Step-by-Step Guide for DIY Solar Panel Covers & Patio You Can Do This Weekend

Step-by-Step Guide for DIY Solar Panel Covers

Have you been considering to make a solar panel cover yourself?

We know everyone can now buy solar panel covers online.

But what if all you need is the right materials and you’ll be good to go?

It’s been proven time and time again that people love using DIY projects as a means of getting in touch with their creativity, and there’s nothing quite like the feeling of seeing a project come together.

So good news for you, we decided this week we’ll be talking about solar panel covers and patio instead.

Why?

We love to get our hands dirty.

In fact, let’s be honest, we’d even go so far as to call ourselves “DIY junkies.”

We also happen to be obsessed on helping you ease up into that solar switch you’ve been thinking about.

So here’s a step-by-step guide as we try to help you build a solar panel patio cover that you and your partnet can put on your own backyard in just about 4 days.

Shall we?

Why You Need to Cover Your Solar Panels?

Step-by-Step Guide for DIY Solar Panel Covers

If you live in an area with extreme weather conditions, you need to protect your solar panels by covering them.

This means adding a layer of clear material like plastic or glass to protect your panels from the elements, rain, and snow.

The cover keeps them clean and in the best possible condition. It also protects them from being damaged by flying debris, which could affect their ability to generate electricity.

Second reason is the fact that it’s a law in some states!

If you own a building or property with a roof that is made of tin, aluminum, or zinc, then you are required to cover the roof with a protective coating.

Roof coatings prevent the roof from absorbing too much heat and, thereby, prevent the structure itself from collapsing.

Step-by-Step Guide for DIY Solar Panel Covers & Patio You Can Do This Weekend

Like we promised, we hope to show you how to make the perfect solar panel cover from scratch, and how to get started with building a solar-powered patio.

These are our favorite tips and hacks for creating a DIY solar panel cover for your patio or porch, and other tips for designing your own solar panels.

With a few simple tools and materials you can build your own solar power covers or patio covers for less than $200!

What’s the best option? Rooftop Solar Panels vs Patio Covers

Generally speaking, a house’s rooftop is the most exposed to the sun and has the biggest surface area.

Solar panels can be easily installed in this location, as little work or modification is necessary.

Roof-mounted solar panels have long been the most popular choice for households because of these advantages.

When it comes to solar panel placement, though, your roof may not always be the best option.

Some examples are as follows:

There isn’t enough room on your roof for as many solar panels as you need. (Do you have any idea what this number represents?

Solar panels require a certain amount of square feet (calculate it here).

Your roof may be obstructed from receiving direct sunlight by nearby buildings or plants.

Unfavorable location or angle: Unless your roof faces south, you will not produce the greatest amount of power. In order to function properly, the pitch of the roof must also be set at a 30 to 45 degree angle.

Because of the way they’d look on top of your house, you may not want to use them.

The use of ground-mounted solar panels is an option.

However, they have one major drawback: they necessitate a large quantity of land, which you can’t utilize for anything else.

During this phase, you’ll also want to consider a solar pergola, gazebo, patio cover, or carport.

In your backyard, you may already have a building like this, which you could easily convert to store solar panels.

There are other options, though, if you’re building one of these structures from the ground up: you can select for a solar-optimized structure that both looks and functions excellent.

A DIY Solar Patio Cover: How to Build a Cheap, Easy Patio Cover?

What comes to mind when you think about solar power for the home are solar panels on the roof. However, there are a number of additional locations where you can place solar panels to generate electricity for your house.

Ground-mounted solar panels and solar carports will be among the most popular options in 2022. The use of solar pergolas or gazebos, which are often referred to as “solar pergolas,” is another option.

After my solar panels were installed on our home, I began to look at all of the things I could change about my patio cover in order to improve its efficiency.

This project will teach you how to build a solar-powered patio cover. The cost is very low but you may need a lot of patience. I hope you will like the project and be kind enough to share it with your friends.

How It Works

If you’re surprised to find that solar panel protectors aren’t absolutely necessary, you’re not alone.

Many reasons exist for using solar panel covers.

Not to mention using abatement screens and mesh covers, birds can’t build nests under the panels and do harm.

When severe weather is predicted or the panels will not be used for an extended period of time, they can be protected from the elements using protective panel covers.

It’s a long term protection made from the elements by installing a hard protective shell system on top of them.

No matter why you want to put a protective cover for your solar panels, it is critical that you do so correctly.

The solar panel cover you choose should be custom-made to fit your system’s needs.

All of the information that you need to make the proper decision for your panels is here.

Are Solar Panel Covers Effective in Preventing Hail Damage to Solar Panels?

Covering your solar panels isn’t required, but it’s a good idea anyway.

