Worker doing maintenance on a solar array

A step-by-step solar panel installation guide

Have you ever wondered what’s involved in installing solar panels on your roof? Chances are, unless you’re an electrician or solar expert, you wouldn’t be attempting a solar installation yourself. Solar installers are experienced and qualified to install all types of solar products, including panels, inverters, batteries, hot water systems and more.

But if you’re curious about what takes place to ensure your solar panels are installed correctly on your roof, check out this handy guide on solar installation.

1. Assess the best roof position

Before installing anything, you need to consider the best placement for your panels. In New Zealand, because we’re in the southern hemisphere, your panels should ideally face north. If north isn’t possible, you should certainly choose north-east or north-west, whichever is most convenient. This ensures your solar panel are exposed to sunlight for as many hours of the day as possible.

2. Consider if additional mounting is required

Most solar panels are mounted flat against your roof, taking advantage of the roof’s natural pitch. Believe it or not, the angle of your solar panels can also increase or decrease efficiency. You can actually determine this by adding 15 to your home’s latitude. So, if your latitude is 30 degrees, add 15 and your ideal solar panel tilt is 45 degrees. However, that applies mostly in summer. In winter, the ideal tilt is your latitude MINUS 15 degrees. So, if you have the ability to secure panels to an adjustable mount, you can get more efficiency throughout the year.

On most homes, following the pitch of your roof will be fine, but if you have a flat roof, you may want to consider additional mounting to increase the angle.

3. Fix solar panels to mounting

Once you’ve sorted out what type of mounting you need, and secured your mounting to the roof, it’s time to attach the solar panels. This is usually a quite simple process, using a series of nuts and bolts. Naturally, the more secure your panels, the longer they will last.

4. Wiring

We won’t go into great detail about the wiring because this should really be handled by a licensed electrician. However, in very basic terms, your solar panels need to be connected together. This is usually done by connecting the positive wire of one PV module to another module’s negative wire. However, all panel systems are different and may require different wiring, so this is best left to the professionals to avoid damaging your panels.

5. Connecting to your inverter

Essentially, the positive wire of your solar panels should be connected to the positive terminal of the inverter. The negative wire should connect to the negative terminal. Again, though, with different types of inverters, there may be alternative requirements.

6. Connecting batteries

If you’ve also chosen battery storage, you can now connect your battery to the inverter. Again, positive connects to positive and negative connects to negative. If you don’t have a battery, you can skip this step.

7. Solar inverter to main grid connection

Finally, you need a regular plug to connect your solar inverter to your home’s main switchboard. There is also an output wire that connects to your home, ensuring solar energy can be converted to usable energy and transferred to your home.

Need help with professional solar installation?

For high-quality solar systems that deliver real value to your household, look no further than RCR. We specialise in both residential and commercial solar installations, and we’d be more than happy to discuss your needs. Contact our friendly team today and find out why it makes sense to switch to solar.


Can I do a solar installation myself?
While it is technically possible for you to install your own solar system, it really isn’t recommended. There’s a lot of wiring involved, not to mention the connection to the main switchboard. Unless you’ve got an electrical background, it can be extremely risky to work with solar panels yourself.

In addition, if products aren’t installed correctly, you may find that your warranty is voided and it can be very costly if something goes wrong.

How expensive is solar installation?
Believe it or not, solar installation isn’t terribly expensive. All solar installers will be different, of course, but most include the installation as part of your package. If you buy solar panels, inverters and batteries from an authorised solar retailer, it’s likely they will be also able to handle the installation for you, and it won’t add much to the overall cost.

Can I clean solar panels myself?
While DIY solar installation isn’t usually recommended, cleaning your panels is another story. It’s worth cleaning your panels once or twice a year to remove any grime and dust that may have built up. This will help maintain good solar efficiency. As long as you’re safe when getting onto your roof, cleaning is really just a matter of wiping the panels down with some warm, soapy water. Don’t use cleaning chemicals, as they can damage panels and isn’t necessary.


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