Do It Yourself Solar Power? – Easy DIY Solar Panel Installation!

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so a lot of people think that solar panels are actually pretty fragile but that's not the case i am currently walking on top of some and i weigh about 200 pounds now obviously this isn't something you want to do on a regular basis they are made of glass but still can't be a j-rig everything video without a durability test [Music] [Applause] [Music] jerryrig headquarters is currently powered by 100 renewable solar energy and in today's video i'm going to show you how i installed these so there are a ton of places to buy solar panels but i found that i could do it myself for about half the price i've partnered up with a company called solar wholesale that actually sells diy kits that include everything you need in one convenient package including the custom installation plans that you need for your permits from your city also keep in mind that these solar panels will retain 80 percent of their energy producing ability for the next 30 years and then continue producing electricity far longer than that and even though i went into this project knowing that i was going to install solar myself i did price out other options and it turns out tesla was one of the more fairly priced out there so if you don't want to install seoul yourself tesla's a good option and i'll leave a 250 discount for them also down in the description all right there is a lot of information to go over and not a lot of time to do it so let's get started [Applause] [Music] the biggest perk of working with solar wholesale is this plan set the plan set is the instruction booklet designed specifically for my house with all the information i need to get the permits and approvals from my city along with the plan set they ship every single part that i need to install my solar system in one big kit which makes the whole project much easier since the parts just work together right out of the box plus the solar panels are made right here in the united states getting someone like tesla to come install the solar for you is still worth it of course it just takes a few more years to break even but either way you're still making a positive impact on the environment and lowering your electricity bill from the moment the panels get connected remember every house is going to have a slightly different roof line and different energy needs which is why it's nice to have this plant set that was custom made to my specific situation this is the wiring diagram all this makes a lot more sense when you have the parts right in front of you so last time i was climbing up my roof i broke my wrist so there's that so we've laid out where the perimeter of the panels are going to be on the roof with a lumber cran and a chalk line and this will just help us visualize where the panels are going to be and where we're going to lay the rack that the panels rest on top of it'll all start making sense in a minute so in order to attach the racking system to the roof we need to find the trusses that are underneath the shingles and the plywood an easiest way to do that is with a hammer listen closely you can hear the difference between the loose area of roof and the solid area of roof and that's where we want to drill down and attach our lag bolts we could tell by the resistance that the drill bit had all the way down through the wood that we hit you know a stud we had something good to tie into so once you've found your first trust all of the rest will be in the same spots so if you're working by yourself you can just attach the tape to the drill bit that's still in the stud and mark two feet on center all the way down the roof so before we can attach the rails that hold the panels we have to put the flashing down and i'll explain what the flashing does in a second before i can put the flashing down i do have to put some of this clear sealant in a u-shape around the hole that the lag bolt goes through and then i'm also going to put some clear sealant into the hole because the whole point of this is to keep water out of the roof then i can lift up some of the shingles slide the flashing underneath and then this is the part that holds the rail we'll put the lag bolt through the opening into the holes we've pre-drilled earlier and then we'll ratchet it down into place [Laughter] so now the flashing is in place we can visually see how it keeps water out of the roof you know the water will run down the roof and it won't go into the holes we just drilled especially if you missed a hole in how to drill an extra one as well as each of these bolts right here have a black washer around the top which also helps seal to keep the water out so the reason i decided to go with the snap and rack system is because these little l feet right here are adjustable up and down so the rail can adjust underneath the panels to keep the panels level and the reason is called a snap and lock system is because the rails sit right on top of these little feet and they click into place just like you know a little lego the rail itself is black which makes a little more aesthetic on top of the roof and it can slide forward and backward inside of the channel as we're positioning it and there's a channel inside of the rail that hides the wires for all the micro inverters so the rails are up and it's micro inverter time so the micro inverters they're held in place with these little metal pieces which can just dip into the rail and then clip up into place the reason we decided to go with micro inverters over other inverters is one they're easy to install and two they're much safer they convert the power from dc to ac right at the panel and if one panel does get covered by like let's say snow or a shadow from a tree the rest of the panels keep on working which isn't always true of other types of inverters so all of our solar panels are on the roof and there has to be a way to get the power from