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How long do rooftop residential solar panels last. Rooftop solar array

How long do rooftop residential solar panels last. Rooftop solar array

    Solar Cheat Sheet: Your Complete Guide to Getting Solar Panels at Home

    Here’s where you can find the answer to all your solar panel questions, even those you didn’t know you had.

    Andrew Blok has been an editor at CNET covering HVAC and home energy, with a FOCUS on solar, since October 2021. As an environmental journalist, he navigates the changing energy landscape to help people make Smart energy decisions. He’s a graduate of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State and has written for several publications in the Great Lakes region, including Great Lakes Now and Environmental Health News, since 2019. You can find him in western Michigan watching birds.

    Stephen J. Bronner is a New York-based freelance writer, editor and reporter. Over his more than a decade in journalism, he has written about energy, local politics and schools, startup success tips, the packaged food industry, the science of work, personal finance and blockchain. His bylined work has appeared in Inverse, Kotaku, Entrepreneur, NextAdvisor and CNET, and op-eds written on behalf of his clients were published in Forbes, HR Dive, Fast Company, NASDAQ and MarketWatch. Stephen previously served as contributors editor and news editor for Entrepreneur.com, and was the VP, Content and Strategy, at Ditto PR. He enjoys video games and punk rock. See some of his work at stephenjbronner.com.

    Over the past few years, the stars (particularly that big one at the center of our solar system) have aligned to make residential solar panels increasingly appealing for meeting your home’s energy needs.

    The rising costs of energy across the US, along with falling for solar panels aided by federal tax incentives, have simply made the economics of solar power not only attainable but beneficial for homeowners in the long run.

    If you looked at solar just a few years ago, costs have continued to come down since then, said Ben Delman, communications director at Solar United Neighbors. It depends on your situation, but more and more homeowners and families are deciding that solar makes sense for them as a way to save money by taking control over where their electricity comes from.

    Can solar panels save you money?

    Interested in understanding the impact solar can have on your home? Enter some basic information below, and we’ll instantly provide a free estimate of your energy savings.

    Below, we’ve collected CNET’s expert advice to get you through the solar panel purchasing process.

    In this article

    • How do solar panels work?
    • Is there a solar panel option that works for me?
    • How much do solar panels cost?
    • How much money will solar panels save me?
    • Can I install solar panels myself?
    • Where should I shop for solar panels?
    • How do I maintain solar panels?
    • Does solar work where I live?
    • Do I need a backup battery?
    • Does solar increase the value of my home?
    • Are solar panels a scam?
    • What is net metering?
    • Should I go solar?

    How do solar panels work?

    Buying a solar panel system means buying a lot of equipment the average person doesn’t have reason to know about. In the most basic terms, photons from the sun are absorbed by the solar panels and converted into direct current, or DC, electricity. For this energy to be used in American homes, it has to go through an inverter attached to the solar array to become alternating current, or AC, electricity.

    Can solar panels save you money?

    Interested in understanding the impact solar can have on your home? Enter some basic information below, and we’ll instantly provide a free estimate of your energy savings.

    Read up on what you’ll actually be buying with the stories linked below:

    • The Most Efficient Solar Panels
    • Solar Energy Basics: The Magic of Photovoltaic Panels
    • How Sand Becomes Solar Panels
    • Here’s How Solar Panels Turn Light Into Power
    • The Solar Panel Angle That’ll Generate the Most Energy Possible
    • Solar Panel Efficiency: What Is It and Why Is It Important?
    • What You Need to Know About Solar Inverters: Essential Solar Equipment
    • Solar Cell, Module, Panel and Array: What’s the Difference?
    • Bifacial Solar Panels Generate Electricity, but Not When You Put Them Here
    • What’s a Virtual Power Plant? Should You Join One?
    • How Much Energy Does a Solar Panel Produce?

    Is there a solar panel option that works for me?

    Fortunately for the solar-curious, many options exist for homeowners and even renters to get some or most of their electricity needs met with energy from the sun.

    The most common way to go solar for homeowners is the installation of panels on their roofs. These systems can be purchased directly through an installer (or assembled for the DIYers) as a large cash purchase or through relatively affordable financing (such as a 1.99% APR 15-year loan). There are also options for rooftop solar for those who may not have the capital to get a project started. These are solar leases, where a homeowner pays a fixed monthly cost to a company who retains ownership of a solar system; or a power purchase agreement, in which a homeowner pays for the electricity generated by solar panels rather than the system itself.

