How to Install Solar Panels Solar Energy System Sizes
Now, we'll talk a little bit about the sizing of these systems. It depends on what you want to actually run, and of course how much money you have. We're going to go on the smaller side, just today. If you're trying to power your whole house, and you had air conditioning, and stoves, and lighting, and computers, and the normal things a normal house has, and you wanted to run it all by solar, you'd be using quite a few of these, or these, and some of the systems we install have up to seventy panels or more, and unfortunately,.
They're maybe a thousand dollars each, so you can see the price goes up, with the amount of load you wish to take over. In our system here, my plan is to take my home office off the grid, and just power up some laptops, and entertainment equipment, so we're going to be using a fairly small system. One or two of these hundred and forty watt panels, charging a bank of perhaps four six volt batteries, and that will give us enough power to run quite a few lights, my laptop, and some entertainment equipment, from the power of the sun.
DIY Solar Panel System Cost
The total of the system and materials was $22K. I ended up spending about another $1,800 in permit fees and a structural engineer and $400 for an electrician, several hundred dollars for a guy to come help me out for the two afternoons he spent with me. Xcel Energy gave me $16,538 rebate. Fix cost based on the number of kilowatts you are installing and has nothing to do with how much you pay the permit office or the electrician. My final cost after rebate was $7,237. I started my research in solar probably about a year before I actually installed it went.
And got a couple of bids from some of the local solar people both from contractors that my friends have used as well as just searching the internet and while talking to one of the guys I find of developed a good feeling from him, and I asked the question Would it be possible to do some of the work myself and kind of learn along the way he said Sure I absolutely support the doityourselfer DIY so I said why don't you throw me bids, what it would cost just come home and have solar one day and what it would cost to have.
It done where I do some or all the work myself. And throw them both to me and I said let's try the second one. The guys name is Steve Cross from Sun Spot Solar. I gave him my electric bills and said this is how much I think I need to generate and he said I agree and lets do these types of panels 180 watts each, you will need some where around 19 to 22 we figured out 21 fit pretty well. So I went and got all the permit information from Golden, filled it out. He came by 12.
Hour one day he type all the Xcel application on the internet and I kind of ran the process and when I had a question I would just send him an email and he helped me out. I think in parallel we order the equipment he dropped off in my driveway. Then one of his installers came out and helped me for two afternoons and I pretty much myself put in the whole rack system on the roof and the installer came out and helped me kind of a two man job carrying the panels up, putting the panels down and bracketing them down.
How to Install Solar Panels Battery Banks for Solar Energy
Now we come to our battery bank for our Solar system. This one is made up of six volt cells combined in different ways to get the voltage we need for our individual inverters. We're going to be using the big Zantrax 1,000 watt this time, so we'll need two six volt cells, in series, to come up with that twelve volts. If you take your battery and connect a positive to a negative terminal that leaves you with a positive and negative terminal and you can get your twelve volts here. If you connect four batteries in series, positive to negative,.
You come up with twentyfour volts. And if you needed a fortyeight volt system, which is not uncommon, you'd simply expand and use more batteries. But for a twelve volt system we'll just use two. And, they're really the most dangerous part of the system. If you look down inside there, you can see a liquid and that liquid is sulfuric acid and will really seriously burn you and that's why we have a base here, Baking Soda, and if you get that acid in your eyes or in your clothing you can neutralize it with this. So, very.
Important to have this for safety. We can get a look at some of that acid here with the hydrometer, this is what you measure the actual specific gravity of the acid inside. And you can see we have several of these disks floating. We have about three disks floating with one at the bottom. So we know that this two batteries, or at least this battery, is about seventyfive percent charged. So, we're going to be very careful with that acid and stick this back here in our little cup. It's also important to note that the gases that.
How to Install Solar Panels Solar Power Balance of System
Now we have our balance, we come to the balance of system where we tell what else is needed to actually make all this work together. So to actually get our solar system installed we of course have to mount it on the roof, which takes some rails, and special mounting clips. We'll also be powering up one or more types of inverters. We'll be using a charge controller. We've got various sizes of wire to make the system work as well as some fuses and of course a different styles of batteries. So the balance of system, or BOS really depends.
