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DIY SOLAR PANELS | UK GUIDE. DIY home solar setup

DIY SOLAR PANELS | UK GUIDE. DIY home solar setup

    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.

    Related articles:

    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?

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    DIY Solar Panels: Understanding the Pros and Cons

    It’s easy to think that a do-it-yourself (DIY) solar installation is a simple job that just involves bolting a bunch of solar panels to your roof. Some companies even sell DIY solar kits, with the sales pitch that you’ll start enjoying clean energy as soon as you finish the project.

    It’s true that for certain types of installations, you can enjoy some cost savings by installing solar panels yourself. DIY solar panels also allow you to create smaller off-grid systems for buildings that don’t have full-scale electricity needs.

    solar, panels, guide, home

    However, the details of a DIY solar installation can get complicated if you’re not a professional. You could jeopardize your safety, or spend more money in the long run. Before you begin your project, you should understand the pros and cons of DIY solar panels.

    What are the Pros of DIY Solar Panels?

    Choosing the DIY route for your solar power project offers you benefits such as lower costs, increased control, and convenience. If you’re already a home improvement expert who regularly completes large, complex projects on your own, you understand the appeal of DIY kits for homes.

    DIY Solar Can Save You Money

    Installing a solar power system yourself saves you the cost of hiring a third-party solar installer’s services. If you can design a solar panel system that takes care of your home’s electricity demands, you can lower your upfront installation expenses.

    According to a 2021 Study by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, labor accounts for about 10% of the total price tag for installing solar panels. These potential savings vary depending on local variables like the solar system size and your qualification for the solar tax credit. It also assumes that the DIY installers do everything themselves and don’t have to hire any additional outside assistance.

    Solar panel options span a wide range of cost, output, and efficiency. However, most solar companies work with a limited number of equipment manufacturers and solar panel options to keep costs down. By going the DIY route, you can buy the panels that match your budget and electricity needs.

    DIY Solar Can Give You Control

    If you have substantial DIY experience and you want to take complete control of your home improvement projects, a DIY solar power installation might be perfect for you.

    • Choose any component: You can purchase the panels and equipment you want since you aren’t tied to what a third-party company offers.
    • Tailor your project: You can tailor various stages of your solar installation to meet your specific needs, desires, or timeline. Want to build your own ground mount? Go for it! Just be sure you’re comfortable negotiating with municipal officers, financial planners, electricians, and tax accountants.

    DIY Solar Can Be Convenient

    Do you have the perfect design in mind? Installing solar panels as a DIY project allows you to design a unique setup for your panels. Furthermore, you aren’t stuck waiting for the work schedules of a third-party installer.

    Do you need a little power in a toolshed or old barn? Thinking of buying a solar-powered toilet, trailer, cabin, or tiny home for a secluded getaway spot? A DIY solar installation is also convenient when installing power in smaller off-grid structures that just need a starter kit.

    What are the Cons of DIY Solar Panels?

    Even if you’re an experienced DIY’er, you can run into serious issues with installing your own solar panels:

    DIY Solar Requires Specific Knowledge

    A DIY solar system installation requires more knowledge and skills than your average weekend home improvement project. It isn’t something you can easily do by yourself, such as putting up some shelves or digging up a tree stump.

    Installing solar power requires a lot of organization and planning. DIY solar projects are also time-intensive.

    From design and installation to permitting and final connection to the grid, you could easily spend two months or more doing your own work. Depending upon permitting requirements in your area, which can be tricky for solar installations, the process could take even longer.

    You will need a team of people you can depend upon to do a thorough job of the actual installation. This applies to basic work such as lifting the panels onto the roof and complicated tasks such as connecting the solar arrays to your home’s electrical system.

    To install rooftop solar panels, you’ll obviously have to climb onto and work on the roof of your home. That means you’ll need to understand and follow enhanced safety protocols to avoid hazards like falling off the roof.

    For most installations, you’ll have to drill into it your roof. Drilling into the wrong place can lead to structural damage, while incorrect flashing and sealing can lead to roof leakage and mold issues.

    No two homes are ever the same, and every roof’s layout relative to the available sunlight rays may vary. Calculating the proper angles and orientation for your rooftop solar panels makes all the difference in maximizing their efficiency.

    You must navigate various government and utility company offices to get permits and approval for your project. This is stressful work that requires persistence and patience.

    Professional solar installers have people on staff who specifically handle this permitting work, and have established relationships with the people who review and approve those permits.

    DIY Solar Involves Advanced Electrical Work

    A DIY solar project isn’t like changing a light switch in a bathroom. It’s a heavy-duty task that literally involves powering your entire home. Not only do you need to install the solar panels, but you need to take care of inverters, meters, electrical panel connections, batteries, and other technical components.