    Finally, both homeowners and renters in many places have access to community solar. This option allows people to opt in to a nearby solar farm to enjoy some energy savings.

    How much do solar panels cost?

    The costs of solar panels will depend on a few factors, including where you live, how much of your energy needs you want the system to cover, whether you install it yourself and whether you want a battery (which could cost as much as the system itself). The average cost was about 3 per watt in 2022 for an 8 kW system through an installer, according to the consulting firm Wood Mackenzie.

    The way you pay for your system is vital. You’ll notice the biggest hit to your bank balance by paying for solar outright, while financing will spread the expense out over years but with added interest. A lease or PPA is most friendly to the budget-minded, but you won’t enjoy the long-term benefits that come with owning a system outright.

    How much money will solar panels save me?

    If you’re buying a system outright or financing it, you’ll receive a 30% tax credit through the Inflation Reduction Act.

    To get a better idea of when to expect a return on investment, look at how much energy you’ve consumed in the past year or two and how much it cost you. Then, working with an installer, figure out how much of your energy you’d like to offset with solar and how much the system will cost. Eventually, the savings from not having to buy electricity from your utility will be greater than the cost of the solar system itself.

    In terms of payback, broadly seven to 12 years is a decent average when you see returns from investment in solar after purchasing a system, Delman said.

    Can I install solar panels myself?

    It is possible to install most of a solar panel system yourself.- mounting the panels on your roof and connecting them to each other. But if your home is connected to a grid, you’ll need to hire a licensed electrician for the final connection needed to feed electricity to your utility.

    Another thing to keep in mind if you’re doing it yourself is whether the warranties for the panels that you purchase require them to be installed by a professional, Delman said. Often when people do it themselves, they’ll hire an electrician to do the finishing work so it can get certified. It’s also good if you’re not an expert to have somebody with expertise to just go over the wiring and make sure that everything is where it should be.

    Where should I shop for solar panels?

    If you want to buy panels directly, most hardware stores and larger retailers have them available. If you’d like to get them through a professional, a good place to start, according to Delman, is the website of your local solar industry association (for example, the New York Solar Energy Industries Association). These organizations should have a list of its members, which will often include installers and suppliers. Typically, installers work with one or two solar panel brands.

    Look for an installer who’s experienced, particularly with the kind of situation you have at your home, Delman said. Have they worked with the same roofing materials? Do you want a ground mount system installed? Check reviews on Yelp, Angie’s List, Google and others, and get references too. (Solar United Neighbors also offers resources for going solar, free of charge.)

    The best way to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your solar panels is to get multiple quotes and ask as many questions of your potential installers as you need. CNET has reviewed many of the national solar companies, but it’s a good idea to check into local installers, too, who sometimes can offer lower prices.

    How do I maintain solar panels?

    Solar panel maintenance is generally minimal and fairly easy. Even so, we’ve got the info you need to keep your panels in the best possible shape.

    Does solar work where I live?

    Solar panels, in general, will work in a variety of climates, even those with frigid winters. The more important questions to ask are: Does my roof get adequate sunlight? Are any trees shading my roof? And most importantly, does my utility offer net metering?

    Net metering is perhaps the most important aspect of going solar, in that it stipulates that your energy utility will pay you for the energy created by your solar panels that you don’t consume. Net metering ensures that the return on investment in going solar is financially sound.

    Does solar increase the value of my home?

    Going solar has another benefit for homeowners: it can boost the price of their properties if and when they decide to sell. According to studies by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and Zillow, homes with solar panels often sell for about 10,000 more compared to those that don’t.

    Are solar panels a scam?

    No. Solar panels are a proven technology that can help you shift some of your energy use to cheaper, greener electricity. But that doesn’t mean that scammy companies (while apparently rare) don’t exist. The company discussed in the story linked below recently went out of business, but a bit of caution is a good thing.

    What is net metering?

    Net metering.- the process by which you’re paid for electricity generated by your solar panels but sent back to the grid.- is a critical factor in whether homeowners should go solar.

