Read This Before Installing Your Solar Panels
There are 2 types of solar panels: the photovoltaic solar panel produces electricity, and the thermal solar panel produces heat.
You can install a solar thermal panel in your garden to heat your pool water. Photovoltaic solar panels can be installed in a field to produce electricity.
You can also install a thermal panel on the ground, connected to a water heater for the house.
Note well: A solar panel should not be installed in any way.
For optimal performance, the installation of solar panels must be very precise and depends on the orientation and architecture of the building.
Solar panel installation: a professional job
The installation of photovoltaic solar panels on a roof, a facade, or a garden is not obvious. Especially for building-integrated photovoltaic solar panels! You must entrust this step to a professional installer.
It is also a matter of installing the regulator and the inverter, which transforms the generated direct current into the alternating current used in the house.
The installation of thermal solar panels is often more straightforward. There are even kits to install yourself in the case of a thermal panel to heat a pool or portable solar panels for motor homes.
However, the installation of the storage tank and the connection to the rest of the sanitary structure may require the intervention of a professional solar panel installer.
Orientation of the solar panel: due south for optimal performance
Often, the architecture of the building requires that you install the solar panel. But if you are given a choice, or in the case of new construction, think carefully about the positioning. The production can be divided by two if you do not choose the proper criteria! The yield depends directly on the orientation and inclination of the solar panel.
The best way to install a solar panel is to face south. In the northern hemisphere, the sun’s rays come from the south. A southeast or southwest orientation is also suitable.
However, if you don’t have a choice, orienting your panel to the east or west can give a decent yield if you adjust the panel’s tilt.
Read more: Orientation of Solar Panels
Photovoltaic panels produce electricity, and thermal panels produce heat; both are ideally installed on the roof of a building, which offers the necessary inclination for the best yield.
The solar panel installed on the roof can be installed or integrated into the building. You can also install the panel in the front of a house.
Roofs: the ideal solution for solar panels
Solar panels, whether thermal or photovoltaic, you should find an ideal place on the roof of a building. The roof of a building generally has a perfect inclination for installing a photovoltaic or thermal solar panel. For example:
– Tilt: the panel must be tilted precisely (about 30° depending on the type) for optimal yield.
– Safety: installed on a roof, solar panels are less accessible and therefore more protected from possible accidents. On the other hand, they become a little more complicated to maintain, as a ladder is required!
– Space: solar panels are bulky (at least 2 m²). The roofs present the ideal large surface available to install a thermal or photovoltaic panel.
– Height: In thermal solar panels, the water tank must be as close as possible to the solar installation. The thermal panel is often close to the bathrooms and the water distribution system when installed on the roof.
Roofs and facades: photovoltaic panel installed or integrated into the building?
There are two options for installing photovoltaic solar panels:
– Building-integrated: the panels are then used as building materials. They replace tiles, balcony facades, sunshades, etc. They are part of the roof or walls, or even the glass roof or other. This is only possible for buildings under construction.
– Non-integrated: the photovoltaic modules are placed on the roof, façade, terrace, etc. This option makes it possible to install photovoltaic panels on an old house.
The advantages of integrating the photovoltaic panel into the building are the higher feed-in tariffs.
Facades: alternative or complementary option
Installing a photovoltaic or thermal solar panel on a façade can be interesting if:
– the available surface on the roof is not sufficient to install all the panels;
– you install a thermal panel to heat domestic water and pool water: the panel is then halfway between the pool and the hot water tank
In all cases, it is necessary to ensure that the inclination of the panel will be sufficient for correct output.
A panel installed in front of the pool is more accessible for maintenance.
Solar panel in the garden: solar thermal panel for the pool
A solar thermal panel installed in your garden will allow you to heat the water of your pool for free.
They are thermal panels with “carpet” collectors, made of black rubber, on which it is possible to walk. It is advisable to install them close to the pool to avoid heat loss.
The solar thermal panels are placed on the ground and connected to your pool by a pump that sucks the water and sends it back to the pool. The system can also be connected directly to your pool’s filter pump.
Garden: install the solar panel on the ground connected to the water heater
Solar thermal panels allow you to produce domestic hot water for free. In a solar water heater with separate thermosiphon elements, the water is not pumped and circulates naturally.
Several types of solar water heaters exist. If you choose this model, you must install the hot water tank above the solar panel. In this case, it is more convenient to install solar thermal panels on the ground.
Please limit the distance between the tank and the thermal panel to avoid heat loss.
You can then choose to connect the installation to your pool to heat the water in the pool.
Garden: a field of photovoltaic solar panels
Photovoltaic solar panels produce electricity from the sun’s energy. Installed in a garden, they are connected to the regulator and the inverter installed inside the house.
Attention: a photovoltaic solar panel is less protected from accidents if installed on the ground! It will, however, be more accessible for maintenance and annual cleaning. Instead, you should install solar panels on the roof or the front of the building for private usage.
Farmers can choose an unused field or a large uncultivable area to install a field of photovoltaic panels. The significant electrical production can then be sold or used for the operation of the farm. Therefore, individuals with a large garden area can also make this choice.