Our Simple DIY Home Solar Power System
But we didn’t want to lose the feel of our simple home by bringing in a large generator and the jugs of gas needed to run it, and the prospect of setting up a wind turbine or solar array seemed expensive and a technological eyesore in a natural setting.
Editor’s Note: This article was first posted in 2012. Since then we’ve made a few upgrades to our system that are reflected in this updated version. Basically, we’ve added a couple panels and got a larger capacity charge controller, and added a battery charger to supplement the system during the darkest weeks of winter when solar power is at a minimum.
For many years we managed to get along without the conveniences which electricity can provide, but developing Eartheasy.com using a dialup internet connection on a phone line strung through the woods was challenging, and charging my laptop became a regular necessity. A few years ago, wireless broadband was introduced to our area, and the promise of high-speed internet was the stimulus we needed to build our own reliable, affordable and simple “do-it-yourself” alternative energy system.
…developing Eartheasy.com using a dialup internet connection on a phone line strung through the woods was challenging…
Today, with the help of a local expert on off grid home solar power and alternative energy systems, we have the best of both worlds. Our basic solar powered energy system provides more electricity than we expected, it has been very reliable and maintenance-free, and it is almost entirely hidden from view. A solar panel on the roof with a few wires leading to a small battery bank powers my laptop, and a radio mounted on a tree for receiving the wireless broadband signal. The system also provides enough energy to charge several small power tools, run our home sound system and, amazingly, power a full-size chest refrigerator year round.
The cost of this complete solar system, in today’s pricing for the components, was about 1200.
Our simple home solar power system is comprised of four basic components: the solar panels, a charge controller, two 6-volt golf cart batteries and a small inverter. My son and I were able to install the system in a few hours, and there have been no maintenance issues other than checking the fluid level in the batteries every few months and cleaning the panel surfaces once in a while. Also every year or two I lift up one side of each panel to sweep out any leaves or pine needles that may have collected there.
The cost of this complete solar system, in today’s pricing for the components, was about 1200. It should be noted that I bought the panels ‘used’ for 100 each. Many folks in our community have replaced their 123-watt panels with newer 250-watt ones, which cost about 250 each. So the 123’s were readily available and I was satisfied with the amount of energy they would provide.
The four components are the batteries, charge controller (bottom right), inverter (top right) and battery charger (below inverter).
The basic components of this off grid solar power system are as follows:
We have three solar panels mounted on the roof of our home: 123 watt Sharp Photovoltaic Modules, model 123UJF. The panels are equipped with permanently attached junction boxes for ease of installation of wires and conduit. For each panel, two boards are lag screwed into the roof and the solar panel is bolted to the boards using wing nuts, so it’s easy to lift if maintenance is required. The panel surfaces are about 5” above the roof surface. Two wires run from the solar panels, one is the power line and the other is a ground line. The power line runs down the roof to the charge controller, where there is a fuse. A box on the porch houses the charge controller, inverter and batteries. The ground wire runs beneath the house and is attached to a steel rod that is driven about two feet into the earth.
Panel on roof/panel specs from back of panel
It should be noted that the panel guidelines state that the installation of PV modules requires a “great degree of skill and should only be performed by qualified licensed professionals, including licensed contractors and licensed electricians.” We installed our system ourselves because our supplier, who is a licensed installer, gave us explicit directions and came by to inspect the installation after it was done. We suggest that you follow the recommendation as stated in the module instructions with regard to installation.
The cost of the solar panels in today’s pricing is about 1 per watt.
We use a Morningstar ProStar30 Charge Controller that automatically adjusts the amount of power running into the battery. The controller has a small LED light which indicates the state of charge so it’s easy to see when the batteries are fully charged or if they are becoming depleted. The light flashes green, amber or red, indicating the battery status at any given time. A digital readout shows the battery voltage level and the rate of charge coming from the panels. A quick glance at the charge controller lets us know if we have sufficient power or if we need to cut back a bit on our electricity use until the batteries are topped up again.
The cost of the Morningstar ProStar30 Charge Controller was about 250. You can get it for around 200 today.
