Solar energy is quickly establishing itself as the quintessential modern way to generate power. It’s green, renewable, and can reduce (or even eliminate) your monthly electric bills.
There are numerous advantages and benefits to installing your own set of solar panels on your roof rather than paying for professional installation.
But how do you go about doing it?
Well, you’re in the right place.
In this guide, we’re going to take you through all the benefits of installing solar panels on your roof and how you can DIY it all by yourself!
Why You Should Install Solar Panels on the Roof
There are numerous pros to installing your own solar panels. To make them easier to digest, we’ve broken down the key points below for you to review.
Solar Panels Are a Renewable Source of Green Energy
Over the past two decades, the damage caused by climate change has become clearer and clearer. Life on our planet is in danger, and we all feel the pressure to change our habits and live greener.
Generating your own clean, renewable energy from the sun is an excellent way to do this, and that’s exactly what solar panels provide you with!
Solar power systems produce no harmful emissions and require no fossil fuels to run.
If you’re looking for a greener way to live, solar is a fantastic place to start.
Solar Panels Can Help You Save Money
Living greener isn’t just about saving the planet. You can also keep more green in your wallet.
Generating your own energy means less (or zero) reliance on the grid. You can reduce your electricity bills or eliminate them altogether. The initial investment can be significant, but over time you will certainly start to see the financial benefits.
With the world’s fossil fuel supply diminishing and an unpredictable geopolitical situation — not to mention the natural disasters exacerbated by climate change — the price of on-grid electricity is likely to keep climbing.
At the same time, an aging energy infrastructure has made the grid less reliable than ever.
With the rapidly declining prices and improving technology of solar power, there’s never been a better time to take the plunge.
Solar Panels Are Easy to Install
Installing your own solar panels on your roof might seem like a massive undertaking, but it really isn’t.
You may be entirely capable of doing it yourself!
We’ll walk you through a DIY solar installation step-by-step a little further down. Home renovations don’t have to be stressful or excessive, and solar panel installation is neither.
Solar Panels Are Low Maintenance
Not only are solar panels easy to install, but they also require next to no maintenance. Once the panels are set up on your roof, you can essentially just forget about them. Solar power systems require no refueling and — if purchased from a reliable manufacturer — are highly durable. The Rigid Solar Panel from EcoFlow features an IP68 weather resistance certification, making it totally waterproof! These panels are designed to last with minimal intervention. You may need to clean them once or twice a year, but the rain will generally take care of that.
What to Consider Before Installing Solar Panels on Your Roof
Now that you know why solar panels are such a good idea, we’re sure you’re eager to purchase your own.
Don’t rush to the stores (or your laptop) just yet — there are some key considerations to make first.
You don’t want to invest in technology that doesn’t meet your electricity generation needs or install the incorrect equipment.
Consider the following factors carefully before jumping into solar.
Location isn’t just about the amount of sunshine you receive on a daily basis. Peak sun hours have an impact, but solar panels can pick up energy even in low-light situations. You don’t need to live in a desert for your solar panel to generate adequate power.
However, if your roof is positioned under heavy shade, you won’t reap the same benefits as a solar panel that receives direct sunlight.
Do some research on how much sunlight your location receives on average and consider factors like shade. It pays to know how worthwhile your investment will end up being before committing.
How Much Energy Does Your Home Use?
Numerous factors affect how much energy your home consumes. The number of people in your house, how many devices you have running concurrently, and your home’s size all contribute. Make sure you review how much electricity your home consumes, with specific reference to the wattage of essential devices and appliances, before purchasing solar panels and a solar power system.
Doing the math will give you a clearer insight into how beneficial the switch to solar will be for you!
The Condition of Your Roof
Solar panels do not typically damage your roof, but they do exert additional weight on the existing structure. This is because they are usually mounted via panel hooks or similar devices.
If your roof hasn’t been inspected in a few years or has shown signs of degradation (rot, woodworm, rust, etc), it might not be the best time to invest in roof-mounted solar panels.
The last thing you want is to splash out on a set of solar panels only to find your roof can’t support them.
Besides, portable solar panels are also a more than viable option. You can set them up in your backyard — and take them anywhere.
