How to Connect a Solar Panel to an Electric Box

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Solar power can be harvested for a variety of uses.
Solar power can be harvested for a variety of uses. (Image: Solar Panels image by alessbonaventura from Fotolia.com)

Solar energy has a long but sustained payback period. This clean electricity source will become more feasible, efficient and necessary as limited supplies of fossil fuels and rising levels of greenhouse gases require a shift in how people produce and consume electricity. Learning how to tie alternative sources of energy into your home will keep you a step ahead in the game.

Things You'll Need

  • AC inverter
  • Charge controller
  • Deep-cycle batteries

Wire the solar panels together so that they combine their amps and voltages. Calculate the total voltage and amp outputs of the appliances that you will be feeding with electricity from you solar panels. This will give you an idea of how to wire your panels together for a specific voltage and amp output. You can choose a series circuit, parallel circuit or a combination of both types of circuits, which will produce the most volts and amps for your system.

Connect your solar panels to a charge controller. This will discharge any excess solar electricity from overloading your deep-cycle batteries, ensuring that your batteries will have a maximum shelf life and will be able to undergo the maximum number of cycles for each battery. The type of deep-cycle battery you buy will determine how many years and cycles it can sustain.

Connect your deep cycle batteries to your an AC inverter. Because most, if not all, of your household appliances and electricity needs call for alternating current (AC), you will need to convert your solar electricity, which is in the form of direct current (DC), into a usable form for your appliances. The inverter is necessary if you want to hook your solar panels up to your electric box.

Run the wires from your AC inverter to your electric box. Make sure that any exposed wiring is not at risk of being damaged and is out of the way. Wrap the wires in electric tape and a protective sheath to ensure that the wiring is safe and secure.

Turn off the main circuit breaker switch for your breaker box. This will turn off all power that is going to your electric box so that you can work on it safely. The main circuit breaker is usually on or near your electric box. Some homes, however, have the main circuit breaker switch in a different location.

Disconnect the wires from your electrical system on your electric supply box. You will need to unscrew the front panel on your breaker box to get to these wires.

Patch the wires from your electric box and the solar panels together. You will need to decide which circuits you want to draw power from your solar panels. To patch into the existing system, when you disconnect the wires from the electric box, strip the ends of the black and white wires and twist them together with the wires from the inverter.

Reassemble the electric box configuration as it was before by connecting wires back to the breaker circuits and turning the breaker on. Switch the main circuit breaker on to turn the power on for your electric box and the rest of your home.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you do not know where your main circuit breaker switch is, call an electrician to come out to your home. This is the most important part of maintaining your safety while working on the electric box.
  • Remember that the wires above the electric box are still live. Even though the box itself is turned off and does not have electricity flowing through it, current is still flowing to where the main circuit breaker switch is located.

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