Do you live in a location where power outage is frequent? Maybe you need to install a solar power system to back up the supply from the grid. There’s nothing as annoying and frustrating as a power outage, especially when you are in the middle of something very important. And when it happens, it may take several hours before it is restored.
If the outage is caused by a thunderstorm, flood, or any other natural disaster, it is an entirely different story. It may take days or weeks before power is restored.
When that happens, what will happen to all the items in your freezer and refrigerator? They’re likely to go bad. That’s why you need an alternative power supply that will kick in when there’s a power failure.
This article explains what you need to know before setting up a solar power system in your house. First off, we explained the arrangement of solar power systems in homes. Secondly, we also discussed how to wire an inverter to your house. We broke it down into simple terms that everyone can understand.
We also gave common mistakes that people make while installing an inverter in their house. To wrap it up, we gave some safety tips because we believe that whatever you do, you should consider your safety first. Let’s get down to business right away.
Which Wire is Used for Inverter Wiring?
This requires one or two calculations to fathom the suitable wire size to use. In this calculation, power is equivalent to the proportionality of current and voltage. Therefore, for every 12v inverter with a wattage of 100W, the amperage it would supply equals 8.3amp.
Under 10ft distance will require 16AWG, while the more extensive the amp, the smaller the wire needed. You can do the calculation by yourself and choose the proper wire size for your inverter installation.
What Size Wire from Inverter to House?
The ultimate obligation is to find out the amperage of the house’s circuit breaker. This would enable you to know the type of inverter that would power the whole circuit in the house. For instance, homes that use 100amp would need an inverter of 1200W to power the entire house at 12v.
At this point, you’d need a wire gauge of 3AWG. In situations where the amperage is lower, the size of the wire will be larger. You can ask your service provider about how to go about this. This would aid you in having the best experiences.
Solar Power System Arrangements for Home:
To explain this, we will first list and explain the basic parts of a solar power system.
1. Solar Panels – These are the flat components that tap sunlight and convert it to DC current before sending it to your charge controller. They are usually on top of the roof, where they have direct access to the sun. The more solar panels you install, the more electricity you’ll get.
2. Charge Controller – The charge controller acts as the brain of the system. It links the solar panels to the batteries. In the afternoon, when the sun is shining, the charge controller sends part of the current it gets from the solar panels to charge the batteries, and it sends the other part to the inverter using the batteries as a link.
This will go on until the batteries are fully charged. When the batteries are charged, the charge controller now sends all the current it receives to the inverter using the batteries as a link.
In the evening, the sun will set, and it will get dark. Then, the charge controller will now begin to feed the inverter with the power stored in the batteries until they become weak or until the sun rises again the next day. The cycle goes on like that.
3. Batteries – They serve as a power bank. When the sun is shining, they get charged and wait until the sun goes down before they begin to feed the inverter with the power stored in them. The bigger, or the more the batteries, the more the power they’ll store. They can store enough power that will last for several days or weeks.
4. Inverter – As you may have heard, the current sent to the batteries is DC current, and electrical appliances are powered with AC current. So, the inverter converts the DC current to AC before sending it into your home.
Now that you know the functions of the basic parts of a solar power system let’s explain the arrangement. The solar panels are located on the roof. They tap sunlight and convert it to DC current. They send the current to the charge controller.
From the charge controller, the current goes into the batteries. From there, it goes into the inverter where it is converted to AC current. The inverter splits the current into two. A part goes into your home directly, while the other part goes to the grid.
How to Wire an Inverter to Your House? 5 Easy Tips
Step 1 – Install Your Solar Panels
This is the most difficult part of the installation. Since you have to install them on your roof, the task is also dangerous. We would advise that you hire a roofing expert to help you with this. You have to screw them into place so that the wind does not blow any of them out of place.
Step 2 – Connect the Charge Controller to The Solar Panels
The solar panels have two cables. Connect these cables to the charge controller. There are several outlets on the charger controller. Look for the one labeled solar panels. It has a pair of outlets.
One of them is positive, while the other is negative. Connect the positive cable from the solar panels to the positive outlet on the charge controller. Do the same for the negative cable.
Step 3 – Connect The Batteries to The Inverter
This is the easiest part of the task. Connect the positive terminal of the inverter to that of the battery head. Also, connect the negative terminal of the inverter to the negative battery head. Use the same type of cable all through.
Step 4 – Connect The Batteries to The Charge Controller
Go to the back of the charge controller. Look for an outlet for batteries. It has both positive and negative terminals. Connect the positive terminal of the charge controller to the positive terminal of the battery. Do the same for the negative terminal.
Step 5 – Connect The Inverter to Your House
This is another delicate part of the task. You may want to seek the help of an expert at this juncture. Power the inverter on and check its voltage with your voltmeter. It should be 230 volts.
Now, turn off the inverter and all your home appliances. Connect the inverter outlet to your house power mains. You can now turn on the inverter. You can begin to power your appliances one by one. It is better to start with the appliance that consumes the least voltage.
