8 Essential Steps to Mount Solar Panels On Your Roof

A Look at 8 Simple Steps to Mount Solar Panels On Roof

By the team at Solar112
Reviewed by Brett Stadelmann

As the world is switching to green energy, the solar industry is growing exponentially. With increasing demand, solar technology is becoming more and more efficient. Plus, the latest reports have predicted that solar installations will reach 4.7 terawatts globally by 2050. These figures indicate that innumerable people are switching to solar. 

Although solar power comes with countless benefits, its installation cost doesn’t come cheap. The average cost of solar panel installation ranges from $15,000 to $20,000 which is not affordable for everyone. 

To offset the initial cost of solar panels, some homeowners take loans, opt for leases or other financing options, and others do the entire installation themselves via different DIY techniques. 

So, if you have decided to save your money on the installation by doing it yourself. You should know that the installation process can be daunting. Don’t worry, to help DIY enthusiasts like you, we have come up with workable steps to mount solar panels on the roof. 

In this post, we will walk you through 8 steps to install solar panels efficiently. Learn them and transform your home into a fully solar-powered abode. But first, let’s start with the essentials and safety.

Further Reading: 

Safety Notice: Always consult with professionals before taking on any potentionally hazardous work.
Please visit these US Government websites for further info:

Things to Consider Before Installing Solar Panels on Roof

Solar panels are the path to becoming self-sufficient as it minimizes your reliance on the grid. However, the entire process can overwhelm a first-timer, especially one with less technical know-how. Before starting the installation process yourself, it is recommended to consult a reliable solar provider to determine the specific materials and equipment needed. 

But, if you want to carry out the solar installation yourself, consider the following things to make your DIY project successful and safe.

Inspection of Roof

Before installing solar panels, you should thoroughly inspect your roof. You should check whether the roof is in good condition and robust enough to accommodate solar panel installation and its weight. As solar panels are meant to work for several years (25 to 30 years), your roof should be robust enough to hold them. As inspection of the roof is required before installation, many people opt for this service and this is how roofers get clients in abundance.

If your roof is damaged, you can call roofers to fix it before moving forward with the panel installation. Pre-inspection of the roof will help you save a lot of money in removing panels if you detect the damage after the installation. 

Location of House

The location of your house matters a lot when it comes to solar panel installation. Solar panels work efficiently in the sunlight. You need to examine whether your house gets enough sun exposure or not. For example, in the northern hemisphere, south-facing roofs get more sunlight throughout the day and are considered ideal for solar panel installation. 

Likewise, west and east-facing roofs are also efficient enough to generate energy from solar panels. On the flip side, north-facing roofs get minimum sun exposure, so they are not ideal for solar installation. Also, check the surrounding trees and buildings as their shadow can obstruct the sunlight falling on the panels and impact their performance. 

Needed Materials

Some essential equipment and materials are required for solar panel installation to make the entire process easy and accurate such as:

  • Racking System: This is a metal system that positions and mounts the solar panels securely on the roof at the right angle to get maximum sunlight.
  • Solar Panels: These are the key components that absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity. You need to select the right type and size of solar panels depending on roof space and your energy consumption.
  • Inverter: This is another essential component that converts DC (direct current) into AC (alternating current) produced by solar panels.  
  • Electrical Wiring: Connectors, cables, etc., are essential for routing the EC (electric current) safely to the inverter and to the household electrical system. 
  • Hardware: Washers, nuts, bolts, and other fasteners come under essential hardware which secures the electrical components and racking system.
  • Tools: Depending on your skills and installation complexity, you might require wire cutters, drills, and wrenches.
  • Battery Storage (Optional): Although having a battery system is optional, it helps you store excess generated solar energy and use it during extended power outages and at night.

Safety 

Safety is crucial when you want to mount solar panels on the roof yourself. You need to consider the following key safety aspects:

  • Fall protection: Consider using a secured harness whenever you work on your roof. Additionally, avoid working alone, and have someone to assist you.
  • Roof Condition: Whenever you work on your DIY solar project, make sure that the roof is dry. Avoid working in windy, extreme heat, icy conditions, or when the roof is wet as the chances of slipping are higher.
  • Electrical Hazards Precaution: Turn off the power before touching any electrical wiring. For deep electrical tasks, hire a qualified electrician to ensure safety. Wear appropriate gloves to avoid electrical shocks.
  • Personal Protection: During solar panel installation, you need to protect your head, eyes, and body unfailingly. You need to wear protective eye gear, closed-toe boots, a hard hat, and appropriate clothes for your safety.

Energy Requirements 

To determine the right type and size of solar panels for your home, you need to estimate your energy consumption. To make accurate calculations, consider current as well as future energy requirements.

Permits and Approvals 

You will require some crucial permits and approvals before installing solar panels on your roof. For example, you will require a permit from your electricity provider if you are planning to connect panels to the grid to get credits for excess generated electricity. Also, a building permit is issued by local authorities and authorizes you to make modifications to your roof. 

You should also consider consulting with your electrical provider to understand the process of interconnections and the requirements of the application. Also, if you live in a HOA (homeowner’s association) community, you need to get their approval written beforehand. Consider having all the vital documents ready whenever you apply for permits such as roof plans, installation schedule, specifications of the solar system, etc.

