Catching up on my backlog of posts, this is the next in a series of entries on our new solar panels, following on from our initial decision.
The first step of the installation process is to put up a pair of “rails” that the solar panels are attached to. With a corrugated iron roof, this is pretty straightforward. The existing screws that hold on the roof are removed, and the new screws put in for both rails and roof. Thankfully ropes were used at this point, so I didn’t have workmen falling into the garden.
Installing the panels themselves is then surprisingly quick. They simply connect to the rails, and are plugged together in series. Even including getting the panels up on the roof, they were all installed in under an hour.
Afterwards, the electrician came by and installed the inverter, which converts DC energy from the panel into AC that can be used. Everything was then cabled together.
Some things that I learnt from the process:
- While in theory there was space for two rows of solar panels, in practice, it’s limited by the location of the screw holes (and underlying beams). In this case, there was only row of screws that could be used for the panels.
- Finding a the right location for the inverter is important. Apparently they drop in efficiency when they get too hot, so they need to be placed somewhere in the shade.
- There wasn’t space on the main meter board, but there wasn’t a hassle in mounting it to the side of the house, some distance away.
- Make sure the display on the inverter can be easily read, as it gives useful information about how much power is being generated at any given moment, and the total produced in the day. (Ours ended up getting installed a bit too high up.)
- Like all work done on the house, it’s worth double-checking that the panels being installed are the ones that were ordered (there’s a model number on the back of each panel). No problems in this case, thankfully!
- The slow bit is getting the energy company to install the new meters that are required (but this is the topic of another post).
- Even without the meters, the energy can be used in the house. It was great to see the meter running backwards when the sun was shining!