Solar panels may seem like simple devices at a glance: they generate electric power when exposed to sunlight, which can then be used to power multiple devices in your building. Since this reduces the amount of electricity consumed from the grid, your power bills decrease. However, you first need to identify the areas of your roof that get the most sunshine, while avoiding areas that are constantly shaded by neighboring buildings or other obstacles.
Calculating the optimal number of solar panels and their ideal layout is one step in the design process, but there are other important design decisions.
- You need a reliable racking system that will hold your solar panels in place, which must also be compatible with your roof type.
- You need one or more solar inverters of the right capacity, which convert the DC power output of solar panels into the AC power needed by your appliances and equipment.
Solar panels must also be divided into groups with similar power generation profiles, before they are wired together and connected to an inverter. For example, solar panels will be more productive in the morning if they face east, and more productive in the afternoon if they face west. If you connect solar panels that have different generation profiles, they interfere with each other and the total electricity output is decreased.
Keep in mind that solar panels need suitable wiring and protection devices, like all other electrical systems. This includes DC circuit breakers for components behind the inverter, and AC circuit breakers after their power output has been converted to this form. Solar PV systems are subject to the NYC Electrical Code, and they must be approved by the NYC Department of Buildings before you can proceed with the installation.
By working with a qualified firm like NY Engineers, you can get a solar PV system design that meets the needs of your building, while ensuring an approval and permit. We can specify a solar panel array that will integrate seamlessly with your existing electrical installation.