Does Inverter Need Separate Wiring?
Yes, it does for grounding. The wire that runs for the load from the inverter is different from the wire that runs into the inverter from the 12v DC battery. And the grounding wire running to the dc/ac grounding bus bar from the inverter is also different.
This is to ensure that the engine of the inverter works effectively. Grounding the inverter exquisitely will ensure that current flows effectively from one end to another while the excess current is assisted outside the unwanted environment through grounding. The wiring should be well shielded, and the environment should be free from conductors to ground impeccably.
Can You Plug an Inverter into the House Mains?
No, there is no way you can do this for safety reasons. The mains are power distribution points to which all the electrical circuits in the house are connected, including the breaker box. Connecting your inverter to the mains will be hectic, except if the mains could be connected to the inverter via a socket.
Even though it will be possible in some practical scenarios, it will be a hectic experience. In short, it’s not possible because inverters don’t have sockets unless some electrical expertise would be on full display.
Can You Plug an Inverter into a Wall Outlet?
An inverter converts DC to AC. So, it doesn’t make sense to connect the inverter to an AC power outlet. However, for a DC power source, it’s a YES. You can, but you’d require the expertise of an electrician to do this for you.
But it would help if you connect it to your breaker box than connecting it to the main through a wall outlet, which may resort to unpleasant results. Read the instruction booklet to learn how you’re to use your inverter.
How Do I Connect My Inverter to My Breaker Box?
- An inverter converts DC power flow to AC power current for domestic use. Therefore, connecting the inverter to a DC power source is the best way to start this.
- Ensure you use the power source with the corresponding voltage with the inverter. Then, open the breaker box so that you can connect the inverter to the breaker box.
- Connect the wires from the terminal to their designated breakers’ points. The red wire protruding from the red terminal should be fixed and screwed into the circuit breaker’s slot with the red-color toggle, and the black wire should also be directed to the other side.
- Notwithstanding, you can choose to merge two or more inverters to get a massive outcome. Linking two inverters before connecting their sum to the breaker box increases the amount of voltage that would run to your circuits.
- You can use wires to connect two or more inverters at their ends. Do this before inserting the wires into the circuit breakers. In addition, make proper calculations before fixing an added inverter’s voltage to the circuit breaker.
- Ensure that the slot on the circuit breaker you are connecting to the resultant of the merged inverters has its amperage 20amp more than the amperage of the merged inverter.
Costly Mistakes to Avoid:
1. Not tilting the Solar Panels
In addition to being installed on the roof of your house, you need to tilt the solar panels at least 10 degrees for optimum performance. When you tilt the panels, you will get more power from them. A lot of people just place the panels at the top of their roofs without tilting them. Avoid such mistakes.
2. Not Checking The Panels
Some people just install the panels and forget about them. You need to keep checking your solar panels regularly. In case there’s a crack on any of the panels, you can quickly fix it or replace the affected panel.
Debris and bird droppings can also reduce the performance of the solar panels. That’s why you need to clean the panels regularly. If you don’t check your solar panels, you won’t know their condition.
3. Improper Wiring
Another common mistake to avoid is improper wiring. You need to connect positive to positive and negative to negative. If you are not sure of which is which, seek assistance. Also, some people forget o mate the connecting cables.
In addition, if you’re upgrading from a lower capacity inverter to a higher capacity inverter, you need to upgrade your wires too. Don’t use the old wires for the new inverter. People make this particular mistake. Avoid it.
4. Not Reading The Owner Manual
People make some mistakes because they don’t take the time to read the owner manual through. When they now run into a hitch, they’ll rush through the manual to find a solution.
There are so many problems you can avoid by reading your manual before you start the installation. The manual contains information and instructions on installation, wiring, usage, and maintenance. Remember, a man who doesn’t read has no advantage over a man who can’t read.
1. Secure Yourself at The Top
We have advised you to hire a professional roofer to install your solar panels. However, if you must install it yourself, you need a safety anchor tool.
This will secure you if you miss your footing on your roof. Even if you live in a bungalow, you’ll still sustain some injuries if you fall off the roof.
2. Don’t Do it Alone
Two heads are better than one. Also, two pairs of hands can perform more tasks than a pair. So, for safety reasons, don’t go to the top of your roof alone. Seek help so that both of you can watch each other’s back. Even professionals don’t install solar panels alone.
3. Don’t Work Through a Wind
When you’re on top of your roof and it becomes windy, quickly stop what you’re doing and come down as quickly as you can. The wind may get worse and more violent.
4. Never Climb a Ladder With a Solar Panel on Your Hand
You will increase your chances of falling off a ladder when you climb it with a solar panel on your hand. It is safer to hoist the panels up to the roof one after the other.
If you have been following through, you should now be able to name and explain the functions of the basic parts of a solar power system. You should also be able to wire an inverter to your house now. Most importantly, don’t just keep the information to yourself. Share it.