    Let’s say during a beautiful sunny day, you’re at work, the lights, TV and dishwasher are off, so you’re probably generating more electricity from your system than you’re consuming, Delman said. When that happens, that electricity goes to the electric grid through your electric meter to be used by your neighbors. Net metering is what ensures you receive credit for that electricity so that your investment is still being paid back even if you’re not using the electricity yourself.

    You can see what your state’s policy toward net metering is here.

    Should I go solar?

    Solar won’t be an option for everyone. If your home does not receive adequate sunlight due to shading on your roof, you live in a state without net metering or there’s no community solar, going solar may not be viable for you.

    But with rising energy costs and the falling price of solar panels, for many people there’s never been a better time to go solar. There’s options to go solar that should fit most people’s needs, whether that’s through financing, a solar lease, PPA or community solar, that will allow them to start seeing savings on their energy bills almost immediately. By most estimates, a solar system starts paying for itself after between seven and 12 years.

    Powering your home with solar not only allows you to get your electricity from a clean source, but provides an unmatched return on investment that will save you money on your energy bills and boost the value of your home.

    How long do rooftop residential solar panels last?

    Multiple factors affect the productive lifespan of a residential solar panel. In the first part of this series, we look at the solar panels themselves.

    Image: Dennis Schroeder

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    Residential solar panels are often sold with long-term loans or leases, with homeowners entering contracts of 20 years or more. But how long do panels last, and how resilient are they?

    Panel life depends on several factors, including climate, module type, and the racking system. While there isn’t a specific “end date” for a panel per se, loss of production over time often forces equipment retirements.

    When deciding whether to keep your panel running 20 to 30 years in the future, or to look for an upgrade at that time, monitoring output levels is the best way to make an informed decision. The loss of output over time, called degradation, typically lands at about 0.5% each year, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

    Manufacturers typically consider 25 to 30 years a point at which enough degradation has occurred where it may be time to consider replacing a panel. The industry standard for manufacturing warranties is 25 years on a solar module, said NREL.

    Given the 0.5% benchmark annual degradation rate, a 20-year-old panel is capable of producing about 90% of its original capability.

    Panel quality can make some impact on degradation rates. NREL reports premium manufacturers like Panasonic and LG have rates of about 0.3% per year, while some brands degrade at rates as high as 0.80%. After 25 years, these premium panels could still produce 93% of their original output, and the higher-degradation example could produce 82.5%.

    A sizeable portion of degradation is attributed to a phenomenon called potential induced degradation (PID), an issue experienced by some, but not all, panels. PID occurs when the panel’s voltage potential and leakage current drive ion mobility within the module between the semiconductor material and other elements of the module, like the glass, mount, or frame. This causes the module’s power output capacity to decline, in some cases significantly.

    Some manufacturers build their panels with PID-resistant materials in their glass, encapsulation, and diffusion barriers.

    All panels also suffer something called light induced degradation (LID), in which panels lose efficiency within the first hours of being exposed to the sun. LID varies from panel to panel based on the quality of the crystalline silicon wafers, but usually results in a one-time, 1-3% loss in efficiency, said testing laboratory PVEL, PV Evolution Labs.

    Weathering conditions

    Exposure to weather conditions is the main driver in panel degradation. Heat is a key factor in both real-time panel performance and degradation over time. Ambient heat negatively affects the performance and efficiency of electrical components, said NREL.

    By checking the manufacturer’s data sheet, a panel’s temperature coefficient can be found, which will demonstrate the panel’s ability to perform in higher temperatures.

    The coefficient explains how much real-time efficiency is lost by each degree of Celsius increased above the standard temperature of 25 C. For example, a temperature coefficient of.0.353% means that for every degree Celsius above 25, 0.353% of total production capability is lost.

    Heat exchange drives panel degradation through a process called thermal cycling. When it is warm, materials expand, and when the temperature lowers, they contract. This movement slowly causes microcracks to form in the panel over time, lowering output.

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    In its annual Module Score Card study, PVEL analyzed 36 operational solar projects in India, and found significant impacts from heat degradation. The average annual degradation of the projects landed at 1.47%, but arrays located in colder, mountainous regions degraded at nearly half that rate, at 0.7%.

    Proper installation can help deal with heat related issues. Panels should be installed a few inches above the roof, so that convective air can flow beneath and cool the equipment. Light-colored materials can be used in panel construction to limit heat absorption. And components like inverters and combiners, whose performance is particularly sensitive to heat, should be located in shaded areas, suggested CED Greentech.

