Installing solar panels by yourself can be a cost-effective and rewarding experience; you can save a significant amount of money by cutting contractors out of the equation and taking pride in your own handiwork.
However, for the aspiring DIY solar enthusiast, knowing how to install solar panels may seem daunting. Don’t worry! Our solar panel installation guide includes step-by-step instructions to help you through every step of the solar and inverter installation process, whether you plan on installing a grid-tied or off-grid system.
Any solar inverter installation project must have a clearly laid out plan that includes measures to ensure everyone’s safety. The fact is that there are a few things you can do to ensure the solar installation process runs smoothly from start to finish before you even open your system. Here are some tips:
- You may have to purchase additional materials (wiring, tools, etc.)
- Organize your system unboxing
- Verifying that nothing is missing or damaged in your shipment
- Installing your system in accordance with safety guidelines
Beny Electric supplies quality solar inverter components and more to ensure PV system safety. For more information about how to install solar inverters, please check below.
THE SYSTEM TYPES
Using a grid-tie system, your panels are directly connected to the electric grid. In this way, you will be able to sell all the excess electricity you accumulated back to your utility provider. However, unlike other systems, this one does not come with a battery. Therefore, in case of power outages, you’ll also be left in the dark.
You can still use backup power from the stand-alone inverter system when the main grid goes down. The system consists of a large box you can place anywhere in your home – for example, in a garage or utility closet. It works by switching DC into AC via mechanical rotors. Typically, these are connected to batteries. If you choose this type of inverter, make sure that you use a quality SMA inverter to ensure long-lasting performance.
There is a battery installation involved in this multi-mode inverter, along with the inverter set-up. Besides supplying DC power to the battery, the inverter also provides AC power to the grid and appliances in your home. Because MPPT is built into the unit, it can monitor how much charge you need to draw from the grid and when it’s time to draw it. A charge controller is used to send excess energy back to the grid after the battery has been fully charged. The inverter can go into standby mode instead of completely turning off if any problem arises.
THE RIGHT LOCATION AND POSITION
Choosing the right installation environment for a PV system is crucial, especially the location of the inverter. There are a number of concerns related not only to electricity generation but also to user safety.
If the installation location is incorrect, the quality and revenue of the power station can be affected. Despite the inverter having an IP65 protection level, it could shorten its life if exposed to complex environments for an extended period of time, such as rain, snow, etc. Such a problem is not desirable for any user.
When installing inverters, system installers have to select the right location. Here are some tips.
- Inverters should not be exposed to direct sunlight.
- Inverters should not get wet from rain or snow.
- Installation of the inverter cannot be tilted too much (15° maximum), inverted, or tiled.
- There should be a certain distance between the right and left sides of the backplate when installing the inverter.
These were some aspects that an installer must keep in mind while installing an inverter. Given below are some important tips related to the safety of your home.
- The power supply should be easy to shut off.
- Inverters must be mounted on a solid wall..
- It should be unreachable to a child.
Make sure you take good care of your inverter after being installed. To make sure your inverter is working correctly, check its temperature, indicator lights, and sound on a regular basis. If you find any abnormalities, contact your installer or service provider.
WIRING AND DIAGRAM
Whether you’re installing solar panels or wiring them, solar panel stringing is an essential topic for anyone working in the industry. The inverter for your solar array must function effectively with the array’s voltage, current, and power, so it’s important to understand how stringing configurations impact these values.
To install a functional solar PV system, you must connect the panels together so that the current can flow. The panels must be connected to the inverter that converts DC power from the panels into AC power you can use in your home or send to the grid. In the solar industry. Stringing is the practice of connecting panels together in series, and each string is referred to as a section.
Voltages Should Be Within the Inverter Range
You should not connect strings to the inverter that exceed the input voltage or current capacity of the inverter or fall below its minimum/start voltage. Don’t forget to check if the maximum voltage complies with the code requirements in the area you are designing.
