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A Full Guide to Solar Panel Placement and Installation

Man standing on solar panel and inserting a new solar panel in Orlando

Solar panels are an increasingly popular way to generate renewable energy at home. They offer a clean and sustainable source of power and can save you money on your energy bills in the long run.

 

However, solar panels need to be placed and installed correctly in order to work properly. In this guide, we'll go over everything you need to know about solar panel placement and installation.

How Solar Panels Are Placed

Solar contractor cleaning a solar panel in Orlando

First, let's talk about where solar panels should be placed. Ideally, they should be installed in a location that gets direct sunlight for most of the day. This means that south-facing roofs are often the best option. However, east- or west-facing roofs can also work well.

 

If you're not sure whether your roof is a good candidate for solar panels, you can have a solar site assessment done. This will help you determine the best location for your panels.

 

In some cases, it may not be possible to install solar panels on your roof. If this is the case, you can also install them on the ground. However, ground-mounted systems can be more expensive and require more maintenance than roof-mounted ones.

Solar Panel Orientation

There are two things you need to keep in mind when it comes to solar panel orientation: direction and angle. The direction of the solar panel should be facing the equator (due south in the Northern Hemisphere and due north in the Southern Hemisphere).

 

As for the angle, you'll want to make sure that the panels are tilted at an angle that's appropriate for your latitude. This ensures that they're getting direct sunlight throughout the day.

Best Direction for Solar Panels

Commercial solar panels on top of a commercial building

If you are wondering what is the best direction for solar panels, the answer is due south if you are in the Northern Hemisphere and due north if you are in the Southern Hemisphere. This will ensure that your panels are getting direct sunlight throughout the day.

Why consider facing your solar panel to the west?

Solar panels that are west-facing will still produce electricity, but not as much as if they were facing due south. The main reason to consider a west-facing panel is if your home doesn't have a south-facing roof or if there are trees that shade the south side of your house.

Can solar panels work with east or west-facing roof?

Solar panels can be installed on an east- or west-facing roof, but they will not be as effective as if they were installed on a south-facing roof. This is because the sun is in the southern sky for most of the day in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, the sun is in the northern sky for most of the day.

Latitude and Solar Panel Angle

Solar panels on the ground, with windmills standing behind in the distance.

The angle of your solar panel is important in order to maximize the amount of electricity that it produces. The angle should be equal to your latitude.

Why is the angle important?

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The reason the angle is important has to do with the way the sunlight hits the Earth. The sun is highest in the sky during the summer months. This means that more direct sunlight hits locations closer to the equator. If your solar panels are angled correctly, they will receive direct sunlight throughout the day, no matter what time of year it is.

Types of Solar Panels

Solar electric panels installed on the garden floor

There are different types of solar panels you can choose from. Such types are:

 

1.) Monocrystalline panels: These are made from a single large crystal of silicon. They're the most efficient type of solar panel, but they're also the most expensive.

 

2.) Polycrystalline panels: These are made from multiple small crystals of silicon. They're less efficient than monocrystalline panels, but they're also less expensive.

 

3.) Thin-film panels: These are made from a thin layer of photovoltaic material that's deposited onto a substrate. They're the least efficient type of solar panel, but they're also the least expensive.

 

Each of these types is suited for different purposes. It is best that you consult with a professional to determine which type is best for your needs.

Things to Do Before Installing Solar Panels in Orlando

Before we head on to how to install solar panels, preparation is a must. This is to make sure that the installation process will go smoothly and without any problems. Here are some things you need to do:

 

1.) Check your local building codes: This is to make sure that you're allowed to install solar panels on your property.

 

2.) Get a professional assessment: A professional can assess your property and determine if it's suitable for solar panels. They can also help you choose the best location for the panels.

 

3.) Choose the right type of panel: As we mentioned earlier, there are different types of solar panels available. You need to choose the right type for your needs.

 

4.) Get the necessary permits: Once you've chosen the location for your panels, you'll need to get the necessary permits from your local government.

How Solar Panels Are Installed

Man in orange overall putting a solar panel in place as part of an Orlando installation

Now that you know where solar panels should be placed, let's talk about how they're installed. Solar panel installation typically involves four steps:

 

1.) Mounting the rails

Rails are mounted to the roof or ground using brackets. The rails provide a support structure for the solar panels.

