Solar Power Electrical Requirements 101

Does anyone even read the manual before they start building something? Lucky for you, the Solar Bear team does but it’s also a great idea for owners to have a baseline knowledge of solar systems so they can make informed decisions during the installation process. Today, we’ll take a quick look at solar panel electrical requirements and what they entail. Don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz!

As you begin a solar system journey, it is critical to consider the rated size, or capacity, of your home’s electrical panel. This is the central area where all circuit breakers will be housed and act as the clearinghouse for all incoming and outgoing power from your panels.

Until about the 1970s, most homes were built with 100 amps electrical panels. Fast forward to the newer and larger builds that required the more powerful 200 amps panels. Because of the significant difference in these panels, electrical code rules limit the size of the solar system that can be installed. If a home needs a larger system than the electrical panel can support, there are a couple of ways to upgrade the panel. During a consultation, the Solar Bear team can identify and recommend all available options for your home.

However, in order to size your system effectively there are some terms that will be helpful to know. Utility companies will bill electricity on a cost per kilowatt hour. A kilowatt hour (kWH) is a unit of measurement that calculates how much energy is used over a period of time. You can find out how many kWh your home uses monthly by looking at your electricity bill. Voltage drop is another term that may be helpful to learn as you install your solar system. This occurs as a current moves through an electrical circuit, causing a small amount of voltage to drop due to its resistance in the wires. Check out our blog post on voltage drop for a more in depth look.

Though there may be a learning curve with things like the 120% rule or reading an electrical wiring diagram, the Solar Bear Tampa team can help from start to finish. Our team prides itself on providing solar energy education and transparency to all clients. Get your free estimate or give us a call at (813) 922-3735 for more information.