Installation Process - Solar Panels (PV or Photovoltaic)
Poncho's Solar Services is always available to discuss your solar questions or requirements. Stop by one of our offices or see us at our booths at the local farmer's markets or arts and crafts shows. For the installation process for Solar Photovoltaic Panels for electricity, please review the following:
1. Pre-install information and questions to answer;
Solar Panels are typically installed on rooftops, building tops, or stand-alone facilities. It is vital to install your solar panel so that it gets the most direct sun exposure - you want to make sure your solar panel is maximally effective year round. To do this, Poncho's Solar Services has solar resources to help you properly set up and install your solar panels by tracking the position of the sun in the sky over the course of the year. Position your solar panel in direct sunlight. Solar Panels perform at optimum capacity when placed in direct sunlight. Try to position your photovoltaic array directly under the noontime sun for maximum efficiency from your photovoltaic unit.
Remove all items unnecessary items or trim branches that may be blocking sunlight to your solar unit. Trace the path of the sun in the sky to determine if an object will be casting a shadow over your solar photovoltaic panels. If this is the case, then the operating efficiency of your unit will undoubtedly suffer.
- Do you have a south-facing area of roof or land that can accommodate your solar system?
A south facing roof will provide the optimum potential for your system. However, depending on your building orientation, other directions can also provide sufficient production.
- Do you have any daytime shading issues on your south-facing space?
Shading by trees, buildings, etc. will have a negative impact on a PV system’s performance, if the shading issues cannot be solved, perhaps your property is not a good choice for solar. Poncho's can help you determine the impact of shading with a site visit.
- Will you need to repair or replace your roof in the next 5 years?
If you do, then you might want to wait to add your solar system during that time, or consider re-roofing now to add your system. You should have at least a 15-year life expectancy with your existing roof.
2. Site Visit
Poncho's will arrange with you to come out to your home or business and determine the best possible solution for you solar requirements. Poncho's solar engineer will determine;
- Direction of the roof, type of roof, roof condition, and angle of the roof in order to best determine the solar panel requirements
- Measure the roof surface to determine the square footage available for placing solar panels or solar hot water heating collectors
- Determine if roof, or ground mounted systems would be best for the situation
- Draw a plan of the roof or ground area to review with the best possible placement
- Discuss the plan with you and determine the next steps
3. Solar Panels Installation
Prior to installation Poncho's will have submitted to the County and have obtained all the required permits, permissions and authorization (such as compliance with community CCR's) in order to proceed.
Mounting the solar panels.
Solar Panel Mounts are used to install photovoltaic solar panels. Solar panel mounts come in three main varieties: pole mounts, roof-ground mounts, and flush mounts. Using these mounts, you can install your solar panel on top of or against the side of a pole, on your roof, or even install them as a free-standing unit.
Mounts for your solar photovoltaic system can come in all shapes and sizes; some are stand-alone, others are designed for special situations, such as pole mounts designed to track the sun in the sky for optimal output.
Types of Solar Panel Mounts
Solar Panel Mounts are available in three primary categories: flush mounts, roof/ground (or universal) mounts, and pole mounts. Each type of solar panel mount has its own merits and disadvantages, Poncho's Solar Services will help you determine which type mounts are the best for your installation.
Flush mounts are the cheapest and most simple solar panel mounting solution available, and are achieved by placing a metal end bracket on each side of the solar panel, elevating it several inches from the surface. Flush Mounts are typically used with small solar arrays on rooftops and RVs, because the structural design of a flush mount cannot support large solar panels. When installing a flush mount with your solar panel, be sure that you have ample clearance between the surface of the roof and the underside of your solar panel. This distance should be at a minimum of 2-4 inches, so that air can flow under the unit and keep it cool. This is vitally important for your flush mount system: if you do not allow clearance, your solar unit will rapidly overheat and the functional lifespan will be significantly reduced.
Roof-Ground solar panel mounts are typically used with larger solar panel systems, or in areas away from the city electric grid. Roof-Ground mounts are called by that name because they can be installed both on the ground and on rooftops. Roof-Ground mounts are typically constructed by a grid-like system of supports.
Many Roof-ground mounts are adjustable, and if you change the tilt of your solar panel at the prescribed 1/4 year interval, your system will produce a little more power than a standard unit. Roof-ground systems are more expensive than flush mounts, and they may be difficult to install on rooftops due to heavy wind resistance or city ordinances, but they may be your only solution if you have a paticularly large solar panel system.
Pole mounts are divided into 3 subcategories: top of pole mounts, side of pole mounts, and poll tracking mounts. These poll mounts are differentiated by how they are positioned on the pole. Top of Pole Mounts are comprised of a metal rack and rail unit that is bolted to a large sleeve that rests on top of the pole. In order to install a top of pole mount, you will need to use an existing pole at least 3-8 inches wide with a concrete base, or construct one yourself. The mount simply slips over the top of the pole, and you can bolt (or weld) your solar panel unit into place. Large Top of pole mounts can encounter a substantial measure of wind resistance and can be very heavy. Side of Pole Mounts are typically fastened and bolted to the side of telephone or utility poles. Side of pole solar panel mounts typically involve small solar panels, for larger units, it is reccomended that you use a top of pole solar panel mount.
Tracking pole mounts are top of pole mounts with a special function - tracking pole mounts track the motion of the sun in the sky throughout the course of the day. This maximizes the operating efficiency of the solar panel unit.
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