Pre-Engineered Solar Kits Make DIY Feasible

Solar kits that are so simple to install are making many homeowners feel comfortable with the process. The conventional approach to residential solar grid-tied and off-grid system installations involves design, engineering, documentation, sourcing of components, receiving and handling, warehousing and unique on-site installation. With America’s economy struggling, homeowners are looking for an alternative approach to hireing a solar installer and turing to DIY kits. That means larger solar distributors are coming up with simple home solar kits that include all the drawings and even the permit application.

Certain grid tied and off-grid solar system packages (kits) contain all the major components needed for installation, including modules, inverter, racking and minor parts like fittings and hardware for module fastening and grounding. A typical exception is the wiring and conduite between the array and the inverter, which must be sized for the particular installation. Solar system pre-engineered packages are bundled in a distributor’s warehouse and shipped via common carrier. The off-the-shelf solar kits typically come delivered on three or more plastic wrapped pallets.

Pre-engineered grid-tied and off-grid solar packages are available in a wide range of combinations. To be viable, solar kits must offer sufficient variation to match most real world situations in terms of physical array size, energy production requirements, price and component manufacturer preferences. In some cases, solar kits without racking may be available, thereby increasing a system’s flexibility as it can be used with flat roof, ground- or top-of-pole mount applications.

Using a pre-engineered solar kit frees the homeowner from the sometimes scarry details of system design; they are guaranteed a reliable, proven and standard system. The specified inverter and modules are carefully paired. The solar module string sizing is not only correct, but it also incorporates a safety margin allowing the system to function well in a range of conditions and locations. The bottom line is that solar kits eliminate most of the design time that even experienced solar installers would need to spend on a specific home or off-grid cabin project.

Home grid tied and off-grid solar products will eventually dominate the market they are developed by distributors,
manufacturers or installers. As the home do-it-yourself (DIY) market continues to grow, the disparity between the largest and smallest solar companies will also increase. Home solar electric systems will continue their evolution from custom designed systems to off-the-shelf DIY plug-n-play electricity generating “appliances.” Pre-engineered solar kits will continue to play a key role in this evolution.

Source Solar Professional Magazine by Mike Baur