Since installing solar panels is an expensive endeavor, many homeowners choose to insure their investment.

Which is why for those who live in “Hail Alley”, which includes Colorado, Wyoming, or Nebraska, solar panel protective coverings is good things you should really consider to have.

That is because seven to nine hailstorms occur in these states every year, with large hail particularly is also common in Texas and Oklahoma.

When it comes to hail, solar panels are built to resist the worst of it.

In order to ensure that their panels can withstand one-inch hail balls, solar panel manufacturers test them.

As long as hail isn’t a problem for your solar panel, it isn’t going to break it.

Softball-sized hailball hailstorms have occurred in several sections of the country, albeit they are extremely unusual.

You may protect your solar panels from weather extremes, such as golfball-sized hail or larger, by installing a solar panel cover.

Should You Really Do It Yourself?

Professional installation is recommended if you plan to use a solar panel protective cover.

At the top of each panel is a roll-up screen that may be rolled up or down, with a specific mounting method is used to attach the hard shells.

This technology permits the hard-shell panels to be removed when they are no longer required.

Until they are removed, the protective shells remain in place.

Without the proper skills and equipment, installing the protective covers yourself might be risky.

A DIY solution may void your warranty, so make sure you check with the manufacturer first.

Here’s How You Can Start Your Own DIY Solar Patio Cover

A patio may serve a variety of functions for a home and is a wise investment. It provides a place to relax and unwind while also providing a gathering space.

However, what if you could transform it into something else — perhaps a solar patio.

You may be surprised to learn that solar panels may be mounted to a patio.

An eye-catching building that can offset your monthly electricity cost will be left behind. How much would it cost to build a solar-powered patio at home?

What can it accomplish, and how do you make one of your own?

How Much Will A Solar Patio Cost You?

A solar patio can range widely in price. Among the variables to consider is:

  • The structure’s size.
  • How many panels will you be putting on this roof.
  • The type of solar panels used.
  • The materials needed for the construction of the building.

If you’re looking at a 10′ by 10′ design, you should expect to cost around $1500 for the construction. However, you must keep in mind the aforesaid considerations.

On the solar panel market, there are three basic types to choose from:

  • Monocrystalline
  • Polycrystalline
  • Thin-Film

If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll have to choose a different type.

However, if you’re concerned about the size of your system, a collection of 100-watt solar panels is a good place to begin.

Because of their small size, these panels are quite portable. To take it one step further, thin-film versions are also available.

A patio can be outfitted with substantially more flexible/thin-film solar panels because they are far lighter than normal panels.

Start to Build Your DIY Solar Patio

In this part, we’ll walk you through the process of building a solar patio step-by-step.

It’s important to note that this pergola is attached to a house’s roof. In addition, this construction may be built by two individuals in just five days.

Before you start, make sure you all these tools in hand:

Putting Together the Foundation

Before you start building a pergola, here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Is there a spot in mind for your patio?
  2. What are the expected measurements?
  3. How many solar panels are required to generate the required electrical output?
  4. SketchUp, a 3D modeling software application, can be used to help you design the pergola.

To begin working on a project, you’ll need to gain approval for your design.

This can be done in a variety of ways, and first step would be to contact the town or county’s zoning office and request a permit.

Keep in mind, that you will need to obtain these permits before beginning construction.

You may need to contact your local building inspector, or hire a professional to assist you in obtaining the necessary permits.

What is the purpose of this step?

Because a permit is required for any building project, including residential construction. It certifies the project as safe and sound.

This can be a bit of a headache because there are many state, county, and city codes. So the general rule of thumb is to adhere to the specific needs of your location.

Permits are required, but you must also assess the site before digging holes for the foundation of your patios.

Start Digging Your Foundation

The wiring, sprinkler lines, and gas pipes under your property will not be damaged as a result of this maneuver. Find a local service provider if you’re not sure how to do this.

A jackhammer can be purchased or rented to help you break through tough ground.

Make sure to align your columns after they’ve been straightened and dug out. (string lines or laser levels can be used), and remember to complete the forms completely before securing them in their ultimate location.

Sonotubes and two-by-fours are excellent building materials for your forms, with standard steel-concrete forming pegs can be used to secure them to the ground.

Pour the concrete – a concrete mixer may be rented or a spade and wheelbarrow can be purchased for this task.

Pour the concrete into the forms and let it dry for a day before moving on to the next step.

It’s ideal to finish all of the pouring in one sitting with small amounts of concrete must be added at a time.

Preparing for Your Woods

Remember to look for wood that’s both visually appealing and structurally sound to make for the perfect solar patio cover.

Sanding and staining equipment is required for this project.

The Technique:

Select the type of wood and the number of posts, beams, and rafters you need for your project. The amount of solar panels you want to add will influence the number of rafters and the distance between them (along with their weight and dimensions).

