So, you’ve gone for it, joined the green revolution and are looking forward to making huge savings on your electricity bills as well as making money by selling all that lovely power you’ve sourced from the sun back to the nation via the National Grid – now what do you do?
Oh yes, it’s the small matter of getting your solar panels fixed in place on your roof! Easy!
Well, maybe not if you are thinking of installing them yourself, but it should be if you have hired a reputable and experienced solar panel fitter. And you will know if you have done just that if you have checked to see they are MCS accredited.
MCS stands for Microgeneration Certification Scheme and is the kite mark that tells you your solar product (and installer) has reached the highest green standard possible. You can then give them the green light to begin work installing your system!
If your installer is any good, they will already have completed a thorough survey of your roof space to ensure your roof is adequate for harnessing the sun’s rays – ie: that your roof is facing far enough south (either directly south or a little to the south-east/south-west) and that your panels will not be affected by shading that could detract from the capability of your panels.
But the next thing you will want to know is that the person/team responsible for installing the panels knows how to mount them properly to your roof – because this is arguably more important than everything else as one false move and your roof could be ruined!
Mounting Your Solar Panels
There is basically only one way to mount solar PV panels to your roof and that is by using special solar panel mounting fixtures and fittings, fitted directly to your roof joists/rafters for it is upon these which the frame/rack/metal rails that will hold the panels can then be attached once your original tiles have been replaced.
This first step obviously requires the removal of your existing tiles/slates/flashing to get to the joists. But once they have been exposed, the metal fittings are evenly spaced (to spread the weight load of the frame/rails and eventually the panels) and bolted to the rafters.
The frame and metal mounting rails are then applied and squared. This is vital at this point so as to ensure your panels will slot together perfectly when placed and aligned. The rails should not be visible once the panels have been installed (which is another aspect of the installer’s job to ensure).
Once the mounts and metal rails have been fitted the tiles can then be replaced (which may require trimming to re-position) and the wiring process can then begin. With the wiring in place (and don’t forget you will need an inverter, in your loft preferably, to convert the AD power of the sun to DC for your home electricity needs) the actual panels can then be slotted into place and connected.
And hey presto…you’re up and ready to go for a lifetime (25 years minimum) of free sun-powered electricity!
Installing solar panels at your home or business property is a potentially exciting proposition – but will be a complete waste of time if your installer hasn’t done their homework properly or completed the installation to the highest level.
Remember, mounting your solar PV panels may seem like the less interesting or glamorous phase of the project – but it is possibly the most important and requires high expertise and skilful application.