Now you have understood vital things that need to be considered while mounting solar panels on the roof. Let’s quickly get down to the steps to carry out this project efficiently. 

8 Essential Steps to Mount Solar Panels On Your Roof

8 Steps to Mount Solar Panels On Your Roof Efficiently

Here is the list of 8 steps to mount solar panels on the roof and transform your home into an energy-efficient and sun-powered abode.

1. Careful Planning

You need to do careful planning before beginning solar panel installation. Asses your roof, sun exposure, capability to accommodate the solar system, etc. Estimate your energy consumption both current and future needs to determine the correct size of solar panels. 

Research deeply and pick a perfect system that matches your requirements and budget. You can also explore different financing options available in your location including loans. 

Check out different solar incentives offered in your region. One of the most popular incentives is the federal tax credit wherein homeowners can waive 30% off on the entire solar installation cost. 

2. Preparing the Roof

You need to prepare your roof for a solar panel system. Make sure it can handle the installation and weight of the solar panels. You can consult a professional help to do this assessment. Before installing panels, clear off the roof. Check for any obstructions, debris, dirt, etc. for a seamless setup. 

Once you have determined the area to install solar panels, mark the layout and its placement. Make sure you mount solar panels in an area where the maximum sunlight can be absorbed.

3. Racking System

The racking system or mounting system is a very significant element of your installation project as it holds the solar panels in one place and ensures that each panel captures sunlight optimally for many years. Various types of racking systems exist in the market, you need to pick the one that suits your roof type and serves your purpose. 

When you install the racking system, you need to carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions written in the manual. Use correct flashing materials and anchors to ensure zero leakage and a solid connection between your roof and the rack. Make sure the racking system sits firmly on the roof, if it becomes uneven, not only does it put pressure on the racking points but also affects the performance of the panels. 

Make sure you follow the instructions properly and install the racking system meticulously to avoid leakages.

4. Placement of Solar Panels

The way you place your solar panels on the roof impacts the amount of sunlight it absorbs and ultimately the production of electricity. You can utilize online tools or even consult a professional installer to find the best position and direction for placing solar panels. South-facing panels absorb maximum sunlight throughout the day and east or west directions can also generate a good amount of energy. 

Avoid placing solar panels on the northern side as this direction receives less direct sunlight. Make sure whenever you place solar panels, leave a good amount of space between each to prevent shading. You can refer to the manufacturer’s suggestions to follow the correct spacing between solar panels.

5. Wiring and Connecting Solar Panels

Although your solar panels are meant to capture sunlight, it is the wiring system and connection that transforms the captured energy into electricity to run appliances in your house. Therefore, this step requires careful attention while keeping your safety in check. 

The wiring system connects the solar system and carries the direct current electricity to the inverter. From there, alternating current electricity flows through the electrical panel of a house and then to the appliances. 

Your solar panel system comes with a detailed wiring blueprint that displays methods to connect the panels, inverter, and other components. You need to follow it meticulously to ensure accurate connections. 

All electrical wires need to be sized appropriately to handle solar panel-generated current. Undersized or uneven wire connections can lead to fire hazards. Follow the wiring blueprint and connect the panels as mentioned. 

Now securely route the direct current cables from panels to the location of the inverter. Following the wiring instructions connect the direct current cables from the panels to the input terminals of the inverter.

6. Integrating Inverter

The inverter takes the DC electricity generated from solar panels and converts it to AC electricity to power a house. Whenever you install an inverter, choose a dry, cool, and well-ventilated place. 

Avoid keeping it in a location that receives direct sunlight, develops moisture, and has extreme temperatures. This ensures the longevity of the inverter and allows it to perform optimally.

Installation of the inverter also involves some electrical work. You can consult a certified electrician to install the inverter securely if you are unsure about your skills.

7. Final Assessment

Once you have carefully planned, installed, and wired your solar system, you will reach the most crucial stage i.e. final assessment and starting of the system. In this step, you will ensure that everything is connected securely and functioning correctly.

Before switching on your solar system, inspect everything meticulously. Proceed if everything looks in order and safe. 

Refer to the manufacturer’s manual for beginning the startup process. You might need to turn on the inverter and the monitoring system as well.

8. Monitoring 

Once you have successfully installed and started the system, you get the satisfaction of carrying off everything on your own. Now you can enjoy green energy with your own installed solar panels. 

However, you need to keep monitoring your system to understand how much energy your panels are able to generate. Constant monitoring also helps in identifying potential issues that disrupt energy production. 

Monitoring also helps in tracking your energy consumption in a specific period. You can also do a cost-saving analysis by comparing the generated solar energy with your utility bills. This helps in understanding the ROI (return on investment) of your solar panels.

Wrapping Up

So, these were 8 crucial steps to mount solar panels on the roof. If you are planning to install panels yourself, plan carefully and prioritize your safety before moving ahead with the project. If you are unsure about any step, consult a professional solar installer to make the entire process seamless.

Now you can enjoy clean energy without investing huge money in professional installation. Once you have installed the solar panels, double check everything and start off with confidence! 

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