DIY Solar. Can I Install Solar Panels Myself?
Whether it’s to save money, flex our weekend warrior skills, or savor the sweet accomplishment of building something with our own hands, DIY (do-it-yourself) projects can be a rewarding way to spend free time. Couple this with video tutorials for just about everything on the internet, and it can be quite tempting to undertake a project that may be a bit outside of our comfort zone.
And while venturing outside your comfort zone is a great way to grow your skill set, undertaking a highly specialized project may not be a good idea. no matter what the YouTube video promises.
Take for instance installing your own solar energy system. While this DIY project may save you some money in the short-term, it could be very dangerous for someone who is not a trained solar professional. And with the potential to lose out on manufacturing and installation warranties, it can end up costing you more in the long-term than you saved in the short-term.
The Dangers of DIY Solar
Installing your own solar panels can be a risk to your own personal safety and to your property for two main reasons: the height at which panels are typically installed and the fact that you’re working with a complex electrical system.
Most solar systems are installed as either a roof mount or a ground mount. Typically, roof mounts are less expensive and require less labor to install, since the roof serves as the main supporting structure. With ground mounts, the structure has to be constructed. Because of this, and because roof-mount panels don’t take up valuable space in your yard or farm, they tend to be more popular.
However, unless you’re working with a team of trained, certified professionals equipped with all the experience and tools needed to work safely, it simply isn’t worth it.
A single panel can weigh between 33 to 50 pounds. Depending on how large your solar system is, you’ll be hauling quite a few of these up to your roof, along with the materials for racking and wiring. Then comes the installation, which will require you to position and install these components on an elevated, and likely angled, surface.
Unless you’re properly trained to do this type of work and have all the required personal protective equipment, this in itself makes installing your own solar panels a bad idea. Saving some money is not worth the risk of falling.
The other risk is the electrical work you’ll need to do.
When exposed to sunlight, a solar panel can produce a couple of hundred volts of electricity. That’s certainly enough to inflict serious harm if accidentally or mistakenly touched.
In addition to personal harm, you could potentially damage the building on which you’ve installed the solar system. Electricity will be flowing through the wires. If the components were not installed properly, the system could, potentially, damage itself, or even worse, start an electrical fire.
Solar energy has proven itself to be an extremely safe way to generate your own electricity. The 630 GW of solar energy installed around the world as of 2020 is a testament to this. However, as with any electrical system, mistakes can have serious ramifications.
To ensure these mistakes don’t happen, solar installers in all states need to be certified and licensed to install solar. To ensure you work with a team that knows their stuff and will install your system the correct way, be sure to check out their experience, qualifications, and certifications.
A good place to start is to ensure they are North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). NABCEP is the country’s leading certification board for solar energy professionals.
We put together a list of tips for selecting a solar installation company to help you select an installation partner.
The Regulatory Hurdles for New Solar Installations
Permitting, utility interconnection, grant applications, tax credit paperwork, SRECs.
You can’t just order parts, hop on your roof, and start installing a solar system. There are various paperwork hurdles you must first jump through. This process can be quite frustrating and time-consuming for solar DIY-ers.
First off is the permit from your local building department. In it, you’ll have to provide a site plan and share the details on how you’ll install the system. This will include things like how the panels attach to your roof, proof that your roof can support the additional weight of the solar system, and the spec sheets for your solar system’s components.
You’ll also need an electrical diagram of the system and calculations proving the components are compatible and safe. Lastly, you’ll need to show how you plan on connecting the system to the electric grid.
After getting the required building permits, you’ll need to submit the specifics of the system to your utility company to gain permission to connect your solar system to the grid. Along with this, you’ll likely have to navigate the paperwork for your area’s solar electricity compensation program (called net metering in most states). This will ensure you are properly compensated for any excess electricity your solar system produces and pushes out onto the grid.
Then comes the paperwork for grants and other incentives. Their availability will vary region by region, as will the requirements and stipulations for receiving them. Limited grants can be competitive, as with the USDA REAP Grant, which can cover a significant portion of your solar system’s cost if awarded.
