Connecting Solar Panels to House Electricity

It's becoming more and more common for people to install solar panels on their homes. There are a lot of reasons for this, from wanting to use more sustainable sources of power to wanting to shrink power bills. As it becomes more common for solar panels to be on homes, it's also necessary to make sure that solar panels are being installed correctly, especially when it comes to connecting them to your house’s electricity

In the interest of making sure that people are as safe as possible when installing solar panels, let's take a look at the right way to connect solar panels into a house’s electricity.

Connecting Solar Panels to House Electricity

1. String and Install Solar Panels

Before you can connect solar panels to your house’s electricity, you have to install them on the roof of your home. There are a couple of ways to do this, and it requires knowing how to string solar panels together. One solar panel won't do a lot for your home, so it is necessary to have several panels installed and linked together.

There are two main ways to string groups of solar panels together. The first way is to string them together in a series, or in other words, run a single line through every solar panel. So if you had a group of nine panels in a square, the line would make an “S” shape through the rows to connect all of the panels to one another. You could also use the second type of stringing, parallel stringing, in which the line would split into three lines then reconnect into a single line on the other side of the panels.

As simple as this may sound to do, it's not as easy as it may seem. Electrical connections require a lot of professional know-how to be done correctly, so if you aren't sure how to string the panels properly, it’s probably best to leave it to a professional.

2. Connect Solar Panels to Inverter

Something you need to remember about solar power is that it is not the same as the electricity already in your home. Solar panels use direct current (DC) electricity and your house uses alternating current (AC) electricity. These types of electrical currents are not compatible with each other unless you use a power inverter.

After you've installed the solar panels on your roof and strung them together, the next step is to connect those panels to the inverter. You may also want to connect the inverter to a battery either before or after you've connected the inverter to the solar panels. Even though you're connecting the solar panels into your house, it's still a good idea to have a battery that can store the solar energy four times[a] when the panels may not be generating a lot of power. This way you can keep using solar energy in your home at night and during times of the year when the weather is very cloudy.

3. Wire Battery Into Home Circuit Breaker Panel

The next thing that needs to happen is connecting the inverter to the home circuit breaker panel either directly or through the battery. You do this by taking the wires from the battery (or the inverter) and connecting the wires to each circuit breaker. As you connect the wires to each circuit breaker, you'll be connecting solar power to each electrical zone of your home.

It's important to remember that although solar energy can be useful in the home, it's rarely enough to power everything all the time. Solar panels will minimize, but not always eliminate, the amount of power pulled from the power grid, so you’ll still want to maintain a connection with the grid.

If you stay connected to the power grid, you can let any solar power you aren’t using move into the city power grid. This process, called “net metering,” can essentially make your electric meter move backward, crediting you for the power you’re contributing and charging you less each month. Sometimes this requires an extra meter to track the electricity you're contributing compared to the electricity you’re using, but it can help save you money on your electric bill.

4. Connect Inverter to Fuse Box

Once everything is wired to the home circuit breaker panel, the inverter needs to be connected to the fuse box. This is what will allow the inverter to convert direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) electricity.

With all of this connected together, you should have solar energy supporting the electricity in your home. But again, remember that solar energy is not perfect, so it's a good idea to have backup power options, like generators, to pull from when solar power is not available.

Who Should Connect Solar Panels to Home Power?

For most people, the process of connecting solar panels into house electricity sounds like something they'd prefer a professional to handle. Some DIY people out there may think that they can figure out this process on their own. However, this is the sort of thing that is better to let a professional handle because working with electrical systems is highly risky and can result in injury or death. Professional electricians know how electricity works and how to work with it safely, plus their results will likely be better than what you could do on your own.

Find the Electric Supplies You Need

When you decide to connect solar panels to your house’s electricity, you or your electrician may need to purchase some electrical supplies to accomplish this. When that time comes, reach out to Big Electric Supply. Big Electric Supply has a wide variety of circuit breakers, panels, and replacement parts that you may need to safely connect solar panels into your house electricity.

[a]Is this meant to say that the battery should store four times the energy of the solar panel? The sentence is a bit confusing.