Installing Solar Panels: UL vs non-UL Solar Panels

| Author: | Posted in Home Improvement

If you’ve got yourself a set of solar panels, you’re almost certainly eager to get them set up and charging your battery bank. Before you do, however, let’s ensure you are doing it properly and also safely.

When setting up solar power systems, the first thing you should do is see if they are UL certified. UL certification is a federal government manufacturing certification. UL certified solar panels have been through rigorous safety and quality tests. DIY solar panels, along with many professionally manufactured ones, aren’t UL certified. How come this is important when installing solar panels?

This is important due to the fact that some insurance agencies will not cover fire damage attributable to solar panels that are not UL certified. Are non-UL certified solar panels dangerous? No, there is little chance of your solar panels causing an electrical fire. We are, however, dealing with electrical power, and you can never be too careful. So, exactly how should you mount your panels?

How to Install UL-Certified Solar Panels

In the event that you possess UL certified panels, or if you get the okay from your insurance company for your non-UL certified panels, then the best spot to install your solar panels is on your rooftop. If your rooftop is tilted at around a 30-degree incline and is facing a southerly direction, it is perfect for a solar panel installation. Simply purchase a set of solar panel brackets and use them to secure the solar panels to your roof.

When you buy your mounts, bolt them to your roof before affixing them to your solar panels; otherwise, you are going to have a difficult time mounting your panels. Also, you need to make certain that your solar panel mounts are bolted directly into the studs holding up your roof. This is not overly difficult-just utilize a stud finder to locate them. If your roof is flat, or not facing a southerly direction, you can still install your solar panels there. You’ll just need to use a supporting frame that holds your panels up at the proper angle and towards the sun. A variety of commercial solar panel mounts that you can buy, or you can just construct your own, whichever you prefer.

Non UL-Certified Solar Panels

For those who have solar panels that are not UL-certified, I suggest that you mount them on a freestanding base next your house. That way, in the unlikely event that they short out, there will be no danger of them catching your rooftop on fire. To install your solar panels in this way, you can choose between many types of commercially built mounts, or you can just construct your own. As these support frames are rather basic, I suggest that you simply construct one yourself. It is possible to build your frame out of metal or wood, and in any style you like. The main thing is to make sure that it holds your solar panels at a 30-degree angle to the sun. If your solar panels are positioned in a horizontal or vertical position, they won’t work correctly.

Wiring Your Solar Panels

If you’ve got more than one solar panel then you are going to have to wire all of them together. You have a pair of options. You can use a parallel or a series wiring configuration. When selecting which arrangement to use, you need to take into account two points. First, your total power output will not be changed by either wiring style. Second, wiring your solar panels in parallel a configuration raises the amperage of your solar panel system. Wiring your solar panels utilizing a series configuration, on the other hand, will increase your system’s total voltage. Which wiring configuration you ultimately choose will depend on what you are planning to charge with your solar panels. If you are planning to charge 12-volt battery packs, for example, you will need to be sure that your total voltage productivity is 12 to 18 volts.

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