In order to be eligible, you need to be a qualifying farm or rural business located in specific areas of the country. While navigating eligibility is hard, the submission process is harder, and actually receiving this competitive grant is the hardest. However, it can cover up to 25% of your solar system.
At Paradise Energy, our specialized grant writers have an 80% success rate. Learn more about applying for the USDA REAP Grant.
You will also have to complete the paperwork for the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, which returns 26% of your solar system’s cost to you in 2020. Businesses’ and farms’ systems may also qualify for accelerated depreciation, which accelerates solar’s payback even more.
Lastly, if SRECs are available in your state, you will have to fill out the necessary paperwork and navigate the SREC market. SRECs stand for solar renewable energy credits, which solar owners earn with every 1,000 kWh of solar energy generated. They can sell these credits on an open market, helping the state reach its environmental goals.
To put it simply, there is a lot of work that needs to be done outside of the actual installation of your solar system. Not only can it be overwhelming, but it can be challenging and time-consuming. By partnering with a professional installer, you can rest assured they’ll take care of the paperwork correctly.
DIY-ers May Lose Out on Valuable Solar Equipment Warranties
There’s no denying that solar energy can require a significant upfront investment. That investment can pay for itself in just a few years, leaving the vast majority of its 25 to 30 year lifespan left to save you a significant amount of money. However, equipment, production, and workmanship warranties can provide a vital function over the decades-long lifespan of your system.
The solar panel components that make up your system are built to last. Manufacturers are so confident in their durability that they guarantee their products for up to 30 years. That means if anything goes wrong with your system under the terms of the warranty, you’ll receive a replacement piece of equipment for free.
However, these warranties only apply to components that were installed exactly as the manufacturer intended. By installing your own components, one mistake could void the 30-year warranty on your solar panels before the system is even working.
Additionally, you’ll lose out on warranties offered by your solar installation company. While these will vary from one company to the next, they can be immensely valuable to your solar investment.
At Paradise Energy, we think it’s just plain wrong that you should suffer the consequences of a mistake we made. That’s why we offer our Triple Ten Guarantee, which will protect your investment and help guarantee your system’s payback through a ten-year production guarantee, ten years of system monitoring, and a ten-year workmanship guarantee.
What’s a production guarantee? In your solar system’s proposal, your installer will provide an estimate of how much electricity your solar system will generate each year. They’ll take into account local weather patterns and the amount of sunshine in your area to get as close of an estimate as they can.
However, the weather isn’t always predictable, and that estimate won’t always be right. With our production guarantee, we’ll treat our estimate like a promise. If your system produces less electricity than we estimated, we’ll write you a check for the difference.
If you opt to install your own solar panels, you’ll be losing out on the peace of mind these warranties offer you.
Installing Your Own Solar Panels Isn’t Worth the Risk or Your Time
All in all, you’re risking a lot when you’re taking a solar installation into your own hands: your safety, the safety of your building, and the risk of losing the warranties on your solar equipment.
You’re also going to be spending a lot of time on paperwork, permitting, and approvals.
Solar energy requires a complex system that should be installed by experienced, certified solar professionals with proper safety equipment. Not only will this keep you safe, but you’ll save time and have an investment backed by strong warranties for decades, keeping your investment safe as well.
DIY SOLAR PANELS | UK GUIDE
We are happy that Renogy’s DIY community continues to grow with more and more members choosing to trust our products as their go-to choice. This article is dedicated to all you DIY-ers, cutting costs and saving the planet with each solar system you install.
Now, if you are thinking of setting up a DIY home solar system, this article will help you make the best DIY solar decisions and avoid making common mistakes.
Here, we will answer most of your burning questions about DIY solar panels. including:
Please note that the DIY solar panels in this article are manufacturer-made panels suitable for DIY installations. Not solar panels built from scratch by individuals.
Can you install solar panels yourself?
The cost of designing, buying, and installing solar for the average household in the UK is around £6000. Of that £6000, approximately 10% goes to the cost of hiring a pro-installer. In other words, hiring a professional installer costs at least £600, which is concerning if you’re on a budget.