Two 6-volt golf cart batteries are wired in series for a 12 volt system. Each battery is rated at 232 amp hours. The batteries are enclosed in a wooden chest with hinged lid, and the top panel of the chest is removed to provide plenty of ventilation. The battery posts and connections are kept clean, and periodically checked to ensure good connections.
The two batteries/closeup of label
The four components are installed in this cedar box with ventilation slot. This box doubles a bench to sit on while removing shoes.
The cost for the two batteries was about 400.
The final piece of the system is a small inverter which converts the 12 volt DC power into 120 volt AC power. This enables us to use standard electric devices without the need for adaptors. Inverters are available in a wide range of wattages for different size systems. Ours is a small inverter made by Nexxtech, rated at 300 watts, with a 500 watt surge capacity. It comes with two cables, red and black, with alligator clip ends for gripping to the battery posts. In choosing which size inverter to buy, we calculated how much power was available to our system and what devices we wanted to run. In calculating power needs, it is important to add the power requirements when two or more devices are running simultaneously.
This is our small Nexxtech inverter.
Our Nexxtech 300 watt inverter cost about 30.
This past year we added a battery charger to the system that serves as supplemental power. Running the battery charger when the batteries get low enables us to have more light and power in the darkest days of winter. The charger is in the same box with the batteries and other components. You may see in the pictures there are two extension cords coming up through the floor – these lead to our woodshed where we have a small Honda 2000 generator. To run the charger, we start the generator, plug the charger into one of the extension cords, and also plug the inverter power line into the other extension cord. The generator only needs to run for about 30 minutes to bring the batteries back up to 12.8 or higher. Then the generator is shut off, the battery charger unplugged, and the inverter power line plugged back in. This process takes only a minute or two, and the restored batteries have sufficient power till the rooftop panels start to get light the next day.
left: Battery charger is on floor beneath inverter. right. Close-up of battery charger.
What this system provides:
An alternative energy system can be used to provide electric power to any number of electric devices, such as appliances, tools and computers. The bigger the system, obviously, the more power it will provide. To give you an idea of the capacity of a small system like ours, here is what we use our solar energy system to power:
Refrigeration: This is a DC powered refrigerator, the same size as a conventional chest freezer (4’ wide). The refrigerator draws 40 watts of power and can be converted to a freezer by replacing the thermostat. Since the refrigerator is a DC model, it is wired directly to the battery, bypassing the inverter. So the refrigerator keeps running even if the inverter is turned off. Our refrigerator has been running continuously for over 8 years without any problems. Even during the dark days of winter, the solar panels provide adequate power to keep it running.
Music: Our home has a Vers sound system which lets us use an iPod or direct cable from an iPhone or computer to deliver a rich sound while drawing relatively little power. We can run this sound system about 3 hours a day in winter, and as much as we want in summer.
Light: The big change for our home is electric lights. We have replaced our kerosene lights with a few of these LED lights, which are only 7 watts each.
Internet: Our solar system also provides adequate power to run a laptop computer, a tablet and to recharge cell phones. It also powers a router from so that multiple computers can be operated ‘Wi-Fi’ at the same time. In addition to the router, a small radio is installed on a tree about 300’ from our house which receives the wireless broadband and transmits the signal to the house.
Small tools and appliances: The system also recharges small tools, such as a battery-powered driver-drill. Our system recharges the battery for this tool in about 30 minutes.
These are the principle applications we use which are provided by the solar power system described above. However, you can use a wide variety of electric devices as needed. Today, we enjoy the benefits of our system without feeling a technological intrusion into our off-grid homestead and lifestyle. The refrigerator especially has made a big improvement in our day to day living, since storing food is so much easier. And we don’t miss the kerosene lamps.
Bringing electricity to rural locations is something of a balancing act since we don’t want our simple lifestyle changed by too many electrical gadgets. It does require some restraint to keep things simple, but the few electric amenities we now have are most appreciated!
