DIY solar Power System
Whether you’re interested in alternative energy forms or wanting to move to a more independent lifestyle, you may have considered solar panels. While it’s true that using solar panels can significantly cut your energy costs, taking advantage of solar energy isn’t quite as simple as it seems. Can you install your own solar panels? Possibly, but there are some key points and challenges you should be aware of before you get started.
High Level of Technical Difficulty
Installing solar panels is extremely technical work and is much more complicated than it may initially seem. Improper installation can lead to a host of problems, from electrocution risks and broken panels to a system that just plain doesn’t work. Installing solar panels requires mounting the modules to the roof — including getting them up there in the first place — and wiring the entire system. Even if you have a decent knowledge of electrical work, you can quickly find yourself in over your head.
However, it’s easy to be focused on preparing for the physical installation process and forget about all of the work and expertise that goes into the planning stages. For a solar power system to be effective and efficient, it’s important to take into consideration how much power you need it to provide, what kind of backup systems you will have and most importantly, where the sun is. The tilt and orientation of the system is critical in ensuring that it is able to harness enough available sunlight to meet your expected energy needs. If either of these two aspects is not done correctly, the system will not perform to its potential even if you have abundant sunshine.
You will also need to get the appropriate permits and make sure that you are following the local regulations. You usually need to have a working mock-up of the completed solar power system to submit to the appropriate people when applying for a permit. If there are any issues with the design plan, revisions may be in order to get the plan approved and the permit issued.
Possible Health Risks
It’s also important to be aware of the inherent safety risks of installing your own solar panels. Solar panels are heavy and difficult to maneuver, and if you are installing the panels on a roof, that adds another element of risk. You’ll need to make sure you have enough people helping you and the right equipment to get them safely onto the roof and to make sure they stay there during the installation process. Any time you are doing work on a high surface, using the proper safety gear — such as guardrails, fall restraint systems and personal fall arrest systems — is critical. A fall from even a single-story roof can be fatal, and at best, it will usually involve several broken bones and a long, painful recovery.