As a result, you end up wondering if you can install solar panels yourself.
And the answer is YES. You can DIY (do-it-yourself) install your own solar panels.All you need to do is invest your time, energy, and a little bit of elbow grease.
This lowers your cost of going solar by approximately 10% or more. For most homeowners, this is a worthwhile incentive to invest their time and efforts.
However, before going the DIY solar panels’ route, here’s what you need to know:
If you’re not as agile or handy as you used to be, we highly recommend hiring an installer, as rooftop solar installations can be dangerous if you are not careful. No amount of money saved is worth risking your well-being.
Do not buy substandard components because they’re cheap. Instead, buy premium parts that are priced reasonably. Doing so ensures you get the best value for your money. Without question, we recommend buying renogy solar parts directly from our
For large solar installations, it’s highly recommended to hire a professional installer.
In areas with strict PV regulations, a professional installer can help you process permits and other necessary paperwork. Some utilities need a certified electrician’s signature as proof your system can be connected to the grid safely. Besides, when you apply for a Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) from your energy provider, they might need an MCS certification and a DNO (district network operator) approval.
How much does it cost to install solar panels?
The cost of installing solar panels will vary depending on:
The size of your system
Type of your installation
The installer you choose
On average, the cost of hiring a professional installer can range anywhere from £600 to a few thousand pounds. According to the EnergySage Solar Marketplace, the average cost of labour when installing a solar system is approximately 10% of the cost of all your components. If you wanner know how much solar panels are in the UK. click the link.
So if your components cost around £6000, then the cost of installation will be around £600. Please note that this figure is an estimate and may vary, so it’s best to cross-check with an installer near you.
DIY solar panel installation process
There are a few stages you need to take care of before you start your DIY solar panel installation process.
One of the stages is quite obvious, which is buying the equipment you want to install. However, other lesser-known but important stages are:
Energy Usage Calculation (load or amount of electricity you use each day)
Solar Panel System Sizing
How to install a DIY solar panel system at home?
The installation process for a DIY solar panel system can be broken down into 6 basic steps:
Step 1: Calculate Your Daily Energy Usage
If you’re connected to the grid, and want to find out how much you use daily, you need to look at your utility bills. On your utility bill, you will find the amount of Wh (Watt-hours) or kWh (kiloWatt-hours) used that month. For even better results, use the bills for the last 3 months to work out an average monthly usage. Once you have your monthly usage, divide that figure by the number of days in a month to find your daily usage.
Alternatively, you can sum up each of your device’s wattage and the number of hours used to find out the total energy you use daily.Our online solar panel calculator can help you here.
Step 2: Design Your System
You need to decide if you are going to substitute all or part of your daily energy usage with solar power. You can choose to build a completely offgrid solar system that will power all your devices without any help from the grid.
Or, you can choose to build an on-grid solar system, also known as a grid-tied system, that only substitutes a fraction of your daily usage with solar power.
If you are building an off-grid system, you definitely need a solar lithium battery. On the other hand, an ongrid system can do without a battery bank due to the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). The only drawback of an on-grid solar installation without solar battery storage is that you won’t have any backup power during emergencies.
Step 3: Size Your Solar Panels
Once you know how much power you want to generate with solar, you can calculate how many solar panels you need to produce that much power. We will explain how to size your solar panels later in this article.
Step 4: Purchase Quality Solar Components
After determining your daily usage and optimal panel output, you can start buying all the parts you will need for your installation, including:
Step 5: Install Your Railings, Mounts, and Components.
Once you’ve gathered all your components, you can start preparing the areas where you will install your components. This usually involves:
Mounting the railing for your panels on the roof
Creating or clearing a suitable space for your inverter and battery bank,
After preparing the installation zones, install the components. This involves:
Lifting solar panels onto the roof and bolting them to the railings;
Screwing your inverter onto the wall;
Finding a safe space for your batteries. The area shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight nor extreme temperatures (hot/cold);
Installing the joining cables and connectors.