    Wind is another weather condition that can cause some harm to solar panels. Strong wind can cause flexing of the panels, called dynamic mechanical load. This also causes microcracks in the panels, lowering output. Some racking solutions are optimized for high-wind areas, protecting the panels from strong uplift forces and limiting microcracking. Typically, the manufacturer’s datasheet will provide information on the max winds the panel is able to withstand.

    The same goes for snow, which can cover panels during heavier storms, limiting output. Snow can also cause a dynamic mechanical load, degrading the panels. Typically, snow will slide off of panels, as they are slick and run warm, but in some cases a homeowner may decide to clear the snow off the panels. This must be done carefully, as scratching the glass surface of the panel would make a negative impact on output.

    Degradation is a normal, unavoidable part of a panel’s life. Proper installation, careful snow clearing, and careful panel cleaning can help with output, but ultimately, a solar panel is a technology with no moving parts, requiring very little maintenance.

    To ensure a given panel is likely to live a long life and operate as planned, it must undergo standards testing for certification. Panels are subject to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) testing, which apply to both mono- and polycrystalline panels.

    EnergySage said panels that achieve IEC 61215 standard are tested for electrical characteristics like wet leakage currents, and insulation resistance. They under go a mechanical load test for both wind and snow, and climate tests that check for weaknesses to hot spots, UV exposure, humidity-freeze, damp heat, hail impact, and other outdoor exposure.

    IEC 61215 also determines a panel’s performance metrics at standard test conditions, including temperature coefficient, open-circuit voltage, and maximum power output.

    Also commonly seen on a panel spec sheet is the seal of Underwriters Laboratories (UL), which also provides standards and testing. UL runs climactic and aging tests, as well as the full gamut of safety tests.

    Failure factors

    Solar panel failure happens at a low rate. NREL conducted a study of over 50,000 systems installed in the United States and 4,500 globally between the years of 2000 and 2015. The study found a median failure rate of 5 panels out of 10,000 annually.

    Panel failure has improved markedly over time, as it was found that system installed between 1980 and 2000 demonstrated a failure rate double the post-2000 group.

    System downtime is rarely attributed to panel failure. In fact, a study by kWh Analytics found that 80% of all solar plant downtime is a result of failing inverters, the device that converts the panel’s DC current to usable AC. pv magazine will analyze inverter performance in the next edition of this series.

    This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: editors@pv-magazine.com.

    Ryan Kennedy

    Ryan joined pv magazine in 2021, bringing experience from a top residential solar installer, and a U. S.

    long, rooftop, residential, solar, panels

    How Solar Panels are Attached to Your Roof

    Roofs have an important job. They keep warmth in and keep everything else out. However, they can’t do much else. and unless you have a swanky rooftop restaurant, your roof probably isn’t making you any money.

    But for many, there’s a pretty easy way to put your roof to work and have it save you money. a rooftop solar system. By producing free and clean electricity for decades, solar energy can be a worthwhile investment.

    But how do PV panels attach to roofs, and does it matter what kind of roof you have? Will they cause any damage? What happens if you need a new roof after the solar panels are installed? We’ll answer all those questions and more so you can decide if a rooftop solar system is right for you.

    What We’ll Talk About:

    Solar Panel Attachments for Different Roof Types

    The solar industry came up with solutions for installing solar panels on nearly all roof materials. Be it the typical asphalt shingles that cover many of the homes in America, or sturdy commercial-grade metal roofs, there’s likely a tried and true way to securely mount the panels.

    Asphalt Shingle Roofs

    Solar panels have been mounted to thousands of homes across America using a lag bolt and flashing. The bolt is attached to the rafters of the roof, tightly securing the solar panels and the racking system.

    To ensure there is no possibility of leaking, a piece of flashing is placed underneath the shingle.

    Standing Seam Metal Roofs

    Standing seam metal roofs are great for installing solar. Not only are they incredibly long-lasting and durable, but there’s no need to make any penetrations in the roof when installing the roof mounts.

    How’s it done? A U-clamp is attached to the raised seam, and the solar panel racking is then attached securely to the clamp.