the roof into the house we do that with something called a roof junction box we have to drill a small hole in the roof and normally this would be enough if you have attic space but in this particular building we do not so we're going to drill a bigger hole fish the wire through the wall and pull it up through the top the bigger hole is still fine though because the roof junction box once we seal it up with that clear sealant we'll make sure no water runs inside the shingles just fit down over the flashing and no water will be able to get into the attic space so the cable that connects all of the micro inverters together is called a trunk cable this is what brings the power from the micro inverters down to the roof junction box so the trunk cable is laid down inside of the rail we've put some electrical tape over the connection and then we just zip tie the whole thing to keep it secure so remember every house is going to be a little bit different but this is the exterior roof junction box and we have the yellow wire running through inside the attic space all of these wires were provided in my kit but we need to switch from the yellow insulated wire which is indoor wire to exterior wire when we're running it through the conduit this gray stuff down along the side of the house this junction box is where we're going to start feeding the exterior wire down through there and then into the breaker panel so since these trunk cables are generic they're probably not cut to length just yet and so we're just going to chop it where we need it and remove the extra plugs then we can take these two trunk cables inside of this junction box and connect it to the insulated yellow wires down to our exterior junction box on the wall so we're just about to start laying panels and because of how many panels are on this roof i have to have two arrays which means that there's two trunk cables coming into this junction box you might be wondering what we've done down here on this section of roof and it's because we can fit more panels if we run them horizontally so we've laid the rails out in a different way and that just shows that no matter what your roof looks like we can always orient the panels to most utilize the space so this copper wire right here is called a system ground and it's tied into each one of these rails with little spikes and clips so if any electrical anomalies like faulting or lightning happens it'll just transfer the electricity right into the ground heading down to the junction box so let's talk about setting the solar panels and wire management for a second right now we have three panels in place and a fourth one right here ready to snap in each solar panel has two wires on the back that plug into the micro inverter the micro inverter can hold four panels at a time then it runs down the trunk cable all the way to the roof junction box down there at the end the dc wires are at one end of the panel so we're running the wire end down the center line so they can easily plug into the micro inverters that we have placed on the rail remember that none of these wires can be touching the roof so there are little eyelets at the bottom that we can zip tie the wires to we can also twist them together a little bit to make sure that nothing is touching the shingles before we plug them in so this little guy right here is called the mid clamp this is what clips into the rail and holds a panel on either side there's a myth going around that solar panels aren't very green because of how much energy it takes to produce them in the first place and that's also not necessarily true depending on where the solar panels are manufactured it takes anywhere from six months to three years for a solar panel to offset the carbon it took to make it in the first place which isn't very much time considering how long its life span is another perk of the panels that came in my solar wholesale kit is that they are black on black no silver frames and something to think about when you're picking out panels i got the black ones so they blend into the roof a bit more another perk of having the micro inverters is that the system is totally modular we can add panels or take away panels as much as we want and we don't have to worry about the junction box or like limiting our system to a certain size when we set it up the first time it can always be expanded the nice thing about the snap and rack system is that every fastener on this project is either a phillips head screw or a half inch sprocket which makes the installation go pretty quick because you're not looking for all kinds of tools so now we have our solar panels installed we've left our rails a bit long to give ourselves a bit of leeway and now we can just cut them off so these in-clamps basically slide into the channel and then when we tighten this bolt right here at the end it snugs it up tight and holds the panel in place then these plastic end caps snap on to keep everything looking aesthetic from the ground [Music] [Applause] [Music] all right so let me tell you what's going on electrically here for a second we actually haven't connected the wires yet this is the panel that's powering the house we're in right now and we've drilled a hole through the panel to the outside and then these two boxes out here that we just installed are going to take the power from the solar panels on the roof bring them into this box combine all the panels and then head over here to the solar disconnect which can actually disconnect all of the power from the solar panels heading into the house it's a safety thing when working with the wires in the electrical part of the solar system remember to one follow local cold nb follow your plan set it'll explain everything you need to know so we have the larger array up here the smaller array down here at the bottom and they're all connected in this joiner box here in the center all the wires from the roof and this side panel over here feed into this and