Mistakes to Avoid When Designing Your Solar Panel System

A solar panel array installation is a way offset your reliance on the national grid and continue operations during planned load shedding. It also allows you to save drastically on energy costs while benefitting the environment. If you’re designing your own solar panel, however, it’s important to avoid certain pitfalls. Here are some of the more common mistakes to watch out for. 

  1. Not checking your roof’s structural makeup

While rooftop installations are the preferred choice when it comes to a solar (PV) array, this is not always possible as the roof structure may not be able to withstand the weight of the solar panels. One solar installation can add up to 25kg of weight per square metre, so it’s important that an expert is called in to assess the structure. The type of roof might also be conducive to solar panels, such as fibre-cement which is brittle. You might need to invest in racks to prevent cracks on your roof. 

  1. Getting the sizing wrong

You need to determine your energy requirements before deciding on the size of your solar panel array. You don’t want to complete the installation only to find you have insufficient supply – often it’s best to oversize your array. When considering the size of the solar array system, you’re going to need to take certain factors into account, including:

It’s a delicate balancing act that needs expert insight for an effective solar system installation. 

  1. Choosing the cheapest option

Although installing a solar panel array is not cheap, you really don’t want to go for the cheapest option simply because of the price. As with everything, low-cost solar panels are often less effective than the more expensive options, or you’ll end up having to replace them sooner, costing you more in the long run. It’s worth saving more towards the initial cost so that you’re benefitting from the energy-saving costs over a longer period of time. 

  1. Not understanding off-grid and grid-tie solar options

When people talk about getting ‘off the grid’, they’re not necessarily referring to an off-grid solar panel system. These particular systems have no access to power lines which means that you will need a battery bank to store the energy – which is very expensive. With a grid-tie solar system, the solar power will allow you to generate your own energy which will be stored for later use. If you’re residing somewhere with access to power lines, then going for a grid-tie solar panel solution is best. 

  1. Incorrect panel angles

The angle of your solar panel is also an incredibly important factor in installation which can determine how much energy you’re able to store. Aesthetic considerations aren’t high up on the list when it comes to placement as you want your panels to be receiving maximum sunlight during peak hours. In South Africa, your solar panels will need to be orientated northwards at an angle of 25 to 35 degrees for maximum energy. It’s also really important that your solar panels are not in places that create shadows, as this will drastically impact energy storage. 

  1. Choosing to do a DIY solar panel installation 

There are many DIY enthusiasts out there who have accomplished a lot of successful home projects, however, when it comes to solar panel installation, it’s best to work with the experts. If you feel you have the expertise to install your own solar panel array, then you should be able to adequately answer the following:

  • What weight will your roof structure be able to handle?
  • What size solar panel will match your energy requirements?
  • What is the best location and angle for the solar panel installation?
  • How will the solar panel wiring be done?

There’s no doubt that with the rising energy costs, unreliable national supply and detrimental impact on the environment, installing a solar panel array is a very wise investment. However, this is an investment you want to benefit from for many years to come, which is why it needs to be done properly from the start. Consult with industry experts, JUP Solutions, today, to find out about pricing options and suitability of placement.

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