Turning sunshine into real home power? You’ll need an inverter to make that energy useable inside the home. The inverter turns the DC power from your solar, wind or hydropower source into AC power that your appliances can use.
Connecting the inverter to the breaker panel is the most convenient way to use your renewable energy. Instead of plugging in a few devices to the renewable source, you will be adding your green energy to your grid. This way you can use your electricity the way you normally would, but spend less on utility bills! The breaker panel will simply use the inverter’s energy and take less from the utility.
Altering your breaker panel is serious business. You’re handling live wires and changing the way your home’s electrical system works.
Don’t confuse your interest in off-grid living and renewable energy systems with real expertise at electrical work. Be on the safe side and bring in an electrician unless you really know what you’re doing!
Prepare the Inverter and Breaker Panel
Before connecting to the breaker, your inverter power must conform to a variety of electrical codes. You need a disconnect switch near the inverter and another one near the breaker panel. Be sure to follow all these safety protocols before actually connecting your renewable energy to the grid.
Ready to wire to the breaker panel? Shut off the main breaker at the top of the panel. Use a voltage tester to be safe. You don’t want to remove a switch and start working if there is stray power flowing!
Do you have multiple inverters? If so, you’ll want to have them connected before getting started, too. The power can be brought together as one array, so that you are just wiring from one junction box to the breaker panel.
Wiring the Inverter to the Breaker Panel
Remove the cover for an unused circuit breaker and punch out the hole. Now, you’re ready to wire the inverter to the breaker:
- First the black wire, then the red wire, to the corresponding terminals.
- Then connect the white or other neutral wire to the neutral bus.
- Then the green ground wire connects to the ground bus.
Make sure you have the right size of wires to run from your inverter to the breaker panel, and that your inverter is the correct type to be connected to a breaker panel.
Near the breaker panel, your inverter wiring should be connected to its own disconnect switch and clearly labeled as such. This will basically be its own little junction box next to the breaker box.
More Safety Tips for Connecting an Inverter
This work should be done with the renewable energy sources turned off and disconnected completely. If you are working with solar panels, it may even be safest to wire the inverters at a time when the sun isn’t shining.
Things can get a bit more complicated if you are wiring your inverter to a battery bank, that’s why you should contact us at Spyrka Electric for professional service. The process is very similar, but there are more calculations to be made to make sure you don’t overload anything.
Again, any changes to your breaker panel can potentially lead to lethal injuries, devastating home damage, or very expensive damage to your utility company’s property.
Before adding inverter power to the breaker panel, you should:
1) conduct research to make sure you understand all the home solar power basics
2) read up on materials from the manufacturers of the solar panels and inverters,
3) consult your Sonoma or Marin County electrician for expertise and knowledge of local California electrical codes.