There are different types of solar panel mounts, which are:

 

  • Flush mounts: These are the most popular type of solar panel mounts. They sit flush with the roof, making them less visible. They're also more aerodynamic, which can help reduce wind resistance and damage in high winds.

 

  • Tile mounts: Tile mounts are designed to blend in with shingle roofs. They're mounted on top of the tiles and secured with hooks or adhesive strips.

 

  • Slate mounts: Slate mounts are similar to tile mounts, but they're designed for slate roofs. They attach to the nails that hold the slates in place.

 

2.) Installing the panels

The solar panels are then attached to the rails.

 

3.) Connecting the electrical components

Wiring is run from the solar panels to an inverter, which converts the DC power generated by the panels into AC power that can be used by your home.

 

4.) Monitoring and maintenance

Solar panels need to be regularly cleaned and monitored to ensure they're working properly.

Solar Panel Placement: Guidelines

3 men standing on a roof installing a solar electric panel in Orlando

Now that we've gone over the basics of solar panel placement, let's get into some specific guidelines. Here are a few things to keep in mind when placing your solar panels:

 

1.) The angle of the sun

Solar panels should be placed at an angle that's equal to your latitude. This ensures that they receive direct sunlight throughout the day, no matter what time of year it is.

 

2.) The direction of the sun

Solar panels should be placed facing south if you're in the Northern Hemisphere or north if you're in the Southern Hemisphere. This helps maximize the amount of sunlight they receive.

 

3.) The amount of shade

Solar panels should be placed in an area that receives full sun exposure. This means that they shouldn't be placed in an area that's shaded by trees, buildings, or other objects.

 

4.) The type of roof

Solar panels can be placed on either a pitched or flat roof. However, they'll work better on a pitched roof since it allows for better air circulation and prevents the accumulation of dust and debris.

 

5.) The type of system

Solar panels can be used with either a grid-tied or off-grid system. If you're using a grid-tied system, then the solar panels will need to be connected to the electrical grid. If you're using an off-grid system, then the solar panels will need to be connected to a battery.

 

These are just a few general guidelines to keep in mind when placing your solar panels. However, it's always best to consult with a professional to ensure that they're placed in the best possible location.

Cost of Solar Panel Placement

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The cost of solar panel placement will depend on a number of factors, including the type of system you choose, the size of your home, and the location of your property.

Let's dive into more on each of the factors:

 

  • Type of solar panel.

The type will highly affect the entire cost. For instance, monocrystalline panels are more expensive than polycrystalline panels.

 

  • Home size.

The average home is around 1,500 square feet. But, of course, there are homes that are larger or smaller. Solar panel systems are priced by kilowatt (kW), and the average home needs a 6-kW system. So, if you have a smaller home, you won't need as many solar panels as someone with a larger home.

 

  • Location of property.

If your property is located in an area with good sun exposure, then you won't need as many solar panels to generate the same amount of electricity as someone who has a property in an area with less sun exposure. This is because solar panels rely on sunlight to generate electricity.

 

Solar panel placement is an important consideration when it comes to solar power. The placement of your panels can have a significant impact on the amount of electricity that they generate. following these tips will help you ensure that your panels are placed in the best possible location.

Hiring a Professional Solar Panel Installer

Installing solar panels is heavy work and it’s not recommended that you try to do it yourself, even if you’re handy. It’s always best to hire a professional solar panel installer to ensure that the job is done correctly.

Factors to Consider When Hiring a Solar Panel Installer

Professional assistance is highly necessary in solar panel installation. This is a job that requires heavy lifting, precision, and safety gear. With that being said, here are some factors you should consider when hiring a solar panel installer:

 

1.) Certification and Training

The solar panel installer you hire should be certified and trained in solar panel installation. They should also have experience installing the type of system you're planning on using.

 

2.) Insurance

The installer should be insured in case of any accidents or damages that occur during the installation process.

 

3.) Warranty

The installer should offer a warranty on their workmanship. This will protect you in case anything goes wrong with the installation after they leave.

 

4.) References

It's always a good idea to ask for references from the installer. This will allow you to get an idea of their workmanship and customer service.

 

5.) Cost

Of course, you'll also want to consider the cost of the installation when hiring a solar panel installer. Make sure to get a few quotes before making your final decision.

 

Hiring a professional solar panel installer is the best way to ensure that your panels are installed correctly and safely. Keep these factors in mind when choosing an installer to ensure that you hire the best possible person for the job.

