Most solar generators are made to be portable, so you may be wondering if you have to ground them. While it isn’t necessary, it can definitely help your system and keep it working longer. It also protects any device that may be using your solar generator.
Do Solar Panels Have to Be Grounded?
Theoretically, you can run your solar panels and solar generators without having to be grounded. In fact, most solar generators don’t have a way to ground them included in the systems.
Most people can run their solar generators without a problem and without grounding them. After all, a solar generator, at least most of them, is made to be portable, so grounding seems to be counterintuitive.
For most people, there is no need to be grounded and they can go forever without ever running into a problem with their generator. However, if you are going somewhere where lightning can occur, or want to keep your devices safe when you are using them, grounding is important.
If your solar generator system or battery backup is static and not made to move around, then grounding it is a great idea as it can protect your home, your solar panel array, and your solar generator. It is a bit of a pain initially and can lead to some added expense, but it will save your system in the long run.
Why Should You Ground Your Solar Generator?
Grounding your solar panels and solar generator can be helpful while you are camping. It can prevent your system from getting damaged during a lightning storm, or from a random surge of electricity.
If there is a shortage in your system or the wiring, you may find your system is sending the wrong amount of electricity to a certain device or part of the generator, which can cause electrocution or even a fire.
Additionally, if you live in a dryer location, static electricity is always a problem. If you have built-up static clinging to you when you touch the device, or the static builds up on your panels, you can get a fire, a large shock, or even short out a device.
To prevent this, all you have to do is ground your system. It is easy enough to do, and can still allow your generator to be portable if done right.
How to Ground Your Solar Panels?
If you have little to no experience with grounding or electricity, we highly recommend getting a professional to do this. Not only will this prevent you from getting injured while installing the system, but it also ensures that everything is done correctly.
A system installed improperly can cause more problems than solutions and can even increase the chances of a fire or shortage in the system.
Like with any electrical system, you will need bare copper wire. This will go around your system and then be placed deep into the earth or tied around rebar in the ground to allow the excess current to flow into the earth and not into your home or system.
This works with portable generators too, but you just have a copper wire wrapped around a metal stake that is driven into the ground a few feet away and can be pulled out when you move.
However, you have to make sure you do it right because electricity will always take the path of least resistance so if your grounding system isn’t along that path, then you aren’t doing anything to help. Additionally, everything needs to be grounded, including your panels, batteries, inverters, controllers, mounting brackets, and more.