    Corrugated Metal Roofs

    Have a metal roof that isn’t standing seam? There’s an effective way to install solar on that, too.

    Solar panels and their racking are attached to corrugated metal roofs with a bracket designed specifically for that roofing type. The bracket fits over the rib and is held into place by the same galvanized screws that your roofing company used to install the roof.

    Flat Roofs and Rubber Roofs

    Whether EPDM rubber, TPO, or another material, solar panels can also be installed on your flat roofs. without any penetrations. These are called ballast mounts. The solar panels and their racking are held in place on the roof from the weight of cinder blocks.

    An added benefit of a ballast mount system is that the panels themselves can be oriented and tilted to maximize production, which isn’t possible with other mounting types that are dependent on the angle of the roof they’re being installed on.

    Are Solar Shingles Worth It?

    As manufacturers get closer and closer to making solar shingles widely available, there’s been more and more buzz around the topic.

    One thing is for certain, solar shingles really look great and can even be indistinguishable from regular roof tiles. However, they are much less cost-effective than solar panels.

    According to SolarReviews.com, it would cost 66,000 to 78,000 to install solar shingles on an average 3,000-square-foot roof. In comparison, you could typically install a 20-30 kW system in that price range.

    While solar owners in some states may pay high enough rates and use enough electricity to allow the solar roof to eventually pay for itself, it cannot, for now, compete with the cost savings that come with solar panels.

    If you’re looking for ways to keep your home or business’s curb appeal while installing solar panels, check out our blog: “ How to Design an Attractive Solar System.”

    Can Your Roof Support the Additional Weight from Solar Panels?

    Solar panels aren’t exactly big heavy bricks, but they do weigh something. around 2.5 to 2.7 pounds per square feet. Before installing your system, it’s a good idea to make sure your roof can support the added weight. In the vast majority of cases. let’s say about 95%. solar panels can be installed on roofs that don’t need any additional support.

    However, to ensure solar panels aren’t installed on any of the 5% of roofs that can’t support the weight, a third-party structural engineer will evaluate the roof and give their stamp of approval. If needed, additional support can be added.

    Can Solar Panels Damage Your Roof?

    Most people are wary of holes in their roofs. and that’s fair. With the exception of standing seam metal roofs and flat roofs, penetrations in the roof are required to properly mount the solar panels.

    However, a properly installed solar system should not cause any leakage, even if penetrations are needed. The industry has been installing rooftop solar for a few decades, and proper measures have been developed to minimize the risk of any water damage happening because they had solar panels installed.

    There’s even an added benefit. your solar panels can actually protect your roof.

    Solar panels act as a shield to the common and unavoidable wear and tear. They’re durable and built to withstand much of what Mother Nature throws their way, keeping your roof dry and clean underneath.

    The important thing to note is to work with a reputable solar installer. This will ensure you’re backed by their warranties, and they’ll work to maintain the warranty of your roof.

    What Happens If You Need a New Roof?

    If you need to replace your roof after you have solar panels installed, you will need to remove and reinstall the solar panels.

    Your solar installer should take a look at your roof before beginning the project to ensure it’s in good shape. If you need a new roof, you’ll want to get that out of the way before installing the solar panels.

    While a new roof is never something we get excited about buying, your future self will thank you. If you need a new roof or repairs to the roof that need to be made, your solar panels will have to be removed and reinstalled. This should cost less than the actual installation itself but is best to be avoided if possible.

    Will Your Panels Be Secure in Severe Weather?

    Yes, your solar panels will be secure in most severe weather. Solar systems will be designed and installed to withstand winds based on your local code wind loading requirements. Most systems are designed to take winds of 90-120 mph.

    Your solar system will have to be installed according to local building codes, which are based on your local weather patterns. These codes will dictate a specific speed of wind that solar systems need to be able to withstand

    Partnering with a reputable, well-experienced solar installation company will ensure you get a quality system that’s backed for years and even decades. You’ll be sure to get a solar system that works properly and safely and generates free electricity for 30 years.

    How to Install Solar Panels on a Home Roof and Connect Them

    Solar energy is quickly establishing itself as the quintessential modern way to generate power. It’s green, renewable, and can reduce (or even eliminate) your monthly electric bills.

    long, rooftop, residential, solar, panels

    There are numerous advantages and benefits to installing your own set of solar panels on your roof rather than paying for professional installation.

