Solar Panel Wiring

You’ve decided to make the leap to solar power. It’s a major step towards lowering your energy bills – and possibly eliminating your electrical utility costs completely. Owning your own solar energy system typically brings a return on your investment within 10-12 years. After you’ve reached that point, every bit of energy your home or business will use – is totally free! Your property will join the proud group of landowners that contribute zero greenhouse gas emissions into the environment, while helping our nation to reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuel sources.

Solar Panel Wiring

When thinking about your solar panel installation, it’s a good time to upgrade your electrical panel and have your entire electrical system evaluated. It’s important to have a master electrician and licensed electrical contractor involved in the solar panel installation process so that all aspects of the installation are performed correctly and in accordance with local law.

What are the steps of a solar panel installation project?

  • Inspect existing electrical system
  • Evaluate the roof structure for stability
  • Complete any required upgrades to the electrical panel and existing electrical system
  • Obtain installation permits
  • Install wiring between new electrical panel and the power system
  • Racks are attached to the roof or at other location to support the PV panels
  • PV panels are professionally installed onto the racking system
  • The PV system’s inverter is connected to the new electrical panel
  • Installation of power meter (for net metering) to obtain utility energy credits

While these steps may look straightforward at first glance, there are a number of installation and electrical wiring mistakes that have become common when examining systems that fail or operate below the expect performance level. Under-sized wiring and loose connections are a common cause of electrical fire or poor performance.

Why is a professional electrician required for the installation of a solar panel?

Solar panels can be dangerous if not properly installed. A professional electrician will keep your project safe in the following ways:

  • A licensed electrician is required to sign-off on the installed grid connect installation, certifying that it has been inspected and the installation is found ‘to adhere to electrical code and is deemed safe’.
  • DC wiring can be dangerous if installed incorrectly. If the electrician does not recognize the different wiring required for polarized circuit breakers versus non-polarized circuit breakers, the unit can catch fire when it is switched to the ‘off’ position.
  • The electrician must understand proper earth and ground bonding principles. The proper grounding of a photovoltaic (PV) power system is critical to ensure safe operations.

In the United States, a Licensed Master Electrician is trained and certified in the National Electric Code (NEC) and follows industry-wide best practices for solar system installations. These trade professionals are skilled in all aspects of electrical installation and troubleshooting. A master electrician ensures your solar is installed following local and national codes and according to detailed equipment specifications, wiring schematics, and system design layout.

How long will it take to install my solar panels?

Solar panel installation is a complicated process that will take place over several weeks. While the installation of the panes themselves will only take 2-3 days, additional time will be required to update the electrical panel and make any other required code updates, and then to connect the panels to the electrical grid after installation is complete.

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