Step 6: Connect your solar to your home’s distribution box
Once you know which circuits you want to power with solar power, you can choose to join or replace the wires with the power supply of your choice. For example, you can choose to power only your lights and a few sockets, or you can choose to power all your circuits.
How to size solar panels for your home?
To size solar panels for your home, you need to know two things:
Your daily energy usage
Number of peak sun hours in your area.
Once you have these figures, you can calculate two things:
The total power output required from your panels each peak hour. How? Dividing your daily usage by the number of peak sun hours. The answer you get is the amount of power your panels should generate during each peak sun hour.
The number of panels at each wattage you need to buy to meet the demand. How? Divide the above figure (hourly power needed) by your chosen panel’s wattage. For example, if hourly power is 3000Wh and you choose a 300W panel, you will need 10 (ten) 300W solar panels to meet the 3000W hourly demand.
What are DIY solar panel kits?
Solar parts come in different sizes (capacities, wattages, etc.) and they can only work well when matched with other parts of a matching size. Think of it this way, when you’re shopping for clothes in a store with different clothing sizes, you need to pick a t-shirt, jeans, and shoes suited for your size and with each other.
This is also the case when you are shopping for solar parts that come in different sizes. Therefore, you need to pick solar panels, inverters, batteries, and other parts that are compatible with each other and suitable for your needs.
That’s where DIY solar panel kits come in.
A DIY solar panel kit is a set of compatible solar parts that are already hand-picked for you, taking the hassle out of searching for the right parts.
Buying the right solar kit will save you money and reduce the time it takes you to set up a working solar installation. It also helps you avoid rookie mistakes or costly trial-and-error purchases.
Renogy has many sizes and types of DIY solar kits;examples include:
Each of these kits is carefully configured to fit a variety of situations. We also have flexible solar kits suitable for RV or Marine use.
If you think DIY solar kits are just what you need, check out this link to all of Renogy’s solar kits.
The Pros and Cons of DIY solar panels
As with most things, there are two things involved when setting up your DIY home solar panels.- the pros and cons.
It’s up to you to decide if the advantages of DIY solar panels more than offset their disadvantages.
Pros of DIY solar panels
Reduces your dependence on the grid supply and gives you more control over your energy.
Lowers your energy costs as solar is now a cheaper energy source than the grid.
You get an intimate knowledge of your system during the installation and can troubleshoot most problems.
Saves money that would otherwise be spent on hiring an installer. You can re-invest this money elsewhere, e.g., buying more components to build an even better system.
Suitable for most applications, including homes, businesses, RVs, boats, etc.
Provides an emergency or independent power supply that’s usable even when there’s no grid power.
Cons of DIY solar panels
It might reduce your equipment warranties depending on the terms and conditions of your manufacturer.
Requires investing your time and effort to learn about how to work with electricity and solar equipment.
DIY installation might be impossible in some regions due to prohibitive local laws.
It’s more challenging for homeowners outfitting large solar systems. In that case, we recommend hiring a professional installer.
DIY solar panel building regulations for home
Regardless if you hire an installer or you carry out a DIY home solar systeminstallation, your solar panel installation needs to follow the standard UK building regulations for your area.
These regulations typically are:
Ensure that your roof is strong enough to support your panels
Mitigating the risk of fire your solar panels pose.
How to install your solar components correctly to give them improved ventilation.
Ensuring the entry points of your cables don’t allow moisture into the structure.
Improving the electrical safety of your installation.
How to mount your panels and other components securely.
For more information on the Building regulations for your area, visit the links below:
Do I need permission for solar panels?
Sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t. Let me explain why.
Most of the time, if your panels meet certain criteria and standards, you don’t need to obtain planning permission to install solar panels on your property.
However in some special cases, which will be listed below, you need to obtain planning permission before installing your panels:
If your property is a listed building.
If you live in an area designated as a conservation area.
If you are going to carry out any major modifications on the building. For example, an increase in size.
If your solar panels protrude more than 0.2 metres or 20 centimetres from your roof. For example, an installation on a flat roof is typically more than 0,2 metres due to the angled stands.