    But how do you go about doing it?

    Well, you’re in the right place.

    In this guide, we’re going to take you through all the benefits of installing solar panels on your roof and how you can DIY it all by yourself!

    Why You Should Install Solar Panels on the Roof

    There are numerous pros to installing your own solar panels. To make them easier to digest, we’ve broken down the key points below for you to review.

    Solar Panels Are a Renewable Source of Green Energy

    Over the past two decades, the damage caused by climate change has become clearer and clearer. Life on our planet is in danger, and we all feel the pressure to change our habits and live greener.

    Generating your own clean, renewable energy from the sun is an excellent way to do this, and that’s exactly what solar panels provide you with!

    If you’re looking for a greener way to live, solar is a fantastic place to start.

    Solar Panels Can Help You Save Money

    Living greener isn’t just about saving the planet. You can also keep more green in your wallet.

    Generating your own energy means less (or zero) reliance on the grid. You can reduce your electricity bills or eliminate them altogether. The initial investment can be significant, but over time you will certainly start to see the financial benefits.

    With the world’s fossil fuel supply diminishing and an unpredictable geopolitical situation — not to mention the natural disasters exacerbated by climate change — the price of on-grid electricity is likely to keep climbing.

    At the same time, an aging energy infrastructure has made the grid less reliable than ever.

    With the rapidly declining and improving technology of solar power, there’s never been a better time to take the plunge.

    Solar Panels Are Easy to Install

    Installing your own solar panels on your roof might seem like a massive undertaking, but it really isn’t.

    You may be entirely capable of doing it yourself!

    long, rooftop, residential, solar, panels

    We’ll walk you through a DIY solar installation step-by-step a little further down. Home renovations don’t have to be stressful or excessive, and solar panel installation is neither.

    Solar Panels Are Low Maintenance

    Not only are solar panels easy to install, but they also require next to no maintenance. Once the panels are set up on your roof, you can essentially just forget about them. Solar power systems require no refueling and — if purchased from a reliable manufacturer — are highly durable. The Rigid Solar Panel from EcoFlow features an IP68 weather resistance certification, making it totally waterproof! These panels are designed to last with minimal intervention. You may need to clean them once or twice a year, but the rain will generally take care of that.

    What to Consider Before Installing Solar Panels on Your Roof

    Now that you know why solar panels are such a good idea, we’re sure you’re eager to purchase your own.

    Don’t rush to the stores (or your laptop) just yet — there are some key considerations to make first.

    You don’t want to invest in technology that doesn’t meet your electricity generation needs or install the incorrect equipment.

    Consider the following factors carefully before jumping into solar.

    Your Location

    Location isn’t just about the amount of sunshine you receive on a daily basis. Peak sun hours have an impact, but solar panels can pick up energy even in low-light situations. You don’t need to live in a desert for your solar panel to generate adequate power.

    However, if your roof is positioned under heavy shade, you won’t reap the same benefits as a solar panel that receives direct sunlight.

    Do some research on how much sunlight your location receives on average and consider factors like shade. It pays to know how worthwhile your investment will end up being before committing.

    How Much Energy Does Your Home Use?

    Numerous factors affect how much energy your home consumes. The number of people in your house, how many devices you have running concurrently, and your home’s size all contribute. Make sure you review how much electricity your home consumes, with specific reference to the wattage of essential devices and appliances, before purchasing solar panels and a solar power system.

    Doing the math will give you a clearer insight into how beneficial the switch to solar will be for you!

    The Condition of Your Roof

    Solar panels do not typically damage your roof, but they do exert additional weight on the existing structure. This is because they are usually mounted via panel hooks or similar devices.

    If your roof hasn’t been inspected in a few years or has shown signs of degradation (rot, woodworm, rust, etc), it might not be the best time to invest in roof-mounted solar panels.

    The last thing you want is to splash out on a set of solar panels only to find your roof can’t support them.

    Besides, portable solar panels are also a more than viable option. You can set them up in your backyard — and take them anywhere.

    The Brand You Purchase From

    Last but perhaps most importantly, you need to consider which manufacturer to purchase your solar panels and the solar power system that converts and stores electricity from.

    Not all brands (or solar panels) are created equal — and reputation matters!

