Bright Ideas for Solar Panel Installation

Though you can hire an outside company to install your solar panels, you can save money by installing the panels yourself. You can find instructions for installing solar panels on many websites. Solar panels can be installed as stand-alone units, but typically they are installed on rooftops or building tops to take advantage of their low profile and high sun exposure. Listed below are several recommendations to maximize the efficiency of your solar panels.

Purchasing Solar Panels

Solar panels can be purchased at most local hardware stores or online. You can begin by purchasing and installing just one or two solar panels. As those panels help you save on your power bill, you can add more panels. Your reliance on the city's power grid will progressively decrease until you are using no city power at all. At this point, you can continue to add panels and reap a profit by feeding power back into the power grid.

Paying for Your Solar Panels

To finance the cost of your solar panels, investigate your city and state laws governing solar panels. Since many states offer tax credits, keep track of your receipts and purchases. You can receive a federal tax credit worth 30% of the cost of your solar panel installation. Residents of the state of California can receive rebates for solar panel installations, and many cities, including Berkeley and San Francisco, offer financing programs that spread out the cost of solar panels over 20 years or more.

Installing Solar Panels

Whenever possible, install the mounts for your solar panels into the rafters before the roof is applied. If shingles have already been applied to your roof, use a stud finder to find the rafters. Just like mounting a painting on a wall stud indoors will provide a secure hanging, mounting your solar panels on the rafters will securely attach the panels to your home. While you are installing your panels, use a chalk line or laser sight to keep the mounts in a straight line.

Once your panels are mounted, you should position them in direct sunlight. For maximum efficiency, try to position your panels directly under the noontime sun. Remove all obstructions that may cast a shadow over the panels, including tree branches, and keep your trees trimmed to prevent them from blocking the sunlight. If you live near tall buildings, trace the path of their shadows during the day and do not install your solar panels in their shadows.