Although there is a wide range of do-it-yourself solar power kits on the market today, it can be beneficial to hire an electrician for the component selection and installation process. The very nature of this project demands a working knowledge of electrical circuits and components. Without this knowledge, you could end up incorrectly arranging the panels or installing the wrong breaker box. Electricians will ensure your solar panel install works efficiently without any major faults. Here are four areas where you will benefit from an electrical contractor's expertise.
Select Correct Components
Unless you want to pour a ton of excess energy into the local power grid, you need to match your current electricity usage with expected output from the solar panels. In particular, you must make sure your solar panels generate more than enough electricity to power your home throughout the late evening and early morning hours.
Your electrician will perform several calculations to find the correct size and arrangement of solar panels to create the energy you need. Furthermore, electricians make sure that your home or yard has enough room for proper install of the panels. You may also need help selecting an inverter, breaker box, switchboard and power meter for adequate operation of your solar energy system.
Install New Breaker Box
Most residential breaker boxes do not have space for the inclusion of a solar power system. To make room, you must pick up a circuit breaker with an integrated solar panel controller. In many cases, this new breaker box can fully replace your current one, but it depends on the number and type of outlets found throughout your home.
Your electrician will analyze the wiring in your home while keeping your solar panel setup in mind to identify the correct breaker box configuration. If appropriate, your electrician will either install the new box alongside the old one or completely replace the existing unit.
Position Panels Appropriately
The final install position of your solar panels directly influences their power output abilities. Although instructions supplied with solar panel kits often indicate a southern facing install, it's actually better to face the panels toward the west. Panels facing a westward direction may generate up to two percent more power each day than ones facing any other way.
Furthermore, you must make sure the intended installation area is not shaded by nearby trees or manmade structures to obtain efficient power generation results. Your electrician will survey the area to find the best installation point for your panels. Electricians also check your building to ensure the roofing materials or other connection points are in good shape before performing the install.
Connect To The Grid
Even when utilizing battery storage for excess power, you may run across days where your solar energy does not stretch as far as expected. When that happens, you have to rely on power from the local grid to run your lights, heat and outlets.
Your solar panels can also feed energy back into the power grid after powering your electrical connections and filling up the storage batteries. When you add power into the local grid, your meter will actually turn backward. You may receive a discount or credit from your utility company for this service. To make sure your solar panels recharge the grid, your electrician needs to install and maintain return meters and modules.
Working With Your Electrician
Talk with an electrician before purchasing supplies to receive an appropriate material recommendation. Your electrician will take note of your power expectations before suggesting panels, inverters or breaker boxes for your project. All of the materials you will need for this project are usually detailed on the work estimate. Furthermore, you can often have your electrician source and purchase the materials for you, perhaps even at a discount from a building supply company.