    You should always read up on the brand you’re investing in before proceeding through checkout. You might think you’ve found a bargain, but if you’re purchasing subpar technology, it will likely need to be replaced much sooner than you’d like.

    How to Install and Connect Solar Panels on a Roof – Step by Step

    Now let’s get into the nitty gritty: installation!

    When it comes to installation, rigid solar panels are somewhat similar between brands. But there are some unique differences.

    This step-by-step guide is a generalized approach, but it should still apply to your installation.

    It isn’t as complicated as you may think, so let’s get into it already.

    Attach the Solar Panel Mounts

    Once you are safely up on your roof, the first thing you will need to do is secure your solar panel mounts. Mounts are what your panels will attach to and ‘hang’ from, so you must ensure they are completely stable.

    Also, consider how you’re going to maximize sunlight exposure throughout the day. Attach your mounts to the side that receives the most daylight at an 18-36 degree angle.

    Secure the Solar Panels in Place

    Once your mounts are securely in place, it’s time to place the panels themselves.

    EcoFlow offers both rigid and flexible solar panels to suit your rooftop installation needs. No matter how sloped or unusual your roof may be, you should have minimal difficulty fitting them in place.

    Just make sure all of the nuts and bolts are tightly fastened, securing the panel to the mount. This will help ensure that they stay precisely where you put them, no matter the weather.

    Wire the Solar Panels to the Inverter or Portable Power Station

    Next is the wiring. This may be the part you find most daunting, but it’s actually a relatively simple process. In most cases, MC4 cable connectors are used because they are compatible with all kinds of solar panels. You should only attempt this when the household electrical supply is entirely shut down, or you run the risk of electrifying yourself rather than your panels.

    Install the Solar Inverter or Use a Portable Power Station

    The inverter converts the sunlight your panels absorb into electrical energy you can use and store. EcoFlow’s portable power stations and solar generators have the inverter built in, as well as everything else you need for a true plug-and-play solar power system.

    Your inverter should usually be installed near your main electrical panel, ideally in a cool location.

    If you choose to install the solar inverter outdoors, make sure it’s out of the direct sun.

    Connect the Inverter to the Consumer Unit

    Finally, you need to connect the inverter to the consumer unit (fuse board). You will also need to connect solar batteries to your consumer unit to store the electricity you generate.

    This step is unnecessary with EcoFlow Portable Power Stations and Solar Generators, which are both all-in-one solar power system solutions.

    A generation meter alongside can tell you how much energy your solar panels are generating.

    With many of EcoFlow’s products, you can access this information and much more using the EcoFlow app on your smartphone.

    Congrats, you’ve completed your very first installation!

    NOTE: Your solar panels should always arrive with a specific installation manual for your system. Our guide is a catch-all for numerous solar panels, so make sure to refer to it as a high-level guide alongside your product manual.

    Do I Need Permission to Install Solar Panels on My Roof?

    In most cases, no, you do not need to apply for planning permission to install solar panels on your roof. Typically, it’s considered permitted development and shouldn’t affect neighbors in any meaningful way.

    After all, you aren’t expanding your property. You’re just adding to what’s already there.

    However, some exemptions to this may apply depending on your location and local regulations. Particularly if the following criteria are breached:

    long, rooftop, residential, solar, panels
    • The panels rise higher than 8 inches (200mm) from the roof
    • Your home is a listed or landmark building
    • You live close to a listed or landmark building

    Check your local and national guidelines for specific information relating to your home, but for the most part, you should be good to go!

    If you are denied planning permission for a rooftop solar installation for whatever reason, don’t worry, it isn’t the end of your solar journey. EcoFlow offers a range of portable solar panels that can be used with portable power stations (such as the DELTA Pro) to generate power no matter where you are — and you don’t have to ask anyone’s permission!

    Conclusion

    Installing solar panels on your roof can seem like a huge undertaking, but it can prove highly worthwhile.

    Not only do you get energy independence, but you also do your part for the environment and save money on utility bills in the long run.

    Consider purchasing your own solar panels today and see for yourself why so many people and businesses are turning to solar power.

    EcoFlow is a portable power and renewable energy solutions company. Since its founding in 2017, EcoFlow has provided peace-of-mind power to customers in over 85 markets through its DELTA and RIVER product lines of portable power stations and eco-friendly accessories.

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