Solar Electric System – Deciding Where to Put your System

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 7,118
    SolarWorld Authorized Installer Keith Knowles discusses several options for placing solar panels on a home or even in the backyard.

    Keith Knowles: Hi! I am Keith Knowles with LiveLight Energy. I am a licensed Solar Contactor and an authorized installer for SolarWorld, America's largest manufacturer of PV Panels. I am here to help you select the right equipment for your home and today we're going to talk about where all the components of a solar system are located.

    Ideally, you have a good sized area on your roof that faces south or south-west and it's free from shade. As a rule of thumb, you will need about 100 square feet per kilowatt of solar panels. If your roof isn't suitable, you can also look at placing the panel on a ground mounted system in your backyard or on a cardboard. No matter where you put the panels, be sure that your installer or contractor performs a thorough shade analysis of the site. The shade analyses will let you know how much shade from tall trees, hills or other rooftops will affect your system's performance. Special racking is used to physically melt the panels to the roof or a ground mounted structure. Look for aluminum or stainless steel racking that is specially designed for solar installation and engineered for local wind and snow loads. In most cases, your installer or contractor will have a ready solution that compliments the panels you have chosen. Your inverter should be placed somewhere shady, usually on the north or east side of your house near the electric meter or preferably in the garage. The inverter will perform best when it's kept cool. If your system is going to use micro inverters, they will generally be amounted behind each solar panel. If you opt for a monitoring system, you may need to connect your inverter to the internet via a cable or wireless transceiver or your contractor can hard wire your display directly. Some monitoring systems will allow you to mount an attractive readout in your home that keeps you up-to-date on your system's output and status. This is mostly to help you brag about going solar, but it can also be helpful in alerting you to any potential maintenance or performance issues your system may experience. That's about coverage placement of your solar gear. Now, you are ready to start saving money through net metering of your system.