheless wood as well as metal structures tend to be more inexpensive, they do not endure many years of snowfall or even heavy rains without failing.


The level of acidity and also sodium quantities in humidity should likewise be considered when picking the framework for the solar panels. Extra resilient support frames of composite components as well as stainless-steel would be the best support frames for solar panels within areas with tough winter seasons or perhaps higher precipitation levels.


Current developments are generally encouraging more and more people to become Eco-friendly, taking part in the green revolution and also to be financially thrifty.


The mere act of setting up the solar system within your residence is definitely a good idea and something you’ll want to consider.


One of many simple and the most effective methods to practically remove the ecological carbon footprint is to use solar energy. Yet, the actual devices expense of the solar energy system may be a ridiculous amount of to the average individual.


A portable panel system is a good add-on to the automobile for hiking. Solar power is without a doubt Eco-friendly, and most of all, it is free of charge!


Creating your personal solar power system may be difficult, however with the appropriate materials, you’ll be able to prevent the expenses for professional installment.


The government, power company and state companies could be reached about the accessibility to grants, cash incentives and also tax credits intended for home owners thinking about setting up a home solar power system.


Prior to the installation of the system it will be a good idea to make contact with the area building office and also look into the building code requirement of the system before purchasing of the system.


In some instances local home owners associations restrict any solar power system because it will make a change in architectural look. The site of the solar energy panels will certainly become a significant factor for the accomplishment of the solar panel for any business or home.


A normal solar energy panel installment usually takes 2-4 days following the solar power panels and also apparatus are available. Solar installation will most likely include 2-3 contractors working with each other to accomplish the task.


Low-cost solar energy panels might not always be the ideal selection of panel for any certain set up. Solar panels present you with a substantial energy expense saving eventually if your appropriate standards of solar system will be picked.

How to clean solar panels

Solar panels can be a great investment if you’re looking for a way to reduce your dependence on the power grid. With enough panels and in the right location, you can power most everything by tapping the might of the sun.

However, if you’re getting into solar energy, you’ll need to remember maintenance. Solar panels need cleaning to run at peak efficiency. Let too much gunk and grime build up, and those panels won’t do you any good.

So here’s how you should clean those panels and an idea of how often it should be done.

First, check with your manufacturer. Some of them might have specific instructions for the care of their panels or associated parts. If these exist, be sure to follow those to maximise their productivity and reduce the risk of you breaking something.

The second is to remember that there is such a thing as a wrong time of day to clean those panels.

Solar panels get incredibly hot. The higher up the sun is, the hotter they become. Hot enough to burn skin, in some cases. Your best bet is to clean it early in the morning or later in the afternoon, so there’s not as much heat going around.

You can also try to clean them on a relatively cold day, or if clouds are blocking the sun.

Check your garden hose.

You’ll first want to know if it’s powerful enough to get that high up consistently. If there’s not enough pressure, you’ll want to skip it. If there is, it’s possible that your hose is all you need.

However, if there’s been a lot of dust and dirt, a hose won’t be enough. You can use it to spray the panels, but more effort and a thorough cleaning will be required.

If you need more than a hose, grab a bucket. Throw in a spray bottle, for those smaller spots. Fill both with warm water and soap. You won’t need anything else because solar panels are designed to be easy to clean.

Clean the surface with a soft sponge or cloth. The wiring underneath can be left alone.

You’ll only need to call for professional cleaning if you encounter a tougher, more persistent stain. In such cases, you’ll want to make sure that the window cleaning company you get also handles solar panels. Not every cleaning company knows how to manage this, so check beforehand.

Now for the other question. How often do you need to clean the panels?

In general, letting the rain handle the cleaning is a good policy. If it doesn’t rain often, you’ll need more of a schedule. This requires monitoring. If your energy bills or use spikes, it could be tied to the panels not getting enough light. Check for grime and dirt.

Some people clean once every two weeks, if they’re in an area that doesn’t see much rainfall or if the conditions mean there’s always dust and other debris in the air. This is also a viable strategy, though it may not be necessary if you’re not experiencing changes in your power stability.

Be sure to run back home for more solar panel advice.

Solar Panel Prices

Prices for solar PV systems vary depending on the size and type of the system and who you purchase them from, the planned installation area of the solar panels will also impact on the installation costs.

An average PV system of 4kWp (kilowatt peak) costs about £5,000 to £8,000 with standard solar panels, Solar tiles that blend in to your roof-line will look much better but will increase the cost as they are more expensive solar panels.

A higher power generating set up will cost you more money to begin with but will save you more money in the long run and could even generate you a steady income with excess energy that you can feed back in to the grid. You will be paid under the Feed-in-tariff (FIT) scheme for the energy you feed in to the electricity grid.

Reducing Cost of solar PV Systems

The idea behind the FIT is that as solar PV takes off, the cost will drop. And this is why the rate of the FIT is decreasing over time to compensate for the falling cost of solar systems.

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has said that there has been a rapid fall in the global module costs of solar PV since the introduction of the FIT in April 2010. The former minister of state at the DECC, Greg Barker, also said: ‘As solar PV technology has developed, its costs have reduced and are now believed to be around 30% lower than originally projected.’

Solar Panel Feed-in-tariff

Solar Feed-in-tariffSince the introduction of the Feed-in-tariff there has been an increase in solar panel installations. To qualify for the scheme, you have to use products and installers certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), you are not able to buy and install solar panel systems yourself as it will bar you from the Scheme.

The Government has also cut the feed-in-tariff for home solar PV systems by 65% from 1 January 2016. That means you will now only get 4.39p for electricity generated instead of 12.92p.