    You must be very aware of the intricate details of wiring your DIY solar energy system safely and correctly. Even with in-depth tutorials, the jumble of technical components and wiring can easily confuse you. Mistakes such as loose connections, crossed wires, and exposure to elements can lead to electrocution or destructive fire. Yes, it’s that serious.

    While you can have your dream panel design through DIY solar kits, reinventing the wheel can be dangerous or impractical sometimes. A trustworthy contractor can plan out a tailored strategy that fits your home’s electricity needs.

    solar, panels, guide, home

    If something goes amiss in your DIY solar installation, it’s possible that you can void the warranty on your solar equipment.

    While you can still reach out to your manufacturer directly, proving a warranty claim can be challenging. You must ensure that your DIY solar panel installation was done according to their requirements, and was connected correctly to the utility grid.

    If an issue is not covered by the warranty, you may have to pay for the repairs, which will eat into your total savings.

    DIY Solar Requires Specific Equipment

    Completing a DIY installation of a solar panel system requires experience, tools, and materials to install racking, solar panels, electrical boxes, inverters, wires, meters, and other equipment correctly.

    For grid-tied solar systems, you’ll first need to assemble the right components, including:

    • Solar panels: To capture the sun’s rays and convert them into DC energy
    • Mounting system: To mount and secure the solar panel arrays.
    • Inverter: To convert DC energy from your panels into AC electricity for home use, and channel additional AC back to the utility grid
    • Power or DC optimizer: To maximize the power from your PV panels
    • DC disconnect: To shut off your system for maintenance
    • Grid disconnect: To automatically switch off your system when a grid outage occurs.
    • Combiner box: To organize all components

    When it comes to off-grid DIY solar panel kits, you might also need some additional components:

    • Charge controller: To channel DC energy from your panels to your storage battery backup, and then stop sending energy to avoid overcharging.
    • Backup power battery bank: To power and supply your building when sunshine isn’t enough.
    • Balance of system (BoS): This includes all of the other equipment like a breaker box, wires, fuses, etc.

    Don’t forget the safety gear! You don’t want to get injured when installing a roof-mount solar kit for your home. To stay safe, it’s important to invest in the proper safety equipment when working on your roof.

    solar, panels, guide, home

    Before you can install your solar components, you’ll need to buy the necessary equipment and materials. Unlike professional installers, you’re not buying in bulk, meaning you won’t benefit from the economy of scale. These costs can quickly eat up a massive chunk of the DIY solar installation savings we discussed earlier.

    If you don’t have enough experience to know the difference, you can easily fall for low-grade items and cheap solar cells that have flooded the market recently. Yes, the complete DIY solar panel kits that come with all required components and instructions may seem like a great deal, but you shouldn’t assume they’re using high-quality equipment.

    If you do end up using less expensive equipment, you may have to contend with a shorter lifespan, reduced power efficiency, or a more complicated installation in the long run. On the other hand, professional installers know where to source high-quality materials and how to get the job done right the first time.

    DIY Solar Limits Your Options

    If you’re powering devices like televisions, washing machines, and refrigerators, your energy needs can be high. In this case, a simple electrical system from a DIY solar kit may not match your needs.

    A professional installer can help you design the right sized system for your needs, complete with solar battery storage if that’s the right solution for the power needs of your home.

    While many states and utilities provide rebates and incentives that significantly lower the cost of switching to solar, some of them are only available if a certified solar company installs your system.

    You also don’t have as many finance options with DIY solar system kits, which limits your ability to split the cost across monthly payments that align with your solar savings. When buying your solar panels, you may have to buy the system outright when going the do-it-yourself route, vs financing through a third party.

    Can I Install DIY Solar Panels Myself?

    Having looked at some of the pros and cons that come with a DIY solar project, it’s time to decide if DIY solar panels are right for you:

    Short Answer: Probably.

    A DIY home solar kit can serve your needs, especially if your required energy demands are minimal. These out-of-the-box systems are typically not as complex as multi-panel systems that power a large house and connect to the utility grid.

    If you’re still prepared to take this route for a complex solar project, we recommend you first research your local zoning regulations. Some states and countries prohibit the installation of a DIY solar system without professional certification because of the challenges we listed above.

    Long Answer: Probably not.

    Unless your current day job and prior DIY experience include electrical work, engineering acumen, roofing, and government permitting, you should probably leave the heavy lifting to the solar professionals. This is especially true for larger homes with significant electricity needs that require an elaborate solar power plan.

    A residential solar power installation is a significant investment that should serve you for more than 25 years. Setting up everything properly from the very beginning ensures your system functions at its maximum capacity, and helps prevent headaches down the road.

    Our recommendation is to rely on certified experts who install solar systems every day. Before you run out and buy your solar panels, let a solar professional investigate your energy needs and recommend the most suitable option for your home. They can also pinpoint the optimum solar panel placement to maximize your system’s output.

