Solar Panel Safety.. 

Solar Power Safety... 

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Solar Panel Safety

 

DIY Solar Panels

 

Solar panels and the various components they work with have a green, environmentally friendly feeling to them that makes it easy to let down your guard and forget normal safety rules. But remember that PV panels start generating electricity as soon as the light hits them, so cover them up or follow manufacturer safety recommendations until you’re done installing.

Make sure you understand the electrical system you’re working on, if you’re uncomfortable or confused, call an electrician to help out, or talk to the electrical inspector.

Any PV panel system that’s big enough to provide power to a house needs charge controllers, fuses, inverters and circuit breakers, often both DC and AC. Full service suppliers will provide complete systems with all the safety equipment, but if you’re putting a system together on your own from discount components you bought on the internet, read up on the subject before you get started.

 

 

 

Solar panels have metal frames and must always be grounded, whether they’re on the roof or on a pole in the yard. Big metal objects outdoors can attract lighting strikes, and you need to be sure that if your array is hit, the energy will dissipate into the ground not into your house.

Start by attaching a 6-gauge bare copper wire to the metal frame of each PV panel with stainless bolts and star washers or follow manufacturer recommendations. If the solar panels are on the house, connect the grounding wire to a separate ground rod and bond to the house grounding electrode system, either directly or through a grounding lug in the main circuit breaker box or a mechanical connection with the main ground wire. If the panels are on an outbuilding or a pole away from the house, you’ll need to install a separate ground rod at that location. Use an 8 ft. long solid copper ground rod ½ in. dia. or larger and pound it almost all the way into the ground, leaving just a few inches exposed. Attach the wire with a ground rod clamp. You’ll also need to run 6 gauge wire underground back to the main house ground wire so all your grounds are interconnected. Check with your electrical inspector about grounding recommendations in your area. If you live in an area with lots of lighting strikes, you may need to add additional grounding protection.

Electricity from solar panels is just as dangerous as the kind that comes over the utility lines, especially for large, whole house arrays. You may want to call in a pro to help with the final hookups. Remember to install all required fuses, charge controllers and circuit breakers to ensure the safety of the system and the people using it.

 

 

 

 

More DIY Solar Panel Projects

Types of solar panels

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Solar power for off grid system, and on grid system

Batteries for your solar panels

Making your own solar cells

Mounting solar panels

Solar water heater

Solar heat

 

 

 

 

 

 

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