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How to install a solar panel

The installation of photovoltaic panels on a roof varies depending on the accessories: installation on rails above the tiles, installation on an under-roof screen, installation on waterproof trays. The flashings are made of zinc, lead or plastic. Solar Panel Sydney here are 5 tutorials covering the different methods of installing solar panels. 

Install photovoltaic panels: several configurations

Photovoltaic panels are mainly installed on roofs (incline of 30 to 35 degrees and south orientation recommended) and their fixing systems differ and impact the ease of installation , the necessary accessories, the duration of intervention , the degree of skill and the tools necessary for installation. From rails installed above the roof to stripping and then installing a waterproofing system or under-roof screen, costs vary considerably. The installation of solar panels allows the production of electricity , their installation is relative to different parameters. The choice of solar panels, in relation to defined criteria, requires a prior study and a precise definition of the needs of the installation and/or housing.

Production steps

1.      Retile at solar panel location

2.      Install the flashings (lower and side)

3.      Install under-roof screen or a waterproofing system

4.      Install the rails and panels

5.      Connect the inverter to the grid

Install solar panels in 5 steps

1.     De-tile at the location of the solar panel

We distinguish two distinct cases. If the roof is covered with mechanical tiles or slate, you will have to carry out partial removal. You must start by demarcating the precise location where you want to install the solar panels. It is then necessary to remove the tiles from an area slightly larger than the surface of the panels to be installed . Once this operation is done, a hole appears in your roof: the photovoltaic panels will be housed there after meticulous preparation.

Remove tiles with protective gloves as tiles are abrasive and can injure your hands. Any work on the roof must be carried out with a fall arrest system (fall arrest net or lanyard with harness). If you remove tiles near the ridge, be careful not to break the ridge tiles or half-tiles (do not walk near them and lift the tiles carefully).

If your roof is not roofed (truss frame), do not walk in the middle of the battens or on the under-roof screen as there is a risk of falling.

2. Install the lower and side flashings

The flashings are connecting pieces between the covering materials of your roof , in your case tiles or slates, and the different elements which protrude from the roof, here the solar panels and their fixings. They make it possible to achieve a perfect seal . There are flashings adapted to each model of mechanical tiles, both in shape and color. For slates, it is a slate-colored sheet or an old-fashioned piece of zinc.

The installation of the flashings consists of fixing with screws on the existing battens or on added battens. The use of a screwdriver is necessary like a tape measure to record the exact measurements . The hooks are also attached using screws.

If necessary, add a batten along the length of the panel location and behind the first row of tiles to gain height and provide a better foundation for the roofing. The flashing can be made of plastic and delivered with the kit but also be a strip of lead which should be rolled out astride the previously installed batten and the first row of tiles. The lead strip (of variable width) is glued with silicone glue applied with an extruder gun. The strip of lead, deformed by hand, follows the shape of the tiles. The boards and battens are cut with a circular saw .

3. Install the under-roof screen or a waterproofing system

Installation of the under-roof screen

When installing a roof, you must install an under-roof screen. The latter is a technical plastic film which has the function of creating a watertight but not airtight barrier. It is recommended when installing this under-roof screen to provide an air space between this screen and the insulating complex if necessary in order to avoid any risk of mold (the screen is generally installed and stapled to the batten on traditional frames). If this is impossible and it rests on the insulation, then opt for a screen with high water vapor permeability, or HPV , which allows the passage of vapor and reduces the risk of condensation in the insulating complex.. If condensation occurs in the insulation, it becomes less effective and may even rot. The covering of the strips must be carried out with the adhesives recommended by the manufacturer and according to its recommendations .

Installation of the waterproofing system

Depending on the installation, the Solar companies in Australia can rest on a flexible plastic waterproofing system to be installed on the roof (a rigid base made of battens is then necessary). These waterproofing systems are then screwed onto the battens and/or battens at the location of the panels.

4. Install the rails and panels

The rails must be securely attached to the rafters using hooks (use the screwdriver and suitable screws for this); Solar panels are heavy and offer great wind resistance. The complex shapes with possibly certain adjustments to adapt their shape to certain tiles allow fixing through the roofing . Complete decaling is then no longer necessary because the structure of the rails is above the roofing .

It is particularly important to respect the maximum distance between two rails recommended by the manufacturer as well as the maximum distance between two rafter attachments . If the rails are not long enough or need to be crossed, there are fishplates and many other connecting parts. Note that some solar panels can rotate a quarter of a turn, with their long side being vertical. It may then also be necessary to lay the rails vertically. The panels are then attached to the rails using hooks or bolts . Once all the panels are in place, you can attach the upper flashing and then refit the missing tiles or slates.

When installing solar panels on a waterproofing system , the support rails can be directly installed on them.

5. Connect the panels to the inverter

The inverter is an electronic device which transforms the unstable direct current output from the photovoltaic panels into an alternating current 220 V and a frequency of 50 Hz (frequency found on the Enedis network formerly ERDF). This inverter is itself connected on the one hand to the panels, and on the other hand to the non-consumption meter , which is found at the top of all individual electricity production installations connected to the network . It is imperative for this step to know how to read an electrical diagram.

It is necessary to connect certain panels in series, others in parallel in order to obtain voltage and current values ​​around the nominal values ​​expected by the inverter to preserve its longevity. Two panels with identical characteristics are connected in series if the positive terminal (+) of one is connected to the negative terminal (-) of the other; their tensions then add up.

If each panel produces a voltage of 12 V, the two panels in series produce a voltage of 24 V. If you connect terminals of the same polarity together, the panels are connected in parallel. This assembly produces a voltage of 12 V, but the intensity produced is the sum of the intensity produced by each panel . Please note, if you connect two groups of panels in series in parallel, the voltages of each group must be equal to preserve the panels and maximize their production.

What to plan for installing a solar panel


To install solar panels, you must be comfortable with working at height, covering, and know about waterproofing to avoid water leaks. You will need to ensure the proper fixing of the panels which must withstand harsh climatic conditions by installing hooks, rails, battens or even battens. Read instructions, know how to read a connection diagram, work safely (electrical intervention), install and connect an inverter, connecting electrical wires and fixing them to the wall, knowing how to use a drill-screwdriver and a circular saw are also prerequisites. Depending on the Solar energy in Australia and their method of fixing, you may need to install under-roof screening or a waterproofing system (by stapling in the first case and by screwing in the second). Good physical fitness is also necessary to work on a roof and handle the voltaic panels.

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