The process of building do-it-yourself panels can have its rewards and its challenges. If you want to build your panels correctly, you need to do your research first in order to understand what you are getting into.
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A good plan is key to everything in a do-it-yourself project, such as this one. In order to build your own solar panel array, you need to be able to see how you can get to your end goal.
Before beginning your solar panel project, you should find out some key bits of information. What materials are available in your area, or what direction your roof is pointed, or even if you are allowed to build solar panels, in your area.
Here are some questions you should ask, before beginning your project:
1. How much electricity do you need? One of the very first steps before building do-it-yourself solar panels is to check your electricity bills and evaluate how you can reduce your current usage. Beyond power saving steps, you need to know how much power will you need to produce each year.
2. Where is your roof pointing? One of the most common problems when building solar panels is to have everything ready to go, then realize most of your roof is facing the shade. Do an assessment of your roof, in the morning, midday, and afternoon, to find out which areas get the most sunlight. Also, keep track of your finding, as the seasons pass.
3. What is the weight of your solar panels? Depending on the materials you use for your panels, the resulting panel box can be considerably heavy. And, if your roof has some structural flaws, the panels will make them even weaker. Before building your solar panels, you should see if your roof can handle the weight. If not, then look for external mounting possibilities.
4. Do you have all the tools & materials you need? Starting with a good solar guide is probably the first step, before purchasing all of your materials involved. Sure, you can buy all recycled parts and build a system for less than $ 200. But if you want to build a system big enough for your house, you’ll need to shop for a few extra tools & parts.
5. Does your homeowner association or city allow solar panels? This is likely the most missed question, since everyone allows solar panel installations, right? Although federal and state laws often encourage you to build solar panels, neighborhood and homeowner associations may disagree. Although you can sue your association and likely win, it is best to work with them first, to ensure a successful and headache-free project.
Once you have answered all of these questions, you will have a good idea about how to start your solar panel project. A good installation guide is key, but doing your research is a priceless step you can’t be without.
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