10 Сommon Mistakes in Home Solar Installations

In Ukraine, households continue to install more and more solar power stations (SPS) from year to year. Thus, State Agency on Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving of Ukraine reports that over the past 4 years, the number of home SPSs has increased 375 times.

In 2019, 1400 Ukrainian families have already installed home SPSs, which is 2.5 times more than during the same period in 2018.

Currently, there are 3 main types of solar systems:

  • grid;
  • off grid;
  • hybrid solar systems (derived from the first two types).

Today, grid solar systems are the most common, since they allow inexpensive conversion of solar energy into electricity, which is then delivered to the general grid.

Off grid solar system is less widespread as electrification of the territory of Ukraine is about 95%. Nevertheless, sometimes it’s necessary to use them in places where there is no electrical grid or there are critical grid loads and disconnecting from the general grid often takes place.

Hybrid solar power station is a combined system that provides special facilities to its owner. Due to charging storage batteries, it can provide you with separateness and also allow you to send your surplus electricity to the general grid. A hybrid solar station successfully combines the properties of off grid and grid solar systems. Naturally, such device will cost more.

First of all, you should choose the right type of power station you want to install. To determine the right type of solar system, you should answer “why do I need a solar power station?” to identify your needs.

The answer may be as follows:

  1. Savings or income;
  2. Separateness or reservation of electricity.

Only after you decide on the SPS’s type, you can buy equipment and spare parts for it.

We have identified 10 common mistakes in home solar installations.

1. Miscalculating of PV module output (depending on their orientation).

Facing south is the best possible orientation of PV modules, but sometimes it’s not possible to install all of them in this direction. Deviation from south by more than 30 degrees will lead to a sharp decrease in the PV modules’ performance.

Therefore, in order to increase the SPS’s efficiency, the installed capacity of solar modules should exceed the inverter’s power. This will ensure a more stable operation of your station during the day and increase its electricity generation.

2. Mistakes in wind loading consideration while installing the PV modules.

250-W PV modules, the height of which is 1.65 m, are often used for home solar power stations. But recently, 320-W modules (2 m high) have become popular. That is, if you don’t make any changes in a structure, designed for the 1.65 -m PV modules, your new modules will run out significantly, and this can cause their malfunctioning at wind loading.

3. Placing inverters in a wrong way.

Due to incorrect placement, inverters can overheat in hot weather. Thus, when installing inverters, the following factors should be taken into consideration:

– Don’t place the inverter too high in rooms of up to 2 meters high (that is, do not install it under the ceiling);

– Make sure that the inverter is not exposed to direct sunlight;

– Ventilation of small rooms is required in the summer.

4. Improper use of automatic switches and fuses for protecting the solar PV power station.

5. Incorrect designing and installation of grounding systems and impulse voltage protection. 

For lightning impulse voltage protection to work effectively, a new grounding must be made, taking into account the fact that the new wires must be from the maintenance board and the old wires at 50 cm.

6. Misuse of connection cables.

It’s necessary to use power cables up to 1000 V, taking into account the maximum voltage.

7. PV panel rows are placed too close so that they are shading each other.

8. A large deviation of the PV panels from south.

A large deviation from south (for more than 30 degrees) will lead to a decrease in the PV panels’ performance.

9. Incorrect positioning of PV modules (wrong angle with the horizon).

The default value is a tilt angle equal to the station’s latitude of the station (the best option for a grid solar system).

10. Insufficient ventilation of solar panels.

There should be free air flow between the roof and the solar module for abstract of heat. While heating, power of the solar panels is reduced (temperature coefficient of power is usually indicated in specifications of PV panels, and, at an average, it’s equal to -0.35% on 1 degree of heating).

Moreover, to remove any malfunction quickly, it is crucial to have a complete set of spare parts ready. The required number of spare parts depends on the size of the station and its location.

Anyway, it is necessary to have the following spare parts for your solar station:

  • Spare parts for the SPS’s maintenance;
  • Distribution boxes;
  • Fuses;
  • DC and AC cables;
  • Switching equipment;
  • Solar modules (in preparation for your operating solar modules’ damage);
  • Spare inverters;
  • If you are using solar tracking systems, spare motors, gear systems and sensors should also be there.


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The official data from the State Agency on Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving of Ukraine


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