What Equipment Do You Need for a Do It Yourself Solar Installation?

What Equipment Do You Need for a Do It Yourself Solar Installation?


When people see solar panels advertised for a price per panel of $180-300 each, they often end up surprised at how much the total equipment package costs when all is said and done.  You can’t just plug a solar panel straight into your house and let it run (but wouldn’t that be sweet).  What equipment do you need for a do it yourself solar installation?  Let’s break it down based on the different types of equipment.

String Inverter System

A string inverter system is the simplest type of solar panel system.  All the panels are connected in 1 or 2 circuits with not a lot of extra equipment.  You’ll need:

  • Solar panels
  • A central inverter
  • A monitoring system
  • Rails
  • Clamps
  • Mounting brackets
  • Grounding wire (usually #6 bare copper)
  • PV wire (usually #10AWG with a thicker insulation)
  • Conduit
  • Safety labels

Microinverter System

  • Solar panels
  • One or two solar panels per microinverter (we like the dual input microinverter from APSystems)
  • A monitoring system compatible with your microinverters
  • Rails
  • Clamps
  • Mounting brackets
  • Grounding wire (usually #6 bare copper)
  • AC wire (usually #12AWG, 3 conductors per circuit)
  • Conduit
  • Safety labels

SolarEdge System

The SolarEdge system is a unique and advanced technology that combines the best of the string inverter and microinverter worlds.  Here’s what one of their systems includes.

  • Solar panels
  • A DC optimizer for each panel
  • A wall or pole mounted inverter
  • A monitoring system
  • Rails
  • Clamps
  • Mounting brackets
  • Grounding wire (usually #6 bare copper)
  • PV wire (enough to connect the ends of your optimizer chains to the inverter)
  • Conduit
  • Safety labels

Off Grid or Hybrid System

Off grid or hybrid (think “backup power”) systems require many extra parts to make sure the batteries charge properly and don’t get fried.

  • Solar panels
  • 1 or more charge controllers to connect the panels to the batteries
  • Flooded lead acid, AGM, or lithium ion batteries (We like AGM batteries for safety and cost effectiveness.)
  • An inverter/charger
  • Circuit breakers for each part of the circuit
  • An optional extra electrical panel dedicated to your critical circuits
  • A power distribution panel
  • A monitoring system
  • An automatic generator start
  • A communication box
  • Rails
  • Clamps
  • Mounting brackets
  • Grounding wire (usually #6 bare copper)
  • PV wire
  • Conduit
  • Safety labels

Want to know more?  Do you need help figuring out a cost effective system that can power what you need?  Email info@alinekc.com and ask us anything about the equipment you’d need.

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