Free Solar Panels

There are many companies that offer to install solar panels free-of-charge, which first may seem like a great offer. While these schemes can save you money on your electricity bill, you can save even more by installing them yourself.

Solar Tiles

How Do Free Solar Panel Schemes Work

The ‘free’ solar panel schemes, also known as ‘rent-a-roof’ installations are run by often pushy companies looking to cash in on lucrative Feed-in-tariff schemes. These schemes guarantee a fixed amount of money for electricity generated from renewables like solar power.

These schemes can be great for you, as they will save you the money of an upfront installation and you will still benefit from some free electricity. You will usually be required to enter into a 20-25 year contract with the scheme providers, and while you will benefit from some free electricity the providers will be taking the lions-share of the electricity generated.

Companies that offer rent-a-roof schemes include HomeSun, A Shade Greener, Isis Solar, and more.

Downside to Free Solar Panels

While you do benefit from the free electricity the system produces for your home, the rent-a-roof company usually takes all of the generation and export tariff payments paid out under the FIT scheme.

When the FIT rate was at its highest, back in 2011, you could have earned as much as £23,000 from the FIT for a 4kWp system. However, you would also have saved more than £5,000 over 25 years from the electricity produced by the panels, which equates to an saving of around £200 a year off your electricity bill.

With lower feed-in-tariffs in 2016 there are less free ‘rent-a-roof’ schemes to choose from.

Should you buy your own Solar Panel System?

The eagerness of ‘rent-a-roof’ companies to install solar panels free-of-charge goes to prove that they benefit more by footing the cost of the installation and obtaining the feed-in-tariff payments than householders. If you were to install your own solar panel system and receive the feed-in-tariff payments you would be much better off in the long run.

If you can afford the upfront installation costs then you should consider installing a solar panel system yourself. Even if you finance to pay for the installation you would probably be much better-off in the long run. If you do not have the money or do not want to take out finance for a solar panel system then a free installation is still a great way of saving money on your electricity cost.

Solar Panel Systems

Solar panels are able to yield free green energy from the sun, even in less sunny, cooler climates here in the UK. In a single hour, the sun transmits more energy to the earth’s surface than the world uses in a year.

Solar Panel Installation

You can use solar panels to make use of this free energy source to generate electricity and hot water for your home. There are solar panels systems for electricity and for hot water.

Types of Solar Panels

There are two main types of solar panel systems, solar water heating and photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. While they are very similar visually on your roof, solar water heating and solar PV are quite different.

Solar PV or solar electricity generates electricity for use in your home which you can feed in excess back to the grid to earn you money. Solar PV is more expensive system than solar water heating, averaging around £7,000, but financial support is currently available under the government’s Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme, which provides cash payments to households that produce their own electricity at home using renewable technology.

Solar water heating, also referred to as solar thermal or solar heating, uses energy from the sun to heat up water. It is mostly used to heat up your domestic hot water system. Solar water heating costs between £3,000 and £5,000, and is eligible for a financial incentive called the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which financially rewards those who use renewable energy to heat their homes.

To learn more, see our guide to solar water heating.

Solar Water Heater

Solar Water Heating

A solar panel system for heating water will be a much cheaper installation to set up than a photovoltaic, typically around £3000 – £5000. Solar Panels that heat up you water are cheaper because the panels are heating the water direct and do not require as much additional equipment as opposed to an electricity generating system.

Solar Water Heater

Solar Water Heating in the Home

A typical solar water heating system will cater for about a third of your hot water usage and will typically save you around £65 a year against electrically heated water. If you currently use LPG gas to heat your water, then you could save over £100 a year on your gas costs. Solar water heating systems will also need to rely on your existing hot water boiler to heat up the water for hotter water you will be accustomed to.

Incentives for using Solar Water Heating

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a government scheme that pays consumers for generating heat by using renewable energy. in order to qualify for the RHI, your home will need to meet minimum energy-efficiency standards.

It is recommended that you make sure your home is as energy-efficient as possible before considering using solar water heating as a means of saving on energy costs.

The more energy-efficient your house is, the less heat you will lose and therefore the less heat you will need to generate in the first place. This means that you should require a smaller heating system, cheaper to purchase upfront and cheaper to run in the long run.

Before committing to any system backed by the RHI scheme you should check current legislation as the government incentives may have changed. Proposed changes include dropping solar thermal from the scheme altogether.

Should you install a Solar Water Heating System

Pros of solar water heating systems

  • solar water heating can provide you with about a third of your hot water needs
  • solar water heating can save you between £65 a year (if you have gas central heating) and £125 (if you use LPG) on your water heating costs
  • maintenance costs are very low – most solar water heating systems come with a five to 10-year warranty and require little maintenance
  • it uses the sun’s heat – so there are no further costs once you’ve had the equipment installed, except, in most cases, a small amount of electricity needed to run the pump. In most systems, the pumping cancels out only about 8% of the energy savings, and newer technology can reduce this to 3% or even zero
  • in England, planning permission for most solar water installations is no longer needed – and governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are currently discussing introducing similar initiatives
  • the RHI provides payments to owners of solar heating systems.

Cons of solar water heating systems

  • you’ll still need a boiler or immersion heater to make the water hotter, or provide hot water when solar energy isn’t available (on overcast days, for example)
  • an unshaded, mainly south-facing location is necessary for positioning the solar panels
  • initial costs are higher than for conventional electric and gas-heater systems
  • solar panels can be heavy, so your roof must be strong enough to take their weight. Especially if the panel is to be installed on top of existing tiles
  • the cost of a typical solar water heating system is between £3,000-£5,000 – a fairly expensive solution. Although the RHI does provide some financial help