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solar panel installation – step by step guide


There is a lot involved in installing solar panels. In this article you can read more about the installation of solar panels, the costs and installing solar panels yourself.

Solar panel installation

You can have solar panels installed on your roof by an experienced specialist or you can choose to install the solar panels yourself. Having your solar panels installed by a specialist offers many advantages. For example, you can assume that your solar panels are installed properly and without damage, you can use an installation warranty of usually 2 years and the solar panels are often installed within one day. A specialist also has a great deal of knowledge and can provide you with advice on the best placement of solar panels, so that your solar panels capture as much sunlight as possible.

Can i Install solar panels myself?

We recommend having the solar panels installed by a specialist. However, you can also choose to install your solar panels yourself. By installing solar panels yourself you save money and you shorten your payback time. Please note: installing solar panels is an accurate job, which is best done only if you have sufficient technical knowledge and you are a handy do-it-yourselfer. Due to the weight of solar panels, between 15 and 20 kg per panel, and the placement on the roof, it is also important that you guarantee your safety.


Different materials are required for installing solar panels. Below you can see some important parts for installing solar panels:

  • solar panels
  • installation material
  • inverter
  • cabling
  • possibly: consoles (with a flat roof)

In addition, you can also provide your solar panels with a measuring station. With a measuring station you can accurately monitor the yield of your solar panels. A measuring station is optional and can therefore be omitted.

Steps by steps how to install solar panel

Placing solar panels on a sloping roof is an extensive job, but generally consists of the following steps:
Step 1: marking
The first step for placing solar panels is marking the positions of the solar panels and rails on the roof, so that you know where these will be. Make sure that you have good fall protection and that you work safely.
Step 2: prepare cabling
Drill a hole in the roof boarding for the cables.
Step 3: roof hooks
Install the roof hooks. To do this, temporarily lay the roof tiles aside.
Step 4: rails
Fasten the rails on which the solar panels will be laid to the roof hooks.
Step 5: the panels
Place the panels on the roof and attach them to the rails. Then connect the panels to each other and put the roof tiles back in place.
Step 6: inverter
Place the inverter in the house. The inverter is usually placed close to the meter cupboard. Connect the cabling of the solar panels with the inverter. Please note: does your inverter have a capacity of over 600 watts? Then you need a separate group in the meter cupboard.
Step 7: administration
Are your solar panels connected properly? Then you can benefit from sustainable solar energy. When your solar panels generate electricity at times when you don’t need it, you can supply this electricity back to the electricity grid. This returned power is settled with the power that you purchase from your energy supplier. This is also called netting. To make use of this, you must register your solar panels with your network operator and inform your energy company that you want to supply electricity. For supplying power, you do need an energy meter that can turn back or register the energy supplied, such as a smart meter .

Different methods for installing solar panel

Installation of solar panels on flat roof

Installing solar panels on a flat roof is usually easier than installing solar panels on a sloping roof. Solar panels on a flat roof are placed in aluminum frames or consoles, a type of plastic container. This allows the solar panels to be placed at an angle so that they catch as much sun as possible. These aluminum frames or consoles are then weighted with ballast, for example tiles or gravel, so that they stand firm. The solar panels are then placed on the structure and fixed. Note: do not place the solar panels too close together on a flat roof. The solar panels can then come to lie in each other’s shadow, which has a negative influence on the yield. The higher the slope, the more clearance you have to keep.

things to consider for flat roof solar panel

Especially with flat roofs, the weight of the mounting systems can lead to problems with the static. In the case of elevated solar modules, wind and snow loads must also be given special consideration in the static analysis. For the systems that are fixed on the roof, the roof skin is penetrated at the attachment points. There is a risk that the roof will leak. In addition, the elevation must be so far away that the solar modules do not shadow each other.

Advantages and disadvantages of flat roof Solar panel

A very clear advantage of the flat roof mounting is the possibility of optimal orientation to the south and the correct angle of inclination. In addition, the solar modules are particularly well ventilated , so no yield reductions are to be feared. The photovoltaic modules are also particularly well suited for maintenance work or photovoltaic cleaning in flat roof mounting. However, a raised installation is particularly susceptible to wind loads, the systems load the roof enormously and because of the distance between the modules to each other a fairly large area is needed.

