How To Mount a Solar Panel, in 7 Steps

How much do you know about solar panels?
How much do you know about solar panels?
Lester Lefkowitz/Getty Images

Solar panels are quite possibly the future of home-energy production. Solar panels are somewhat costly to buy, but once you've purchased the panels and installed them, the money you will save in the long run will become exponentially greater as energy prices increase.

Perhaps you've purchased your first solar panel, and you don't want to pay a pricey contractor to install it for you. You're a handyperson, capable with a tool belt, well-versed with the hammer, nail, screwdriver and drill. This project might just be for you.

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Before you go off putting up solar panels willy-nilly, make sure to check with your local zoning board. Some communities aren't comfortable with solar panels and others require special permits. Take care of that legalese before you install solar panels.

Learn to mount our own solar panel in 7 steps.

Step One

Pick out a spot for your solar panel on either the west or east side of the roof, wherever it will receive the most the sun.

Step Two

Figure out your latitude tilt. If you live below twenty-five degrees latitude, your solar panels will need to be tilted towards the sun in the amount of latitude number. If you live at twenty-five degrees latitude, you will tilt your panels by twenty-five degrees. After twenty-five latitude, add five degrees for each additional five degrees of latitude up to forty degrees. ( 35 lat = 50 tilt and 30 lat = 40 tilt) At forty degrees latitude, add twenty degrees of tilt to your latitude number. (55 lat = 75 tilt) Memorize that and say it back five times fast.

Step Three

Mounts should be placed four feet apart and on top of rafters. You can use a stud finder or the blueprints of your home to find those rafters.

Step Four

Drill holes carefully into the rafters. You do not want them to split. These holes are where your steel bolts will fasten the solar-panel mounts to roof.

Step Five

Secure the mounts with steel bolts. Make sure to seal the area around the bolts in order to keep your thermal envelope air tight.

Step Six

Fasten the solar panels to the mounts. Usually the solar panels will come rebuilt with an easy-to-fasten panel to mount interface. Make sure that the solar panels are off the roof by at least a quarter of a foot. Airflow helps the panels operate at peak efficiency.

Step Seven

Your solar panel is mounted. You can now connect it to your electrical supply. Talk to an electrician about this. I am not qualified to tell you how to hook up electrical systems. I only know about nailing things to other things.

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