Do you find solar panels too costly to install? If you know how to mount solar panels on roof, you can reduce your overall expenditures by a few hundred dollars. All you need are the correct materials and this guide to installing solar panels on the roof.
Ideally, you will want a professional to do this because solar panel mounting can be technical. However, if you are a budding handyman, this guide will be your blueprint for installing solar panels on your roof.
Things You Will Need For This Tutorial
Installing a solar power system in your home is a straightforward process. However, it requires a few things to make the activity successful.
Basic Knowledge of Solar Power Systems
Anyone who wants to attach solar panels to roof must understand how the system works.
The panels collect light energy and convert them into usable power. Our home appliances run on AC electricity, not solar power. That is why solar panels must also convert light energy into electrical power.
Unfortunately, the electrical power generated by solar panels is in DC form. This is where an inverter comes in. This device transforms DC power to its AC form, allowing you to operate devices and appliances in your house.
Connecting these components are wires or cables, allowing the electricity to run from the solar panels to your home.
Home Solar Power System Kit
A good solar power kit should have all the components you need to set up a solar power-generator in your home. Together with the solar panels, it must have the correct wires, power inverters, railings, and mounting hardware. It would also be best if the kit already comes with a charge controller.
In buying a solar panel, pay attention to the type. I suggest getting monocrystalline solar panels because they are more efficient, albeit more expensive, than polycrystalline forms. Steer clear of thin-film solar cells. They may be affordable, but their efficiency is less than a polycrystalline.
A screwdriver is an absolute must in solar panel installation. You also need a drill and the correct-size bits. An impact driver would be best for securing the railings onto your roof. You will also require a measuring tape for ensuring the correct spacing and parallel positioning of the solar panel railings.
8 Steps to Mount Solar Panels on Roof
Step 1. Prepare your materials.
I cannot emphasize this enough. It would be best to remember you will be working on your roof. Not having your materials beforehand not only makes mounting solar panels on roof tiring and cumbersome. You also increase your risk of injuries.
Pro Tip: Be systematic. Assemble everything you can before climbing onto your roof.
Step 2. Determine your location’s latitude tilt.
Your solar panel’s light-gathering performance depends on your location relative to the 25-degree latitude. If you live at a latitude of 25 degrees, you should tilt your solar panels at 25 degrees. For every five-degree latitude increase from the 25 degree, you must add 5-degrees in the tilt.
For example, California runs from the 33rd parallel to the 42nd parallel. If you live in southern California, you must tilt your solar panels by 30 degrees. If you live in the Florida Keys, you can maintain the ideal 25-degree tilt of your solar panels because this part of the state is at the 25th parallel.
Above 40-degrees latitude, you must add 20-degrees to your actual latitude. Hence, northern Oregon homeowners must tilt their solar panels at 65 degrees.
Step 3. Secure the stanchions on your roof.
Fix the screw-like stanchions on the rafters through the roof. These pieces of hardware will help keep your solar panels from getting torn off from your rooftop.
Drill holes four feet apart to fix the stanchions. Secure the hardware, ensuring tightness for improved stability and security.
Pro Tip: Check your house’s blueprint to locate the rafters.
Step 4. Mount the flashing.
If you install solar panel on roof, you will not want to lose your rooftop’s principal function – protect you against the elements. You do not want to have leaks in your home every time it rains or snows. That is why you must also install flashing.
Lift your rooftop’s shingles and place the flashing underneath. Drive a bolt through the flashing until it secures firmly through the rafters. Return the shingles to their original position.
Step 5. Install the solar panel railings.
Secure a solar panel rail on the stanchions by inserting screws through the holes and tightening them. Install another rail on the roof, ensuring it runs parallel to the other railing. I recommend measuring the distance and marking the spot where you will drive the bolt.
A more accurate method is measuring the diagonal distance between the top of one railing and the bottom of the other rail. Measure from the other side, ensuring both measurements are equal.
Install the middle solar panel railing, ensuring perfect alignment with the lower and upper rails.
Pro Tip: Use an impact driver to ensure a secure rail mounting.
Step 6. Mount the electrical components.
Before you can install solar panels on rooftop, you must prepare the electrical components. Each plate comes with wires. If your solar panels do not have these cables, you must connect wires to them.
Install a power inverter underneath each solar panel, connecting a 6-gauge copper wire into each inverter. This setup will form your solar panel’s conductor system.
Step 7. Mount the solar panels.
Carefully place a solar panel on one end of the railings, securing it with retaining clips. Connect the positive wire of one panel to the negative wire of the next solar panel. Making a series connection is more convenient than a parallel method.
Perform the same procedure with each solar panel, securing every section with retaining clips and connecting the wires. Connect the cables to a charge controller, which allows you to manage your solar and battery power more efficiently.
Step 8. Connect the solar panels to your electrical system.
The last step in roof mounting solar panels is connecting the solar system to your home’s electric lines. I strongly recommend adding at least two 12-volt deep cycle batteries to your system. It will help keep your appliances running in case your solar panels are not generating sufficient energy.
Always turn off your home’s main power supply switch before working on this step. Connect the wires from the charge controller to your deep cycle batteries. Additionally, make a connection between the charge controller and the power inverter.
Lastly, connect the power inverter to a slot in your circuit breaker panel. You might want to check your manual on how to make the necessary electrical connections.
I found a fascinating video from FrugalRepair about how ordinary people can install a solar power system in their homes.
Learning how to mount solar panels on roof is not as challenging as it sounds. You only need a few tools, a good-quality solar power system home kit, and elbow grease to get a free power-generating system running on your roof in no time.
Did you find this how-to guide helpful? Do you think your friends and acquaintances will learn something from it, too? If yes, I hope you will share this with them. If you have comments or concerns, I would also love to hear them.
Hi, I am Eddie, Cleanenergysummit’s content editor. It’s so much joy to work alongside Justin, as the idea of providing knowledge about using clean energy excites us.
I’ve been working to address any concerns or questions you may have as you transition to using solar electricity to power your home. Tune in to hear our advice and suggestions on anything clean energy. Welcome!