If you are carrying out a ground installation with stand-alone panels that is/are:
c. Located within the grounds of a listed building
d. Each panel has an area of more than 9m^2
If any of the above cases apply to you, do not worry. You can still apply for a special planning permission from your local authority.
To summarize, if the DIY installation of your solar panel system doesn’t involve any major changes to the building – such as changing its size, shape, exterior appearance or other aspects, you likely won’t need special permission from your local authority.
However, if you want to make some big changes, you might need to get planning permission from your local authority before installation. We highly recommend checking in with your local authority to see if there are any other regulations to follow regarding independent energy generation.
Monitoring and Maintenance for DIY solar
A DIY solar system needs regular monitoring and maintenance to ensure that it keeps performing safely and at the highest levels. Fortunately, the level of maintenance your solar system needs is on the low-side. So it won’t take much of your time or effort.
Examples of monitoring and maintenance activities for DIY solar are:
Dusting and washing your solar panels when they’re dirty.
Checking the tightness of all screws, bolts, and connections and tightening any loose items. This should be done regularly.
Dusting and cleaning the environment of your inverter(s), batteries, etc. at least twice a month.
Frequently check if the cables and components are operating at their optimal temperatures.
Failure to follow all maintenance guidelines might damage your solar system, pose health risks to you, or void your warranty.
We highly recommend you bring any faulty Renogy equipment to us or a licensed professional for repairs. Attempting any DIY repairs is often a recipe for disaster, voiding warranties, or causing further damage.
How to Properly Size a PV System
How Much Are Solar Panels? | 2023 Guide UK
Average Solar Panel Output Per Day: UK Guide
Solar Panel Incentives And Rebates In The Uk
What Are The Most Efficient Solar Panels?
- View all Products
- Solar Panels
- View all Solar Panels
- Rigid Solar Panels
- Flexible Solar Panels
- Folding Solar Suitcases
- View all Solar Kits
- Starter Kits
- Complete Kits
- Premium Kits
- Customized Solar Kits
- Wiring Mounting Kits
- View all Charge Controllers
- MPPT Charge Controllers
- PWM Charge Controllers
- View all Battery Charger
- MPPT Battery Charger
- DC to DC Battery Charger
- AC to DC Battery Charger
- View all Inverters
- Battery Inverters
- Inverter Chargers
- View all Batteries
- 100Ah Lithium Battery
- IOT Monitoring
- View all Portable Gear
- Portable Panels
- Power Station
- View all Accessories Wiring
- Mounts Brackets
- View all Learn
- Customer Portal
- View all Community
- Renogy Power Plus
- Commercial Solutions
Solar installations are getting easier all the time and there’s plenty of do-it-yourself information out there. But are you ready to go the DIY route?
If you’re interested in solar power, surely you already know that solar electricity is good for the environment, national security, and the air we breathe, not to mention your electricity bill. And that it’s one of the best ways to reduce your household’s contribution to global warming. You’ve also probably heard that going solar can actually be cheaper than paying for utility power, and you might wonder whether this claim is true. Well, in most cases, it is true. It just takes time for the incremental savings to overtake the initial investment (after that, the solar power is free). If you install the solar system yourself, you can hit this tipping point a lot sooner — in some cases, in half the time.
That brings us to the next big question: Can you really install your own solar panels? Again, the answer is yes. If you can drive lag bolts and assemble prefabricated parts, and if you’re willing to spend a day or two on your roof (or not, if you’re mounting your panels on the ground), you can install your own solar system. You don’t have to know how to hook up the solar panels to your household electricity or the utility grid. You’ll hire an electrician for the house hookup, and the utility company will take care of the rest, usually for free. For a completely off-grid system, the utility company isn’t involved at all.
Perhaps disappointingly, this job isn’t even a good excuse to buy new power tools, since the only one you need is a good drill.
So, if this is such a doable project, why do most people use professional installers? For starters, a lot of people have good reasons to hire out virtually everything, from oil changes to grocery shopping. (That’s probably not you, but even if it is, our book can help you plan for a solar installation and find a good local installer.) Solar professionals handle more than the installation. They design the system, they apply for rebates and credits, they order all the necessary parts, and they obtain the permits and pass all the inspections. But the fact is, you can do all of these things yourself, provided you have a helpful adviser and you are willing to follow the rules of the local building authority (that’s where you’ll get those permits).
