• Book Name: Install your own solar panels by Joseph Burdick and Philip Schmidt
  • Author: Joseph Burdick and Philip Schmidt
  • Pages: 444
  • Size: 36 MB

Install Your Own Solar Panels PDF

install your own solar panels pdf

Contents of Install Your Own Solar Panels PDF

1 The Basics

  • Anatomy of a Solar-Electric System •Can I Install My Own PV System? •Going Solar — From Start to Finish •Working with Solar Professionals •Answering the Big Three

2 Assessing Your Site

  • Measuring Area, Slope, and Azimuth •Sizing Your System with PV Watts •Snow, Wind, and Shade

3 Choosing PV Hardware

  • Modules •Module Support Structures •Inverters and DC Optimizers

4 Designing Your System

  • PV Circuit Fundamentals •The Design Process •Sample System Designs •One-Line Electrical Diagrams •Wire Types for PV Systems

5 Getting Ready to Install

  • Permitting and Inspections •Shopping Solar •Solar Financials •Assembling Your Crew

6 Mechanical Installation: Rooftop

  • Laying Out the Racking •Installing Footers and Rails •Installing Modules

7 Mechanical Installation: Ground-Mount

  • Setting the Support Posts •Assembling the Ground-Mount Structure

8 Electrical Installation

  • Final Project Steps •Running Conduit •Component Connections •Final Inspection and Turning On Your PV System

9 Off-Grid System Design

  • Off-Grid Basics •Batteries •Sample Off-Grid System Design

10 Beyond Installation: Tips for Troubleshooting, Maintaining, and Monitoring Your PV System

  • PV Safety Rules •Shutdown and Startup Procedures •Maintenance and Troubleshooting •Monitoring Your System

Preface to Install Your Own Solar Panels PDF

If you’re interested in this book, surely you already know that solar electricity is good for the environment, national security, and the air we breathe, not to mention your electricity bill. And that it’s one of the best ways to reduce your household’s contribution to global warming. You’ve also probably heard that going solar can actually be cheaper than paying for utility power, and you might wonder whether this claim is true.

Well, in most cases, it is true. It just takes time for the incremental savings to overtake the initial investment (after that, the solar power is free). If you install the solar system yourself, you can hit this tipping point a lot sooner — in some cases, in half the time. That brings us to the next big question: Can you really install your own solar panels? Again, the answer is yes.

If you can drive lag bolts and assemble prefabricated parts, and if you’re willing to spend a day or two on your roof (or not, if you’re mounting your panels on the ground), you can install your own solar system. You don’t have to know how to hook up the solar panels to your household electricity or the utility grid. You’ll hire an electrician for the house hookup, and the utility company will take care of the rest, usually for free. For a completely off-grid system, the utility company isn’t involved at all.

Perhaps disappointingly, this job isn’t even a good excuse to buy new power tools, since the only one you need is a good drill. So, if this is such a doable project, why do most people use professional installers? For starters, a lot of people have good reasons to hire out virtually everything, from oil changes to grocery shopping. (That’s probably not you, but even if it is, this book can help you plan for a solar installation and find a good local installer.)

Solar professionals handle more than the installation. They design the system, they apply for rebates and credits, they order all the necessary parts, and they obtain the permits and pass all the inspections. But the fact is, you can do all of these things yourself, provided you have a helpful adviser (this book, for example) and you are willing to follow the rules of the local building authority (that’s where you’ll get those permits). Solar installations are getting easier all the time, and you might be surprised at how much do-it-yourself (DIY) help is available.

Two good examples are PVWatts and the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE). PVWatts is an online calculator that helps you size a solar-electric system based on the location and position of your house and the angle of your roof. Solar pros use the same simple tool, but it’s free for everyone. DSIRE offers an up-to-date, comprehensive listing of renewable energy rebates, tax breaks, and other financial incentives available in any area of the United States. And it’s also free and easy to use.

Those two resources alone help answer the two most common questions homeowners have about solar electricity: How big of a system do I need? and How much will it cost? Other resources include solar equipment suppliers that cater to DIYers and offer purchasing and technical support, as well as consumer-friendly industry sources like Home Power magazine and the online community Build It Solar. And there’s no law that says DIYers can’t hire a solar professional for help with specific aspects of their project, such as creating design specifications, choosing equipment, or preparing permit documents.

What’s been missing from the wealth of information out there is a single expert voice — a guiding light, if you will — that pulls it all together and walks you through the project from start to finish. This book is your guiding light. It tells you what you need and shows you how to install it. Every major aspect of the process is covered, from site assessment and system design to permits, equipment, and installation.

Install your own solar panels pdf.


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