Investing in a solar panel array could save you thousands of dollars on electricity bills for decades to come. However, improper installation puts you, your home, and your equipment at risk. Instead of trying to handle the complex wiring and design of a photo-voltaic solar electricity system yourself, turn the work over to an electrical contractor for these four reasons.
Licensing and Experience
Since electrical contractors are licensed, they've got both experience and training for dealing with complex wiring situations. A single solar panel with a direct connection is fairly simple to wire, but most homeowners want larger arrays with battery backups. One or two mistakes during installation and you could blow a battery or short out part of a panel. The manufacturer's warranty may also stipulate professional installation by a licensed electrical contractor.
Codes and Inspection
Residential sized solar electricity systems usually trigger the need for a building permit and final inspection due to zoning regulations. Are you up to date on the National Electrical Code, county requirements, state limitations, and all the other rules regarding solar panel installation? Even panels mounted on ground racks fall under the jurisdiction of the building inspector, and the professionals will follow every rule to make approval go a lot smoother.
Damage and Leaks
Mounting the solar panels on the roof gives you access to a lot of sunlight, but it can also leave you with a ruined roof. Making mistakes during the rack mounting step could cause
- Cracking and bending in the roof rafters due to overloading
- Water penetrating the roof surface due to fasteners missing the proper sealants
- Damage to the panels and other equipment because the rack can't handle the wind speeds.
If the electrical contractor you hire doesn't handle the rack installation, they can at least refer you to a roofing company that can handle that part. It's particularly dangerous to do yourself because getting on the roof puts at risk for a fall even when you're not carrying 25 foot long sections of metal.
Connecting and Legality
Finally, you must have an electrical contractor on the job if you want to connect your solar panels to the larger electrical grid. If you're dreaming of earning money back from the electricity company, a licensed contractor has to handle the actual connecting of the panels to the grid. Trying to tie your system in yourself could leave you facing big fines, along with the potential for serious harm or death due to contact with live electrical cables carrying plenty of voltage.
For more information about installing solar panels or making any other large electrical upgrade, contact a company like Dunedin Electric Co., Inc.