Little Known Way to Install and Wire Photovoltaic Panels

photovaltaicIn order to incentivize Americans to switch their homes over to alternative, renewable energy resources, the U.S. federal government began offering tax credits in 2009 for energy efficient home improvements like biomass stoves, propane furnaces, and rooftop-mounted photovoltaic panels (i.e. solar panels). Originally, the tax incentive program covered as much as 30% of the cost of these 21st century home improvements, up to $2,000 max.

Although recently, the tax credit was lowered a bit to 10% of installation costs, up to a max of $500, which is still a fair incentive. The days of two thousand dollars in tax savings may be through. But now is as good of a time as ever to install your own solar energy system. So here are the basics of how to install and wire your own photovoltaic panel:

Location, Location, Location

The most important thing that you need to know is you absolutely, unequivocally must mount your solar panel in the best location possible. The individual photovoltaic cells inside of your panel need as much direct sunlight as possible in order to generate a usable voltage.

Roofs, obviously, are the optimal location. Furthermore, you have made sure that the solar panel is tilted in such a way to capture the most direct sunlight. The last thing you want to do is have an early morning shadow cast over your brand new photovoltaic panel. In the U.S. you will want to position your unit facing south. And giving your mounted panel “room to breathe” is a good idea too.

Wiring the Photovoltaic Panel

Solar panel technology is still in its infancy. So depending on the specs of your solar panel, some do-it-yourself wiring may be required to get the most use out of your investment. For your own safety, your solar panel’s rack-mount must be properly grounded and in line with your local and national electrical codes.

The wiring process itself involves opening the panel’s junction box and with the proper gauge wire connecting the device in parallel to a charge controller, which will prevent any possible overload of power coming from your photovoltaic panel. Usually, people worry about not having enough electricity to power an A/C unit for example. But the opposite is true as well.

The wiring between the charge controller and your solar panel must also be properly secured and tight, lest any accidents occur. It is a great idea to include your own fusing system at this point in the circuit too.

From here, the next steps are up to you since there are literally hundreds of unique ways to begin to slowly wean yourself off of your home’s primary electrical system. Some have saved hundreds of dollars on energy costs using solar panels to power appliances for instance.

Shannon Marie Combs contributes articles for the blog, her personal hobby blog centered on ideas to aid home owners find solar installers and learn how to to conserve energy with solar power.

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