    Overall, are potential DIY home solar savings really worth the risks and headaches of the elaborate process we’ve described? If you derive satisfaction from improving your home on your own and have time to do everything from beginning to end, then a DIY solar panel system might be right for you.

    For most people though, turning to professionals gives them peace of mind. Yes, the upfront costs might be a little higher, but the long-term benefits are worth the expense.

    Palmetto, Your Go-To Solar Installation Experts

    Are you looking to reduce your electricity bill by switching to solar? By working with Palmetto, you can start enjoying the benefits of this green energy source without any of the DIY hassles.

    solar, panels, guide, home

    At Palmetto, we simplify your migration to clean energy. It’s our business to take the risk and guesswork out of clean energy savings and provide end-to-end solutions that save you money and time. We also specialize in financing through solar loans if needed, with a variety of options to match your budget.

    To learn how our professionals can work with you to design and install the perfect solar power system for your home, get started with a Free Solar Design. From there, we can pair you with a solar expert who’s trained to help you get the solar panel system you need, and help you save money by going solar.

    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.

    Why DIY Home Solar Is a Bad Idea

    Putting together your own home solar power system may seem like a good idea and you’ll certainly see a ton of tempting advertising pushing DIY home energy systems. Building and installing you own photovoltaic home energy system, however, is not a good idea at all. The only reason that could justify a DIY installation, that we can think of, would be if you had a very remote home or cabin that is completely off the grid and DIY is your only option. Do it yourself installation of a home solar system is full of problems including; it is very dangerous, DIY doesn’t really save money, getting the proper permits and inspections is a “bear” as well as warranties and solar system follow-up.

    DIY Home Solar Power is Dangerous

    Working on a roof is dangerous business. The biggest cause of deaths in the construction industry is falls from a roof, most of those falls are by roofers and they are professionals. Solar panel installation should only be done by qualified professionals using proper safety equipment. A roof installation of home solar panels is not a job for the weekend handyman.

    Falls aren’t the only danger when it comes to a do-it-yourself home solar power installation. Electrocution is a legitimate concern as well. As soon as a photovoltaic array is exposed to sunlight it starts to produce electricity. Solar arrays need to be hooked together, wired into an inverter and then hooked into the utility energy grid. Anyone attempting to install home solar panels needs to be very knowledgeable about electrical safety so they don’t get zapped.

    Fire is also a consideration. Faulty electrical work always creates a fire hazard, while your roof might not burst into flames immediately, over time through exposure and age, electrical connections that are not properly made might fail causing a real fire danger.

    Does A Do-It-Yourself Home Solar Installation Save Money?

    The answer is; very rarely. In the beginning of the home solar power movement solar panels were very expensive and supply was limited. Most all home solar systems were paid for totally out of and net metering and power purchase agreements were a thing of the future. The future is here now, technological advances in the production of solar panels for home systems has dropped the price and raised quality, improving overall performance. Rebates and incentives combined with the low cost of solar hardware make it possible for many people to get solar power installed for Zero or very little out of costs. Even with an outright purchase most professionally installed home solar energy systems will pay for themselves in a little as 10 years through monthly savings on your energy bill. Why would you risk life and limb, when you don’t have to?

    Permitting and inspections

    There is a labyrinth of permits to negotiate in the process of setting up home solar power systems. Often time a single home solar power installation will require state, local, municipal. Required permits may include construction permits, building permits, electrical permits and even permits from your electric company. Permits usually also include inspection for final approval of the permit requiring knowledge of the inspection process. Our Solar experts work with permitting every day. They are very familiar with every permit required for your specific installation you will never be surprised with unexpected costs or inspection problems.

    Licensing

    Most permits also require that any work done must be by a certified professional. Electrical, building and solar installations usually require very specific licenses. Not worth the investment that would be required of the home do-it-yourselfer. All of our solar installation experts are fully licensed and certified to perform their work in your area.

    Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork

    Permits, Licensing and inspections are just a part of the paperwork that puts an extra burden on the do-it-yourselfer. Federal, state, local and utility rebates and incentives are often combined to offset the cost of a home solar power system. Some are tax rebates, some are straight up cash rebates and some are tied to energy usage. Knowing what rebates are available and how to apply for them properly is something a solar power company specializes in saving money. Money the DIY person quite probably would leave laying on the table.

    Resist the Urge

    We respect the pleasure a successful DIY home improvement project can bring. Gazing at your completed project, hands on hips, chest slightly puffed up while proudly exclaiming (to anyone who might hear) “I DID THAT!” Save that feeling for replacing the transmission in your car or building a fence, installing Home Solar Power is just one of those projects best left to a professional. The best way to satisfy your DIY home solar urge is by understanding all of the solar options available to you. Contact one of our solar advisors, we will help guide you while saving you money and keeping you safe.

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