you can see these ground wires these copper wires that were attached to the rails all those are heading down to the breaker box which i'll show you in a second now we can tuck all these wires inside the box and close it up so down here in the breaker box this is what's accepting the two strings that i have each of the strings has their own 20 amp breaker black and red go in the bottom and the ground goes over here on the side so remember there's two kinds of solar system there's grid tied and off grid we installed a grid tied system here which means that the solar panels need to sense the grid before they start supplying power to my house if those micro inverters up top don't sense power from the grid they're going to stay off so i can touch these wires all i want because we're not attached to the grid yet if you want an off-grid system there's a few other components you need to install and maybe i'll make a video about that later but this is all about grid tied if you do want to use your solar panels when the city power goes out you would need a battery or a generator it's pretty cool that all of those solar panels just come down into these six wires makes it pretty simple and now we're gonna connect that breaker panel to the solar disconnect with this thicker gauge wire and it should just uh go through the hole and we can wire it up now we're gonna take the same thickness of wire and push it through to the breaker panel on the other side of the wall so this is still not connected inside of the house so no power is running to it from the panels up top or from the grid basically this safety shut off is called a knife blade switch so right now it's connected and watch these metal bars right here when i turn it off the metal bars knife away and break the connection and remember since this is a grid tied system once those micro inverters up top stop sensing the power they turn off and there's no power running anywhere in the solar system so up to this point we haven't been working with any live wires this is the part where we start working in a place where there could be power now we have shut off power to this particular panel but if you're feeling a little uneasy about working next to live power you know the grid you can always hire someone to do this particular portion for you if you remember these three wires are coming in from that safety shut off outside and we have an empty slot in the breaker panel where we're just going to connect these wires one into the ground and then the other two into the breaker which connects the solar on my house to the grid and now my solar wires are connected to the breaker box and the system is on so we powered everything on it's connected and working but i still need to get my final inspection and have my meter changed out so it'll read power going both directions that whole process will take me about a week or two but for you guys that time has already passed my meter is installed and we are pumping out green energy the energy that i don't use during the day flows out to the grid this meter keeps track of it and then i get that energy back at night as a 90 credit the energy company takes 10 off the top because they can and they're acting as my battery which is convenient for me with an on-grid system i'll show you what the app looks like in a second the one that shows how much solar i'm actually making in real time but yeah the inspector came by checked all the wiring made sure none of the cables were touching the roof and said we could flip the switch i think it's been a pretty fun project since my panels are in the sun all day long not shaded by any trees or not on the wrong side of the house these will pay themselves off in about nine years that's without any government incentives now if we do factor in the state and federal incentives they'll pay themselves off in about six years so these panels will keep making electricity all throughout my lifetime and keep producing power even long after i'm gone which is pretty awesome remember these are just ballpark numbers that i've estimated i do have an app that keeps track of everything for me so i'll probably make a follow-up video in about a year to see if my estimates are correct so if we take a look at the app that is currently on my phone it's telling us in real time how much energy we are generating so 7671 watts and then over the lifespan of my solar panels they've generated 843 kilowatt hours and what's cool is we can go into today's energy right here and see exactly the solar projection that it's made you can see here in the morning the sun came out and we started making more electricity throughout the day if we go back a day we can see that this day was pretty cloudless up until about noon and then clouds kind of like came over and started blocking the solar panels a little bit but we still made 48 kilowatt hours of energy and the last thing i want to show you is if we go right here we can see the production per module so as the day progresses you can see which modules might be blocked by shade from a tree or shade from your roof and you can see that they're all working the financial incentive to doing solar panels is worth it all by itself but the whole less air pollution and saving the planet thing is pretty cool too and that's it i will leave both links down in the video description for you the solar wholesale as well as the tesla link both with their discount codes and you can see which one works best for you personally i kind of like the do-it-yourself side of things but i totally understand if you want someone else to install it for you i'll always be hanging out down in the comments to answer some questions if you have any and i'll probably make a follow-up video in about a year or so to kind of update you and see how it's uh see how it's been producing for me so make sure you're subscribed thanks a ton for watching and i'll see you around

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