The main electrical panel is an integral component of your home’s electrical system, receiving power from the utility company and distributing it to the circuits powering appliances. Solar panels would count as an additional energy source, and the extra power load may short the main electrical panel.
Are you planning on going solar? Here is a brief guide on when and why you should upgrade your main electrical panel.
When is a Main Electrical Panel Upgrade Necessary?
The main electrical panel consists of many breakers channeling electricity to different circuits throughout your home. It also features one main breaker that channels power to the other breakers.
The various circuits in your home electrical system use varying energy levels. The kitchen circuit may use 20 amps, while the living room circuit uses 60 amps. Each circuit’s breaker automatically shuts off power to that particular circuit if it becomes overloaded. The main circuit breaker automatically shuts power off to the entire house in case of overload.
Now, suppose that the main circuit breaker is designed to handle a maximum of 100 amps and your new solar panels generate 100 more amps, bringing the total electrical load to 200 amps. The extra electrical load would cause the main breaker to shut off – it could also cause electrocution or spark a fire – research shows that old electrical equipment and appliances (such as old breakers) cause about 13% of all home fires.
This is why upgrading the main electrical panel is crucial before adding solar panels. The main circuit breaker should be rated 200 amps before installing solar panels. However, you may need to make upgrades if the breaker is rated anything less than this.
Extra Changes & Adjustments to Consider
You may need to do more in addition to a main electrical panel upgrade before installing solar panels. Most notably, you will need to install several other appliances to make the solar panels work, including cables, inverters, and batteries. You may also need to make two other significant changes depending on your house’s setting:
Trees close to your house with branches hanging over the roof can obstruct the sunrays required to generate solar energy. Trimming these branches may be necessary to ensure the solar panels are exposed to the sun’s full glare. You may also need to cut the tree down if it bears over the whole roof.
Partial or Full Roof Replacement
Solar panels can last for up to 30 years, while most roofs have shorter lifespans. Roof damages in the future could damage your solar panels, so it is vital to ensure that the roof is solid and sturdy before installing the panels. You may need to replace the whole roof or the roof section supporting the solar panels.
Save Money and Go Solar
Your decision to go solar will save you a lot of money and help make the world greener. Solar Optimum is here to help you, from choosing reliable solar panels to upgrading your main electrical panel – and everything else needed to get your solar electrical system up and running. Get in touch today to learn more about how we can help.