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What Are the Best Tips for Installing DIY Solar Kits?

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  • Written By: Jeremy Laukkonen
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 04 September 2016
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Do-it-yourself (DIY) solar kits are often a cost effective and easy way to harness solar energy, but there are a number of tips to keep in mind when working on this type of project. The first tip when working with DIY solar arrays is to select a kit that will provide sufficient electricity for the intended purpose, and to obtain enough batteries to provide backup power when the sun is not shining. Another tip for installing DIY solar kits is to select a location that receives a lot of sun, since the amount of power the panels can generate is directly related to the level of sun exposure. If the roof of a structure is shaded out, then it can be a good idea to look for a sunny location elsewhere on the property. It can also be a good idea to check with the local power company when installing DIY solar kits, since it is sometimes possible to tie a solar array back into the power grid.

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At the start of any DIY solar panel project, before any kits are purchased, it is a good idea to assess the power needs that the finished array will need to meet. If the solar panels are only going to supplement another source of electricity, this step may not be as big of a concern. It is very important to take the electricity needs into account if the solar panels will be the primary source of power though. Solar panels are more efficient in some geographic locations than others, so it is important to consider the weather conditions when calculating how many panels are needed.

In order to maximize the output of DIY solar kits, it is also a good idea to take the location of the array into account. Roofs are often a good place to install solar arrays, but they are not always the best location. If the roof of a building is shaded out by trees or surrounding structures for a long time each day, it is a good idea to look for sunnier locations elsewhere on the property. A remote platform in a sunny area is typically a better installation location than a shady roof, and it is often possible to run an underground conduit back to the building.

Another idea to consider when installing DIY solar kits is that some power companies allow these arrays to be tied into the grid. That essentially means that any power generated by the array, but not used onsite, is sent back into the power grid. When that occurs, the power meter can actually turn backward. DIY solar kits do not always come with the necessary electronics to complete this type of installation, and power companies typically have regulations about the specific type of equipment that must be used. Consequently, these requirements should be done before investing in a particular kit to ensure that it is compatible.

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