Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Go back 20 years, and you'll see that designing and installing a solar/photovoltaic system was TOUGH.
An install consists of two parts: planning of the system design and the physical labor.
Planning your system used to require a deep understanding of volts, amps, watts, circuits, solar azimuths, photovoltaic sun potential, inner workings of the hardware and electrical components, wiring, etc.
But the industry has come a long way. . .
At Project Solar, we can now design your system within 24 hours, maximizing your system design for efficiency of panel placement, aesthetics, and ROI.
That just leaves the physical labor, and it's really not as difficult as it may seem. We even have a solar calculator to help you size your system.
In fact, you don't have to have an electrical background at all. If you can use a power drill to drive lags and run wires through your attic, you can install solar.
The 4 Steps to Install Solar
The purpose of this article is to illustrate the steps of an install. This is not a tutorial or a guide. Follow the provided install guides in your Project Solar user portal for more in-depth instructions.
Step 1. Drill in Anchors
After reviewing your provided plans and marking out the lines where your rails and anchors will go, you will find the studs/trusses in which to install your anchors.
Anchors are the waterproof attachment fixtures that the rails attach to. They can differ depending on the style of roof you have, but they all do the same job.
To install, you will drill a pilot hole into the truss. The anchor will then slide under the surrounding shingles (or interlock with a tile roof) where a lag bolt will hold it in place.
Do this for every anchor position as outlined by your engineering plans, and the hardest part of the solar install is done!
Step 2. Connect the Racking/Rails
This step goes quickly. Attach the rails/racking on which the panels will sit. These rails are rated to securely hold your panels through wind and snow.
Some rails will need to be extended with the provided extender insert and screws. Leave excess rail overhang until the panels are all on, and then cut the overhang.
This step should take less than 45 minutes.
Step 3. Attach the Panels
Most Project Solar builds include microinverters, so attach the microinverters in each location that the panels will go. The trunk cable connects all the microinverters together and terminates into a junction box that transitions into the roof.
Attach each panel over the corresponding microinverter. Plug the panel wires into the microinverters. They clip in easily and are foolproof.
Getting the panels on your roof is the most satisfying part of the install and is relatively quick depending on the help you have. Guides are available for how to carry a panel onto a roof by yourself. If you can handle 45 pounds, it's not too hard.
Step 4: Run the Wires
Once the panels are all installed and the trunk cable connecting the panels/microinverters are terminated into the junction box, all that is left is to run the wires through the attic (or EMT piping if your ceiling is vaulted and the wires need to stay outside).
Depending on your location's code, the attic run might entail threading wires through a flex conduit. This will be clear in your engineering plans and through your dedicated account rep.
Run the wires through the attic and exit the side of your house above your main service panel.
You're done! The last step is to contract a local electrician to do the final hook up of your system to your main service panel. Project Solar can help you arrange this labor if you'd like.
Project Solar's Services
We hold your hand through the entire process. From system design to power on, we are with you the entire way.
Your dedicated Project Solar account rep will handle all the dirty work, including system design, engineering, city and utility permitting, paperwork, and logistics.
We ship all the materials right to your house.
On install day(s), professional installers will be available for remote assistance through text, calls, and/or video chat.
Check out the infographic below for the steps to a solar install with Project Solar.