Be sure that strings with similar conditions are connected to different MPPT ports
When you’ve determined that your strings meet the inverter specifications, a second important factor to keep in mind is whether they are connected to the same inverter MPPT (e.g., same tilt, same azimuth/orientation, same irradiance). You will lose the power output and efficiency of your solar design if the conditions on the strings do not match.
Optimising your design with advanced considerations
Your stringing configuration will be compliant with your inverter’s specifications if you follow the above rules. The panel’s energy production won’t be adversely affected by mismatched conditions.
However, there are other factors that solar designers should consider when designing (that is, the optimal design for maximum energy production at the lowest cost). Several factors influence power conversion efficiencies, such as the use of MLPE, inverter clipping, devices such as DC optimizers and micro-inverters, and software-based design efficiency.
Once your solar inverter is installed, your job doesn’t end there. To make sure it lasts for several years, you need to maintain it. Here are easy and effective ways to maintain your inverter, irrespective of its type.
Perform Correct Wiring
As per the SANSC 10142-1 Wiring Regulation Code, the wiring of the inverter must be done correctly. Thus, it is wise to ensure that the inverter’s wiring follows SANS10142-1 guidelines.
You will surely shorten the inverter’s lifespan if you do not choose the installation environment well.
However, which environment is best for installing an inverter?
It is best to do it indoors, in a cool room with plenty of ventilation. Secondly, the inverters should not interfere with cooling fans in order to prevent them from overheating and causing fires. Furthermore, the room should be continuously ventilated with adequate moisture and be kept away from liquids.
Avoid Flammable Substances
An inverter is one of the devices that can create sparks. Therefore, it would be beneficial to keep it away from anything that could lead to a fire accident at all costs. Keeping it away from flammable substances and gases, for instance, will prevent sparks from escalating into fires.
Maintain the Battery
Some solar inverters need to be regularly maintained because they have batteries. Numerous risks are associated with batteries, such as shocks, fire accidents, and overheating.
A well-ventilated battery compartment is essential to long-term battery maintenance. This is because it generates hydrogen and oxygen gases while the battery is charging. These gases need to be appropriately circulated to avoid them building up and damaging the battery.
Aside from that, you should be very careful handling the battery. Remove any metallic jewelry, including bracelets, rings, watches, etc. Why? Because a short circuit produced by these power sources can weld light metal and result in fire burns.
Avoid Input Over-Voltage
Each inverter has a maximum voltage it can handle. This explains why some solar inverters are best suited for residential purposes, while others are best suited for commercial applications. You can see that a solar inverter designed for a single unit used in a residential home cannot be used to convert large currents within a commercial building.
As a result, you should not think about interchanging the inverters. You should also make sure you use the correct solar inverter when replacing the solar inverter. Summarising everything, the input voltage from the solar panel shouldn’t exceed the recommended input DC voltage.
Avoid Direct Outputs
Inverters’ AC outputs can be directly connected to the electric panel for parallel operation. Operation on different power sources could result in AC power being fed back to the unit, causing damage to the output section. Inverter ac outputs should not be directly connected to electrical breakers, thus preventing electrical problems.
Replace the Parts
All electrical components have an estimated lifespan, including solar inverter components. So, you’ll need to replace them when they reach the end of their lifespan or if they break down.
What’s important is that you order the right replacement parts, preferably from the manufacturer. Furthermore, make sure you remove faulty parts correctly so that you do not cause further damage.
The purpose of an inverter is to convert direct current to alternating current, which is used for operating any device such as refrigerator, lights, fans, ACs, etc. However, they are prone to blown fuses, electrical shocks, and corrosion. If you are using a solar inverter to power the, make sure your system is installed correctly. If it is not done in the right manner, it may cause various issues and also safety hazards.
Apart from that, after installing the solar inverter, maintaining it is your full-time job. Make sure to check for issues every few months so that bigger problems might be avoided. The maintenance tips mentioned above will help your system last for a long time.