Costs for installing flat roof solar panel

The flat roof installation solar modules is relatively expensive, but bring the solar modules also optimal yields . For thin-film modules, the flat roof mounting can be done without any elevation. Thin-film modules are so light and flexible that there are no problems with the static. In addition, they achieve a comparatively good efficiency even in diffused light .

Roof top solar panel Installation

The roof-mounted installation has a whole host of advantages and is not for nothing the most popular installation method. Basically, the so-called rooftop installation of the solar modules takes place at a small distance of 5 to 15 cm from the roof.

How is the rooftop installation?

For fixing the solar modules, the solar panel is mounted above the roof, which consists of either cross-shaped, vertical or horizontal rails. These rails are fastened to the roof via so-called rafter hooks. Rafter hooks are specially shaped hooks made of aluminum or stainless steel, which are screwed onto the rafters. Meanwhile, roof tiles are also on the market, in which the attachment for the rails is already integrated. In this case, the bricks themselves must be screwed onto the rafters. When installing photovoltaic panels, care should be taken to ensure sufficient distance from the edge of the roof to prevent wind suction.

For which roofs is the roof-mounted installation suitable?

The actual roof is not disturbed in its function in the on-roof installation, a proper execution provided. It should therefore not be in need of repair, since after installation of the photovoltaic system, large parts are covered. If the roof is too low in slope, special hooks can correct the inclination of the solar modules to a certain extent. In addition to the usual tiled roofs, tin roofs, slate roofs or corrugated sheets are also suitable for on-roof installation.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of roof-mounted installation?

The installation of photovoltaic systems is usually simpler and less expensive for on-roof installation than for in-roof installation. In addition, the on-roof installation ensures sufficient ventilation of the solar modules. The dismantling of the system can be done easily. As disadvantages of the on-roof assembly are often called aesthetic aspects. In addition, care must be taken to the weather resistance of the fasteners.

Cross rail solar panel Installation

In crossbar mounting – as the name implies – the mounting rails to which the modules are attached are not fixed in one direction on the roof. Rather, the mounting rails are mounted in the vertical direction and in the horizontal direction on the roof. In most cases, the lower rails are mounted vertically, then come the vertically mounted rails. The modules are then mounted on these vertical rails.

Advantages and disadvantages Cross rail mounting

Crossbar mounting offers a number of advantages over single layer systems. By choosing the crossbar system slight unevenness of the roof can be well balanced. Single-layer systems offer this possibility only to a lesser extent. The attachment of the modules is optimized overall by the choice of crossbar mounting. If the module manufacturers impose difficult assembly conditions, the points can be better met by the crossbar system. Another advantage is controversial: sometimes it is stated that the rear ventilation of the modules is better due to the higher distance to the roof. But this is often countered that the cross rails hinder the chimney effect and therefore the rear ventilation is even worse.

However, a disadvantage of the crossbar systems must be mentioned: They are more expensive than the single-layer fastening systems. Often, single-layer systems also have more attachment points than crossbar systems, because in the latter, too few rails are mounted because of the high cost and high cost. Then that can negatively influence the stability.

Application of Cross rail mounting solar panel

The crossbar mounting is particularly useful when the roof has high unevenness that can not be compensated with appropriate roof hooks or height adjustment. Also on purlin roofs crossbars are well applicable. And in ensuring prescribed mounting conditions, crossbar systems can take advantage of their advantages.

in-roof solar panel Installation

The photovoltaic in-roof installation of the solar modules is the ideal choice for roof renovations and new buildings. In particular, from an aesthetic point of view, the integrated assembly is preferred in many cases.

How is the in-roof installation done?

For in-roof installation, the photovoltaic system replaces the roofing. There are no bricks or the like needed, because the solar modules take over the protective function of the roof. Similar to the on- roof installation , the solar modules are mounted on mounting rails. Depending on the size of the photovoltaic system, the roofing is replaced in whole or in part. The connection of the solar modules to the rest of the roof is a critical point, as it can easily lead to leaks when improperly executed. However, suitable connection elements are available for all common brick shapes.

