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Understanding Home Solar Panels | Solar Energy

Updated on December 9, 2015
House with Solar Panels on Roof
House with Solar Panels on Roof | Source

The FAQs about Home Solar Panels

As more and more people consider converting to solar energy for home consumption, discussions about installing home solar panels occur often.

True, industrial installers consider solar installation a routine task, but they are trained and experienced.

For the rest of us, it is not such an easy matter to build your own solar panel. To start with, unlike the pros, we usually have no experience in this area. Secondly, every installation is different. Each residential unit comes with a distinct set of challenges that the DIY er must analyze and conquer.

This article addresses frequently asked questions. You'll find a discussion of the types of home solar panels, how to know if solar power is suitable for your residence, what you will need in terms of supplies and equipment, and basic information about a solar panel installation.

You'll also find a recommendation for a Green Energy DIY guide that's well worth a look.

Residential Solar Panels
Residential Solar Panels | Source

Do you Have Adequate Sun Exposure?

or is there too much cloud cover?

Before you go looking for solar panels for sale, your first order of business is to determine whether or not your house or lot receives enough sun exposure to justify the financial outlay. If you reside in an area in which frequent cloud cover blocks off the sun's direct rays, then you could be looking at a long wait before you recover your expenditure.

In this situation, other forms of alternative energy such as wind power or magnet motors may work better for you.

Assessing the amount of cloud cover versus the amount of direct sunlight is not as difficult as it sounds.

Numerous websites provide special tools and technologies that give you this information in a matter of minutes. Depending on the web site, you might be able to navigate to location using a map-like image, or you may be asked to enter the details. The technology provides you with an assessment of whether installing solar panels is worthwhile in your case, and if it is, the technology suggests the optimum method of laying your home solar panels.

Array of Solar Panels
Array of Solar Panels | Source

What is the Best Type of Solar Panels for Your Home?

or does one size fit all?

After determining that your locale has adequate sunlight, your next consideration is which type of solar panels you want to use. There are two types: flush panels or tilted panels.

Typically, commercial installers simply align the panels with the slant of the roof. In most cases, this is a satisfactory solar panel installation.

However, based on your location, a different alignment may be preferred.

Also, if the roof of your home is flat, it may be wise to install your panels with a minor tilt. A completely flat solar panel installation tends to collect debris such as dust, dirt, rainwater and dead insects. All of these will reduce the efficiency of your installation.

All-in-One Solar Kit

Renogy 400 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit with Wanderer
Renogy 400 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit with Wanderer

This highly rated starter kit will get you on the way to living off the grid.


What Fittings Are Needed for DIY Solar Power?

what if my house is not suited to solar energy?

The good news is that solar power for homes is not dependent upon the type of roof on your house. Every type of roof will handle a solar panel of one sort of another. With a little thought and the willingness to persevere, you will find a system that works for you.

Typically when you build solar panels, you attach the brackets or posts using steel pins or steel bolts. This hardware has the ability to pierce the joists or rafters. Many DIYers, when installing the panels on a tilted roof, first set a long rain on the brackets, and then slide the panels into this rail

Challenges can arise if the roof has an unusual tilt, or if the roof’s initial construction utilized a non-traditional building method. Nevertheless, these challenges can almost always be overcome.

How to Assemble the Array of Solar Panels for your Home?

do I need more than one?

An individual photovoltaic module (PV) produces a small amount of power. Therefore, home solar power installations often contain several panels. This is referred to as a photovoltaic array, or simply an array.

DIY solar panels come in pieces, which you arrange to form a grid structure. This is not a difficult task to perform. Using rails as mentioned above makes it easier.

Most installers attach the panels to one another, as well as to the rail or brackets. This affords additional strength.

Solar collector panels also require supplementary connections for the supply and return feeds. These connections are above what you need for the PV panels. As the name suggests, the collector panels collect the sun's energy. The PV panels convert this solar radiation into electricity.

Once the panels are affixed, you then attach a conduit or trunk to connect the panels to a device known as an inverter. The converts the direct current in the PV panels to the alternating current that is needed for home use.

Your DIY solar panel installation is accomplished. Depending on your geographic location, you may want to include weather proofing to protect your installation from the elements.

What's the Best Solar Panel DIY Guide?

which guide is getting the buzz?

Before you spend a penny on anything else, you might want to acquire a DIY guide to home solar energy.

Construction companies have a saying worth remembering: They say, "Plan Twice. Build Once."

By starting out with the best information available, you will save yourself the time, money and the frustration that comes with having to redo some aspects of your conversion project.

Video: How to Solar Panel Your Home

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    • canadianwoodencra profile image

      Mike St. Pierre 

      3 years ago from Pembroke, ONT

      Plan twice build once, any suggestion to look for in buying used Solar Panels.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great lens! I love it. Very creative.

    • wmandolado profile image


      5 years ago

      nice lens, it's a similar lens I created.

    • Mommy-Bear profile image


      5 years ago

      I've been looking into this recently as we all should be thinking GREEN!

    • opatoday profile image


      5 years ago

      You make a great lens and thanks for the like

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great Lens...Very informative and well constructed.

    • tonybonura profile image

      Tony Bonura 

      6 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

      A very interesting and informative lens.


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      There are several options for backup power equipments when we face power failure e.g. generators, renewal energy resources or hybrid system. The most easily available and operative backup equipment is generator. Generators basically use diesel or gas as the fuel.

      Solar Generator

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Another way to save a lot of energy for people living in temperate and colder climates is improved heating controls. A single house thermostat will respond to the temperature in one room only so some rooms are too hot and others may be too cold. With digital thermostats controlling the radiator valves in each room you can control the temperature in each room and program different temperatures for different times of day and days of the week. This sounds complicated and therefore vulnerable but the system is modular and if it fails it can be disconnected allowing the boiler to run on its integral timer.

      Backup Solar Generator

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Nice ... thanks for this information.



      Emergency Solar Generator

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      6 years ago

      Great info for ways to go green.

    • saso77 profile image


      6 years ago

      Great article for everybody who needs more info about solar panels. We must do efforts to use this renewable energies , and solar power as biggest of all energies as much as we can in our everyday life ,not only from economical point of view but also to keep our nature from pollution and exploitation of Earth's fossil fuels.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      6 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @saso77: I totally agree that we must explore alternative energy sources for the good of the planet.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      6 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @networm: It's certainly a good thing that installing these things is easier and easier. The easier it is, the more people will be interested in trying.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      It's very true, solar panels these days are now easy to assemble. This is due to a wide available of guides as well as the kits for the whole solar panel module. Perfect for starting small scale and then scaling it up to be able to power the entire home using solar energy.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      8 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @KimGiancaterino: I'm always delighted to hear that someone is opting for environmentally friendly power. Congrats and all the best with those low utility bills. Thanks for visiting my lens.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      8 years ago

      Thank you ... this is very informative. We're having solar panels installed next week. It's turned into a big project. We needed a new roof first because our house was built in the 1920s. We're looking forward to small utility bills, which we have not seen in a long time here in Los Angeles.


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