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How to Install Solar Panels on a Roof

Capturing and converting the sun's energy with This Old House energy expert Ross Trethewey

In this video, This Old House energy expert Ross Trethewey installs solar panels.

Steps:

1. On the roof, lay out the locations of the stanchions that will support the solar panels.

2. Screw each stanchion through the roof and into a roof rafter. Also, be sure the stanchion flashing fits beneath the roof shingles to prevent leaks.

3. Fasten the upper and lower aluminum rails to the stanchions with stainless steel bolts. Tighten the bolts with an impact driver.

4. Measure diagonally across from the end of the upper rail to the end of the lower rail. Repeat to measure the opposite diagonal distance. If the two measurements are equal, then the rails are square. If they're not equal, adjust one of the rails.

5. Now install the middle rail, aligning it with the upper and lower rail.

6. Run electrical conduit and wiring up to each array of solar panels.

7. Install a micro inverter beneath each solar panel, effectively wiring the panels in parallel with each other, not in series.

8. Securely attach a 6-gauge bare copper grounding wire to each inverter, which will ground the entire system.

9. Make the wire connections from the location of one array of solar panels to the next.

10. Set the solar panel onto the stanchions, snap together the plug connections, then screw the retaining clips to the rails to secure the panel.

11. From inside the basement, complete the electrical work by extending the wires from the solar panels, through a new electrical meter and into an electrical sub-panel.