Installing Solar Panels: The First Step in Using Solar Energy

When installing solar panels one is faced with many decisions. The roof is typically the most desired place, but often an area of the yard with optimal sun exposure will work just as well, if not better. They can be flush mounted as to remain as inconspicuous as possible or tilted to achieve the most exposure possible. Roof penetration is something that is inevitable, but with proper flashing and sealing techniques, any roof can remain leak free. Roofing material can play a large part in the installation process. While composition roofing allows for the easiest installation, tile roofs can be rather difficult. With the fragile tiles and the uneven surface, it makes for quite the challenge.

Installing solar panels starts with the correct tools and supplies. A decision will need to be made between a flush installation and tilted so the proper mounts can be attained. Once the accurate measurements are acquired, the exact location of the rafters will need to be found. A stud finder will generally suffice in locating their position. After a chalk line is made creating a straight line down the length of the center of the rafters, holes will need to be predrilled using a pilot bit to avoid any undesired splitting of the wood. The mounts will then need to be secured to the roof using stainless steel lag bolts. Sealant and metal flashings will need to be placed over all of the mounts to prevent any moisture from penetrating the roof.

Once the all of the mounts are properly secured and evenly space along the rafters, the metal rails are ready to be fastened to the mounts. Only stainless steel screws should be used when attaching the rail. The rails should have mounts distributed evenly and spaced close enough to each other to manage the heavy weight of the solar panels. Once two rows are completed it is time to start installing solar panels.

Special care needs to be taken when moving the heavy solar panels into place. Installing solar panels is not an extremely complex process, but it can be physically demanding. Once the panels are properly secured to the rails it is time to repeat the process until the desired array of panels has been achieved. Conduits running the entire way from the solar panels to the inverter will need to be installed to safely contain the direct current on its way to the inverter. That is the final step and now is the time to reap the benefits of solar energy.

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