Solar installations are getting easier all the time, and you might be surprised at how much do-it-yourself (DIY) help is available. Two good examples are PVWatts and the Database of State Incentives for Renewables Efficiency (DSIRE). PVWatts is an online calculator that helps you size a solar-electric system based on the location and position of your house and the angle of your roof. Solar pros use the same simple tool, but it’s free for everyone. DSIRE offers an up-to-date, comprehensive listing of renewable energy rebates, tax breaks, and other financial incentives available in any area of the United States. And it’s also free and easy to use.
Those two resources alone help answer the two most common questions homeowners have about solar electricity: How big of a system do I need? and How much will it cost? Other resources include solar equipment suppliers that cater to DIYers and offer purchasing and technical support, as well as online communities like Build It Solar. And there’s no law that says DIYers can’t hire a solar professional for help with specific aspects of their project, such as creating design specifications, choosing equipment, or preparing permit documents.
We should also say up front that installing your own solar panels is not a process well-served by cutting corners. We don’t want you to install your system without a permit or without hiring an electrician to make the final hookups. (Even professional solar installers use electricians for this stuff.) The permit process can be a pain, yes, but it’s there to ensure that your system is safe, not just for you but also for emergency responders who might need to work around your mini power plant. When you work with the local building department you also learn about critical design factors, such as wind and snow loads, that are specific to your area.
Can I Install My Own PV (Photovoltaic) System? A DIYer’s Checklist
It’s time for the litmus test that tells you whether to proceed boldly as an amateur solar installer or to hand over the reins to a professional. For most of you, the decision will come down to the rules of the local building authority (most likely your city, county, township, or state) or your utility provider, either of which may require that solar installations be done by a licensed professional. This is also the best time to confirm that your project won’t be nixed by your zoning department, historical district standards, or your homeowner’s association.
- Amateur installation is permitted by the local building authority and your utility provider.
- Requirements for amateur installation are reasonable and acceptable. Some authorities require nonprofessionals to pass tests demonstrating basic knowledge of electrical and other household systems, but such tests may not be extensive.
- You’re okay with several hours of physical rooftop work (those with ground-mount systems get a pass here) AND you’re wise enough to wear legitimate fall-arresting equipment (not a rope tied around your waist). You may feel as confident as Mary Poppins dancing on rooftops, but she can fly; you should be tethered.
- You don’t live in a historical district or, if you do, the zoning authority permits PV systems (with acceptable restrictions).
- Your homeowner’s association, if you have one, permits PV systems (with acceptable restrictions). Sometimes the homeowner’s association may need a little nudging to give permission.
- You have a standard type of roofing (asphalt shingles, standing-seam metal, wood shingles, standard flat roof). If you have slate, concrete tile, clay tile, or other fragile/specialty roofing, consult a roofing professional and/or hire out the PV installation. This is not necessarily a deal-breaker.
TEXT EXCERPTED FROM INSTALL YOUR OWN SOLAR PANELS © JOSEPH BURDICK AND PHILIP SCHMIDT.
Install Your Own Solar Panels
Labor and related costs account for more than half of the price of the average home solar installation. But homeowners can save thousands of dollars with this user-friendly manual, which follows the same process professional contractors use. Through detailed directions and step-by-step photos, veteran solar installer Joseph Burdick and seasoned builder Philip Schmidt teach you how to determine the size, placement, and type of installation you’ll need. This comprehensive DIY guide covers everything from assembling rooftop racking or building a ground-mount structure to setting up the electrical connections and making a battery bank for off-grid systems.
The Pros and Cons of DIY Solar Panels: Should You Install Them Yourself or Pay Someone Else?
Decide whether do-it-yourself solar panels are worth the extra effort.
If you’re a homeowner, it’s not hard to see the appeal of solar panels. Whether you are conscious of your carbon emissions or your budget (or both!), installing DIY solar panels can shrink your impact on the planet and lower the monthly energy bill.