In-roof New buildings and roof renovations

Of course, the in-roof installation is particularly suitable for new buildings or roof renovations. For new buildings, the substructure can also be designed to fit the in-roof installation right from the start. In addition, a large part of the costs for roofing is eliminated. In the case of existing roofs, photovoltaic in-roof mounting makes sense, above all, if a roof renovation is required anyway. However, the in-roof installation is not possible with sheet metal roofs, corrugated roofs or thatched roofs. Roofs with an inclination of more than 25 degrees are particularly suitable for the photovoltaic system to achieve sufficient yield .

Advantages and disadvantages

Of course, the in-roof installation saves roofing material, which reduces the cost of the roof. Also aesthetic aspects speak for the in-roof assembly. By color coordination, a particularly noble appearance can be achieved. Both the fasteners such as electrical connections and wiring are protected by the solar panels against the weather, which increases the durability and reduces maintenance costs . On the other hand, the in-roof installation on existing roofs makes sense only if they need to be renewed. Another disadvantage is the poorer ventilation of the solar modules, which can lead to a lower yield of solar power.

costs for Installing solar panels

Due to the technical nature of installing solar panels and the many risks, most people would do well to outsource the installation to a specialist. Since most people opt for installation by a specialist, these installation costs are often included in the total package. In general, installation costs make up around 20% of the total price for solar panels. For example, do you have 16 solar panels installed with a total capacity of 4,000 Wp and a total price of € 7,600? Then you can assume that 20% of these costs are for the placement, in this case about € 1,500.

Please note: there can be a lot of difference in the installation costs of different specialists. To avoid having to spend unnecessarily too much money on installing solar panels, it is best to request quotes from multiple specialists free of charge and without obligation . You can then put the installation costs of various specialists in your region clearly next to each other and quickly see who can offer you the lowest installation costs.

Supply solar energy back to the grid

When you have a solar panel system, it is possible that you sometimes generate too much power with your panels or generate electricity at times when you do not use it yourself. This solar power can then be supplied back to the electricity grid, so that it is not lost. This returned electricity can be settled with the electricity that you purchase from your energy supplier, this is also called balancing. If you supply more electricity than you purchase, you can receive a reimbursement for this extra electricity. However, the rules regarding netting and the feed-in compensation may differ per energy supplier. This is therefore an important factor to take into account when you, as the owner of solar panels, switch to a different energy company.

Best energy supplier for solar panels

Many points come to the fore when determining the best energy supplier. Solar panel owners, however, must assess energy suppliers for additional factors, namely the rules for netting and the amount of the feed-in charge.

To determine the best energy supplier for solar panels, you can therefore look at the following points:

  • consolidated
  • feed-in fee


Since January 1, 2014, energy suppliers have a legal obligation to offset, with the amount of energy taken as the limit. This means that you can supply unlimited energy back to the electricity grid, which is then settled at the end of the year with the electricity that you have purchased from your energy supplier. There are therefore no differences between energy suppliers. There may, however, be differences in how this solar energy is netted. Some energy suppliers disadvantage customers who have a separate day and night rate. Not only the purchased power, but also the power that is supplied is registered via 2 separate meters. This is unfavorable for most owners of solar panels, because most owners return solar power during the day and use regular power at night. As a result, it is soon switched to giving a feed-in compensation instead of netting, which is less attractive financially for the owners of solar panels. So ask energy suppliers well beforehand how they handle double meters, if you have this.

Return delivery fee

When you supply more energy to your energy supplier than you purchase, the netting stops. After all, the current can then no longer be settled. However, you will still receive a reimbursement from your energy supplier for the electricity supplied, also known as a reimbursement. Energy suppliers are obliged to pay a reasonable fee for this surplus of returned electricity, but they can determine the exact amount of the fee themselves. A reimbursement of € 0.07 per kWh can already be seen as a reasonable reimbursement, so this makes the feed-in reimbursement in principle unattractive for solar panel owners. It is therefore not advisable to generate more electricity with your solar panels than your own consumption. Many energy suppliers use the basic supply tariff in accordance with the contract.

Switching to another energy supplier

Have you found the best energy supplier for solar panels and is it not your current energy supplier? Then it’s time to switch. Do not forget to inform your new energy supplier that you have solar panels and want to return energy and to register your solar panel system with your network operator if you have not yet done so. Only then can you participate in the favorable netting scheme for solar panels.


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