The Brand You Purchase From
Last but perhaps most importantly, you need to consider which manufacturer to purchase your solar panels and the solar power system that converts and stores electricity from.
Not all brands (or solar panels) are created equal — and reputation matters!
You should always read up on the brand you’re investing in before proceeding through checkout. You might think you’ve found a bargain, but if you’re purchasing subpar technology, it will likely need to be replaced much sooner than you’d like.
How to Install and Connect Solar Panels on a Roof – Step by Step
Now let’s get into the nitty gritty: installation!
When it comes to installation, rigid solar panels are somewhat similar between brands. But there are some unique differences.
This step-by-step guide is a generalized approach, but it should still apply to your installation.
It isn’t as complicated as you may think, so let’s get into it already.
Attach the Solar Panel Mounts
Once you are safely up on your roof, the first thing you will need to do is secure your solar panel mounts. Mounts are what your panels will attach to and ‘hang’ from, so you must ensure they are completely stable.
Also, consider how you’re going to maximize sunlight exposure throughout the day. Attach your mounts to the side that receives the most daylight at an 18-36 degree angle.
Secure the Solar Panels in Place
Once your mounts are securely in place, it’s time to place the panels themselves.
EcoFlow offers both rigid and flexible solar panels to suit your rooftop installation needs. No matter how sloped or unusual your roof may be, you should have minimal difficulty fitting them in place.
Just make sure all of the nuts and bolts are tightly fastened, securing the panel to the mount. This will help ensure that they stay precisely where you put them, no matter the weather.
Wire the Solar Panels to the Inverter or Portable Power Station
Next is the wiring. This may be the part you find most daunting, but it’s actually a relatively simple process. In most cases, MC4 cable connectors are used because they are compatible with all kinds of solar panels. You should only attempt this when the household electrical supply is entirely shut down, or you run the risk of electrifying yourself rather than your panels.
Install the Solar Inverter or Use a Portable Power Station
The inverter converts the sunlight your panels absorb into electrical energy you can use and store. EcoFlow’s portable power stations and solar generators have the inverter built in, as well as everything else you need for a true plug-and-play solar power system.
Your inverter should usually be installed near your main electrical panel, ideally in a cool location.
If you choose to install the solar inverter outdoors, make sure it’s out of the direct sun.
Connect the Inverter to the Consumer Unit
Finally, you need to connect the inverter to the consumer unit (fuse board). You will also need to connect solar batteries to your consumer unit to store the electricity you generate.
This step is unnecessary with EcoFlow Portable Power Stations and Solar Generators, which are both all-in-one solar power system solutions.
A generation meter alongside can tell you how much energy your solar panels are generating.
With many of EcoFlow’s products, you can access this information and much more using the EcoFlow app on your smartphone.
Congrats, you’ve completed your very first installation!
NOTE: Your solar panels should always arrive with a specific installation manual for your system. Our guide is a catch-all for numerous solar panels, so make sure to refer to it as a high-level guide alongside your product manual.
Do I Need Permission to Install Solar Panels on My Roof?
In most cases, no, you do not need to apply for planning permission to install solar panels on your roof. Typically, it’s considered permitted development and shouldn’t affect neighbors in any meaningful way.
After all, you aren’t expanding your property. You’re just adding to what’s already there.
However, some exemptions to this may apply depending on your location and local regulations. Particularly if the following criteria are breached:
- The panels rise higher than 8 inches (200mm) from the roof
- Your home is a listed or landmark building
- You live close to a listed or landmark building
Check your local and national guidelines for specific information relating to your home, but for the most part, you should be good to go!
If you are denied planning permission for a rooftop solar installation for whatever reason, don’t worry, it isn’t the end of your solar journey. EcoFlow offers a range of portable solar panels that can be used with portable power stations (such as the DELTA Pro) to generate power no matter where you are — and you don’t have to ask anyone’s permission!
Installing solar panels on your roof can seem like a huge undertaking, but it can prove highly worthwhile.
Not only do you get energy independence, but you also do your part for the environment and save money on utility bills in the long run.
Consider purchasing your own solar panels today and see for yourself why so many people and businesses are turning to solar power.