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Choosing and Installing DIY Solar Panel Kits

If you want to install solar panels but don’t know where to start, then maybe you should consider solar panel kits, also known as photovoltaic panel kits. These kits come with everything you need to install solar panels and their components on your own home or business with ease.

Solar kits are ideal because not only do you receive the solar or PV panels, but you also receive all of the other components that are necessary for your system to generate electricity, including a solar inverter, wiring, and even a battery if you are using an off grid solar system. 

You can purchase solar panel kits online at, or you can search and find hundreds of other kits for sale. Kits allow anyone who is a do it yourself type of person to quickly purchase and install a solar system without the need to purchase each component separately. One of the added advantages of purchasing a solar kit from a reputable source is that you can be guaranteed that each of your components will be from a respected company and all components will be compatible. 

Some of the world’s biggest electronic manufacturers such as General Electric also produce a complete line of solar kits, so you can be assured that you are receiving a high quality product.

Choosing the Right Solar Panel Kit for Your Home or Business

The first and most important thing to know when deciding on which solar kit to buy, is whether you are going to run a grid tie system or an off grid type. A grid tie system is connected directly into your local power grid, and does not store any excess energy created. 

solar panel kitInstead, this energy is sent back to the power company, and if you produce more energy than you consume, then the power company will pay you for the excess through a process called net metering. An off grid system requires the use of a battery to store any excess power, and is not connected to anything but your home or business. It functions separately as its own entity.

Sharp is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of solar panels, and they also produce two different PV panel kits. These kits are an excellent option if you want to purchase a top of the line solar system, but are also more expensive than many others. The Sharp solar kits usually require a professional to install them in order to not void their 25 year warrantee so they’re not the best option for a DIY project.

solar panel kitRenogy is a California based company that specializes in both grid tie and off-grid technologies. Their 100 watt starter kit includes a 100 watt monocrystalline solar panel, a 30 amp charge controller to protect your battery that sustains up to 450 watts of power, an adapter kit, branch connectors, and mounting brackets. This kit is ideal for powering your RV, cabin, or even your home itself. 

The panels are built to withstand even the harshest weather conditions, and come with a 25-year warranty! 

Additional 100 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel Modules can be used: up to four panels are supported by the charge controller.

In fact, the new Mitsubishi 218 watt solar panel is rated by the California Energy Commission as the most energy efficient solar panel on the market today, and many of their other panels rank right up there with it. This makes Mitsubishi solar kits one of the best kits available and their price is still competitive compared to their counterparts.

Step by Step Instructions for Installing your Solar Panel Kit

1.    Choose your location: This may be the most important step as it will determine how much exposure to the sun your panels receive. Panels should always be installed on a south facing roof clear of obstructions which might cast shadows on the panels, if at all possible. If you can’t install the panels on a south facing roof, then the west side is your next best option, followed by the east.

2.    Locate your rafters: You need to use a stud finder to pinpoint the location of your rafters, as the mounting brackets will need to be bolted directly into the rafters. Don’t panic if they don’t fully line up with rafters - you can always install a block on either side of the rafter to catch the bolt.

3.    Install the Mounting Brackets: You’ll need to drill and bolt the mounting brackets to your rafters. Make sure to leave at least three inches between your roof and where the panel will rest to allow for proper airflow and cooling of the panel. Now is also when you’ll want to adjust the tilt or angle of your mounts to adjust for your latitude. You should set the angle of the mounts to the same as your latitude, i.e. 20 degrees latitude equals 20 degree angle on your panel. If you live in an area over 40 degrees in latitude then you set the angle to around 60 degrees. 

4.    Seal Around Mounting Brackets: It’s recommended to either install flashing or use strong roofing silicon, tar, or other roofing sealant to seal around the bolts you used for mounting. This will prevent any rain or liquid from leaking around the bolts into your home.

5.    Connect the Panels and Wiring: Your solar kit should come with detailed instructions on how to connect and wire your panels, and how to connect the inverter to the entire system. For all but the simplest kits, it is recommended that you hire a professional electrician to do the final wiring. This will ensure that your system is wired properly so that it can function as efficiently as possible.

6.    Sit Back and Enjoy the Emission Free Energy your Home Generates: The total installation usually only takes a few hours, and you’ll start generating energy as soon as it’s connected and the sun shines on your panels. Once the installation is complete and all the wiring is correctly done, then all that’s left is to enjoy the fact that your home is now capable of generating its own free, clean electricity.

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