How to Install Solar Panels Tools for Installing Solar Energy System
Now let's get a look at the tools we'll need to safely install this job. Well, we've got a couple of noncontact AC and DC warning beepers here. We've got a AC wiggy that tests for voltages up to 600 volts on the AC side. We've got a standard digital volt home meter for various testing purposes, and the more standard tools razor knifes, screwdrivers, diagonal cutters, linesmen pliers for twisting wires, smaller pliers, and of course the wire stripper's always handy. I like to have a level just in case we're mounting some stuff.
And the things you may be able to do without are some of these large. Boy these are big, these are for making battery cables. If you've got the crimps you make your battery cable very professional. But they're kind of expensive, you can do without that for a home installed system. And then, of course, we're going to use some miscellaneous hardware to mount our rails to the roof. We'll have some screws and more crimps to get the batteries and other wiring completed, as well as possibly a little bit of spray paint just to touch up some of.
How to Install Solar Panels Wiring for Solar Panels
Alright! We've got the panels mounted and now we're ready to connect the wiring that brings the power down to our charge controller which is located on the ground. We're going to be using this BX style wire which is just twelve gage wire with a wrapping of sturdy aluminum on the outside to protect it from the elements. Typically used in household wiring, pretty common at your home improvement center, twelve gage is adequate for a small system like this. Black wire for our positive connection, the white wire will be negative.
It's also called the neutral in an AC system. But for this we can use the white wire as negative, and then the green will go to our frame as a ground. So, we'll just strip a little bit of wire off here. We've got our DC wires already marked coming from the panels. Red, positive and white is negative. So we'll follow that here, again, and strip these wires down. Special wiring comes out of these panels. It's USE rated versus THHN for instance. And this USE wire is UV stabilized so it can actually be out in the sunlight for many years without.
Degrading. We're using the shielded wire here could be in different styles of conduit or even a UV rated wire for a small installation like this. And your bigger grid type connections, all this can be in conduit and the wire choices would be a little more limited because of the high voltages concerned. But here, twelve to forty volts, we're not really as concerned with that as we might be. Still, it's nice to have everything solid. We're going to use our linesmen pliers here to get a nice solid twist on our positive wires and a little wire nut on top of that, snug.
It down. We've got our negative wire here, and you notice I didn't strip these both at the same time. Even through it's only 40 volts, you can still get a pretty decent shock off of these panels. So, it pays to keep the wires separate. In fact, at the other end here, we're not quite ready to make this connection, we should connect down at the bottom first before making this wire completely hot, just for safety. So now, let's leave this for a moment and go down and wire up our charge controller here in the laundry room.
How to Install Solar Panels Wiring Fuses to Solar Panel DC Side
Alright, now we're ready to wire up our fuses and charge controller on the solar panel DC side. We've got our charge controller ready to go, we're just going to slip our BX wire, which I've actually insulated one of the tips, here, so we don't spark our machine. We'll feed that wire through a strainer leaf and put another little strainer leafer, here, on our BX. Tighten that up a bit. So you can see with that little spark there, that we do have power and we should use some.
Kind of fusing in here just so, if something goes wrong and the fuse blows out instead of the electronics. So, we've got a standard car fuse, this one's rated 40 amps at 32 volts. Really, all we need is about a 15 amp fuse, here, but this should give us some measure of protection. We're going to wire this through on the positive side. We've got a fuse holder that matches our fuse, and we'll just strip off a little bit of this insulation here. We'll form a little edge, a crimp, on this so it will loop under our device nicely. Got.
Screw terminals, here, and we're just going to slip that positive wire right under one of our terminals. In a larger installation this will be done in a separate box, but for a small one, this should be fine. Now, we need to run the other side of the positive wire to our charge controller and we need a little piece of wire for that. So now we've got our little jumper wire ready to go, we're going to strip that off and connect it to the other side of our fuse. Demo So.
How to Install Solar Panels What is a Solar Panel
Well, today we are installing a small solar system on my personal residence. And we are going talk a little bit about what a solar panel is. This is of course a solar panel. A combination of silicon glass and aluminum. Precision components made in a factory. And able to take the photons coming from the sun and change it directly into electricity. Which then can be used any way we use electricity. So with our solar panel, there's lots of different kinds of solar panels and they are all designed for a little bit different applications. This.
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