But while the DIY solar panels can be an elegant and eco-friendly option in some situations, they aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone’s energy-related issues. Below, we’ll walk you through the pros and cons of undergoing the DIY project of installing your own solar panels. And we’ll help you decide if you want to take on the task or pursue another option like a solar power purchase agreement or having solar panels installed professionally.
One of the primary appeals of any DIY project, other than the satisfaction of a job well done, is saving money. When you choose to install solar panels on your property yourself, it means that you won’t have to pay for anyone else’s expertise or labor, which typically adds a considerable amount of cost to the project.
Can solar panels save you money?
Interested in understanding the impact solar can have on your home? Enter some basic information below, and we’ll instantly provide a free estimate of your energy savings.
According to research conducted by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, labor typically accounts for about 10% of the total price tag for installing solar panels. Given the average cost for installing solar panels is 18,500, that means a savings of nearly 2,000. That’s a significant amount of money to keep in your bank account.
However, there is a trade-off. If you aren’t paying someone else to do the work of installation, it means you are doing it yourself. That means a significant amount of manual labor and time spent to set up the system, which you’ll be doing on your own. You also may not be able to claim certain incentives offered to homeowners who install solar panels. Some of the tax rebates that states offer for going green require a certified company to do the installation for you. To make sure you’re actually saving money, it’s worth checking into these incentives and how much they will save you.
Can solar panels save you money?
Interested in understanding the impact solar can have on your home? Enter some basic information below, and we’ll instantly provide a free estimate of your energy savings.
It is possible to do the process of installing solar panels on your own. There are solar systems designed specifically for DIYers that, while sometimes time-consuming, should be more than doable.
It’s worth noting, though, that many DIY solar panels are not designed to hook up to the traditional energy grid. They are designed more for off-grid purposes, like powering RVs or other spaces that are not typically served by a standard utility. If you are only looking to supplement your traditional energy source, DIY solar panels can get the job done. If you are looking to power your entire home with solar power, it might be better to trust an expert.
Installing a full solar energy system requires at least some knowledge of electrician work so you can properly handle the wiring and other technical aspects. You will likely have to work in relatively dangerous settings, including doing work on your roof and working with buried wires. The stakes are high for a mishap; crossed wires can result in malfunction and even electrical fires. It also may be illegal for you to do this work without a professional’s help, depending on your municipality’s zoning laws.
As always, consult a qualified professional if you have any questions about your home install project.
As mentioned, most DIY solar panel projects are not meant to replace traditional energy sources. They offer the ability to supplement power from the grid or power smaller spaces like an RV or a tiny home. But for a full-size home, a professionally installed solar system is likely best.
There are some settings that are ideal for a DIY solar project. If you have a garage or shed that requires electricity, you can go off the grid and keep it powered with solar panels. DIY solar panels often offer a bit more flexibility in size and placement, so they can be set up in an alignment that works best for you in these settings. DIY solar panels are also useful as a backup option if you were to lose power for the electrical grid, as long as you have a functional solar battery to store the generated power.
Solar panels typically last about 25 years, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be issues along the way. DIY solar panels in particular can be subject to requiring maintenance because the quality is not guaranteed.
Perhaps you tried to save in your up-front costs and purchased cheaper panels that are more susceptible to wear and tear. Unfortunately, you can end up being on your own in replacing them. Unless a failure falls under the warranty of the manufacturer, you may have to replace the panel on your own. It’s much easier to accidentally void the warranty if you’re installing the panels yourself, as well.
Oftentimes, professionally installed panels come with some sort of warranty from the company that does the installation. They will be able to service any issue that you may be experiencing, and may even cover the cost.
Decide what is best for your home
DIY solar panels can make for a fun project and a functional feature for your home, offering additional electricity from a renewable energy source. However, these panels are better served for smaller spaces like sheds or tiny homes. If you are looking to ditch the grid entirely and power your whole home with solar energy, consider a professional installation. It may cost more upfront, but the additional benefits of an expert installation, support in case of future failure, and access to full tax incentives may end up paying for itself over time.