Solar Panel Maintenance in Orlando

Solar panels need to be regularly cleaned and monitored to ensure they're working properly.

 

  • Cleaning Solar Panels

Solar panels should be cleaned at least once a year to remove any dirt, dust, or debris that may have accumulated on them. You can clean them yourself with a hose and a brush or you can hire a professional cleaner.

 

  • Monitoring Solar Panels

It's important to monitor your solar panels on a regular basis to make sure that they're generating the amount of electricity that they're supposed to. You can do this yourself or you can hire a professional to do it for you.

 

Solar panel maintenance is important to keep your panels working properly. Regular cleaning and monitoring will ensure that your panels are generating the most electricity possible.

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Common FAQS on Solar Panel Installation

Whether you are new or old to solar panel installation, there is always a chance that you may have some questions. To help, here are answers to some of the most common FAQs on solar panel installation:

 

  • How much do solar panels cost?

The cost of solar panels has come down significantly in recent years. The average cost of a single panel is now around $200.

 

  • How many solar panels do I need?

The number of solar panels you need will depend on the size and location of your home as well as how much electricity you want to generate.

 

  • What are the benefits of solar power?

Solar power has a number of benefits, including reducing your carbon footprint and saving you money on your electricity bill.

 

  • Are solar panels worth it?

Solar panels are definitely worth it if you are looking to save money on your electricity bill or reduce your carbon footprint.

 

  • How long do solar panels last?

Solar panels typically last for 20-25 years.

 

  • Do I need a permit to install solar panels?

You may need a permit to install solar panels, depending on where you live and the size of the system you're planning on installing.

 

  • What is the best time of year to install solar panels?

The best time of year to install solar panels is in the spring or fall when the weather is milder.

 

  • How do I choose a solar panel installer?

When choosing a solar panel installer, it's important to consider their experience, insurance, warranty, and cost.

 

  • How do I maintain my solar panels?

Solar panels should be cleaned at least once a year and monitored on a regular basis to make sure they're working properly.

 

  • Do solar panels work in cold weather?

Solar panels still work in cold weather, but they are not as efficient in generating electricity as they are in warmer weather.

 

  • What is the best direction for my solar panels?

The best direction for solar panels is south-facing with no shading.

 

  • How do I know if my roof can support solar panels?

Your roof should be able to support the weight of the solar panels as well as any additional equipment that may be necessary for the installation.

 

  • Are there any rebates or incentives available for solar panel installation?

There are a number of rebates and incentives available for solar panel installation, depending on where you live.

 

  • Can I install solar panels myself?

If you have the right experience and skills, you can install solar panels yourself. However, it is recommended that you hire a professional for the job.

 

  • Should you cover the solar panels while installing?

It is not necessary to cover the solar panels while installing them.

 

  • What are the building codes for solar panel installation?

The building codes for solar panel installation vary from place to place. It's important to check with your local code officials before starting any work.

 

  • Are there any special requirements for solar panel installation in my area?

There may be special requirements for solar panel installation in your area, depending on where you live. It's important to check with your local code officials before starting any work.

 

  • Why is my solar not feeding the grid?

There are a number of reasons why your solar panels may not be feeding the grid. It could be due to a problem with the inverter, the disconnect switch, or the utility company itself.

 

  • What is the difference between on-grid and off-grid solar?

On-grid solar means that your system is connected to the power grid and you can sell any excess electricity back to the utility company. Off-grid solar means that your system is not connected to the power grid and you'll need to store any excess electricity in batteries.

 

  • Do I need batteries with my solar system?

You only need batteries with your solar system if you're going off-grid. Batteries can help store excess electricity for times when the sun isn't shining.

 

  • What are microinverters and power optimizers?

Microinverters and power optimizers are devices that help maximize the electricity output of your solar panels.

 

  • How do I know if my home is suitable for solar?

The best way to know if your home is suitable for solar is to have a professional assessment done. They will be able to tell you if your roof is big enough, if there is enough sunlight, and if there are any shading issues.

Conclusion

Solar panel installation is a great way to save money on your electricity bill or reduce your carbon footprint. The process is relatively simple and there are a number of rebates and incentives available to help offset the cost.

 

Solar panels typically last for 20-25 years, so they provide a long-term investment. If you're considering solar panel installation, be sure to do your research and hire a reputable professional for the job.

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