Using a tape measure, measure out the length of each rafter and cut two pieces from each. You may need more than two pieces per rafter depending on the rafter’s length. Assemble the rafters and attach them to each other using screws or nails.

Use a drill and drill bit appropriate for the fastener being used.

For most applications, use a 3/8-inch bit to drill pilot holes.

Then use a screwdriver to drive the screws into place.

When attaching rafters to one another, you may want to reinforce the joints with wood strips to ensure that they’re sturdy enough to support your solar panels.

You can also use an adhesive such as wood glue to adhere the rafters to one another.

Cut posts and beams from the lumber you have on hand.

If you need more, you can always purchase more in the future.

The height of your columns should be measured before you begin cutting them, because the length of the columns will determine how many beams you’ll need.

Use a tape measure to make sure the height of the column is correct.

Measure out the distance between the columns using a tape measure and cut a piece of wood to that length.

Use a pencil to draw a circle on the wood with a radius equal to the distance between the columns.

Use a saw to cut the circles out of the wood. The size of your circles should be determined by the width of the rafters and the number of rafters.

Use a pencil to mark where the center of each circle should be located.

You’ll need to sand and stain your wood before you begin any structural work.

When it comes to protecting your wood from the outdoors, sanding and staining are both necessary and beneficial. Two to three applications of wood stain are usually sufficient for a good result.

Wood staining is a lengthy procedure.

It can take up to 24 hours for one layer of paint to dry.

This may annoy you, but it’s essential that you don’t skip it. It is essential to the long-term viability of your patios.

Preparing for Your Roof

Because of the design used in this DIY tutorial, the skylift risers must be attached directly to the top plate of your house on the outside.

The first step is to remove the shingles from your roof and make holes in it. Make sure there aren’t any leaks when you’re doing this.

You’ll need the risers, screws, and flashing supplied by the riser manufacturer to install the roof structure.

Additionally, you’ll require a means of slicing through the roof’s layers.

Identify your house’s top plate.

Once you’ve established that each house is unique, the following step is to open the roof’s vents.

Different kinds of roofing can be found as well. The base of the post must be inserted into a hole large enough to accommodate the post’s top plate once you know where it is located.

In order to get the hole ready, you’ll need to use a circular or reciprocating saw. Afterwards, you can cover up that hole and put the post on top of the top plate.

Flashing must be installed after the hole has been covered. Everything will be watertight as a result of the strobing.

The U, which will hold the entire beam in place, can be installed once the riser and flashing have been completed.

Last but not least, insert the beam. After that, a few screws will allow you to attach the beam to the U.

Putting Together the Parts

Once the concrete footing with supports is in place and the wood has been sanded and coated, you may assemble your wooden structure.

To do this, begin with the posts that are on the ground. Ample clamps are required so that you may secure everything in place before you proceed with the screwing and fastening.

To start with the process, assemble your pillars and posts, ascend your upper braces, and set the upper beam in its proper place.

The replicate and present the method of fastening the first beam and its subsequent attachment to the roof risers.

The rafters can now be attached to the beams, which can either be constructed on-site or off-site.

For on-site work, you’ll need an abrasive circular saw (or bandsaw), an angle grinder, and chisel.

These can be sanded and stained after the cuts are done.

Then, using timberlock 10-inch long screws, secure them from the top to the ultimate resting location.

Installing Your Panels

Rail or racking installation is the first step in the panel installation procedure. It’s in this space that the microinverters, the cables, and the panels will be installed.

To assemble the racks, follow the panel manufacturer’s instructions on how to align and space the racks, then you can continue to install the wiring (trunk cable).

Use your bare copper to anchor the patio and make sure the microinverters are connected with one needed for each panel.

A microinverter will then be connected to each of your solar panels.

Final Thoughts

Solar patios add beauty to your home.

It serves as a great place to enjoy the outdoors and provides a perfect place to host parties, including seating, a table, a garden, and a backyard barbeque.

You can get sun loungers, umbrellas, etc. to set up a relaxing place to spend time. They also provide an excellent place to sit with your family, friends, and loved ones.

These buildings are not only functional, but they are also visually appealing. With a solar pergola, even the most mundane backyard may be transformed into something spectacular.

Who doesn’t want to spruce things up a bit?

In and around their structure, your patios offer a variety of plants, ivy, and climbing flowers to thrive.

Not to mention it’s a durable and low-maintenance investment that will last for years to come, as an addition to your energy source.

A solar patio is a no-brainer if you consider the advantages of doing so (if you have the means to do so). In this day and age, there are few better examples of beauty paired with function than these structures.

Joe Siregar

Hi! I'm a mini solar-powered globetrotter. Stressed, blessed, and coffee obsessed.