About the Author
Greg SeamanOriginally from Long Island, NY, Greg Seaman founded Eartheasy in 2000 out of concern for the environment and a desire to help others live more sustainably. As Editor, Greg combines his upbringing in the cities of New York, Boston and San Francisco with the contrast of 31 years of living ‘off-grid’ to give us a balanced perspective on sustainable living. Greg spends his free time gardening, working on his home and building a wooden sailboat with hand tools.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How to Install Solar Panels at Home
Installing solar panels on your house is a great way to cut down on energy expenses and help the environment. Solar panels have gained momentum in recent years, and countless homeowners are now turning to them as an alternate source of power. Whether you’re wanting to save money on electricity bills or do your bit for nature, putting up solar panels at home is a solid decision. In this blog article, we’ll look into the pros, costs, and DIY instructions for installing solar panels at home.
The Benefits of Solar Energy
Solar energy’s popularity has grown in recent years, partly due to the financial benefits and lower utility bills associated with it. Savings can vary depending on electricity consumption, solar energy system size, purchase or lease options, daily sunlight hours, roof size and angle, and local rates.
Solar power is viewed as an upgrade to one’s residence. The United States boasts a colossal solar resource, thus even places with relatively small amounts of solar resources can experience monetary savings. Every kWh of solar energy created will also decline greenhouse gas effusions and other grave pollutants as well as lessen water usage and extraction.
For those looking to put in solar panels in their home, something as small as 100 watt solar panels and 24 volt electrical storage batteries could serve as a good beginning. If you need greater power, then beefing up to 300 watt solar panels or larger with a sun-following system may be worth considering.
Check out our “Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Install Home Solar Panels” for more on the benefits of home solar.
How to find the best solar system for you
The first question you want to ask yourself is, who will install the system? Do you want to hire a solar pro? If so, read our in depth guide to finding the right solar installer for you!
Do you want to do-it-yourself? Awesome, we have all the resources you’ll need to get up to speed.
The next step is to figure out what kind of system you want. There are several different types of solar systems available, depending on your specific needs. Are you looking to build a small, portable solar generator or looking for a permanent whole home system?
Off-grid solar systems have no connection to the utility grid and must make all the electricity necessary for the home. Grid plus battery backup systems can be used to add backup power to a grid-tie solar system. Grid-tie solar systems are designed for those who already have electric utility service and wish to reduce their electric bill.
When selecting a solar system, you should consider how much you’ll need, what type of solar panels you want, and whether you need a battery for storage. Our solar calculators can help your figure that out.
You should also consider the type of mounting system you’ll use. Options include sun tracking systems and stationary systems. Sun tracking systems use sensors to detect the sun’s position and adjust the angle of the panels throughout the day for optimal energy production. Stationary mounting systems remain in one position throughout the day.
Finally, consider adding solar batteries for storage if you need a more reliable source of electricity when the sun isn’t shining. Common types of batteries for home solar systems include 12v and 24v batteries to larger 48v batteries.
Once you’ve determined which type of system best suits your needs, it’s important to understand how a solar panel works, what types of solar panels are available, and how to safely install the system. altE can help you find a professional installer to get the most out of your home solar power system if you don’t want to install it yourself.
The Cost of Solar Energy
Are you asking yourself “how much for solar panels?”
When it comes to installing solar panels at home, there are a few things to consider. The first is the cost of the system itself. Solar panel systems can range from a few hundred dollars for a small DIY setup to tens of thousands of dollars for larger systems.
The size and complexity of the system will also determine the cost. It is important to do your research and find out what type of system you need for your home in order to get the most benefit from it.
With solar energy, the costs and pricing estimates vary by state and region. Regions with higher usage and more sunny days per year tend to have more robust incentive programs in place that may make solar energy more accessible. However, other areas of the U.S. may not have the same level of development for solar-powered solutions.
How much you can expect to pay for a solar panel system is dependent on the number of panels required to meet your energy needs, the type of solar panel you choose, and the incentives available in your region. However, according to Forbes, “Solar panels cost, on average, about 16,000, or between 3,500 to 35,000 depending on the type and model.” That’s quite a range!
When considering the cost of solar energy, you may want to consider looking into wholesale options, as this may be the most cost-effective route. A solar wholesaler like altE can offer competitive pricing on solar systems for homes and help with understanding how a solar panel works and what components are needed to create a complete system.
At altE Store, our smallest tiny house kits start at 2,500 and our Grid-Tied 10kW Residential Home Solar System with Battery Backup is around 26,000. This of course doesn’t include the labor cost to install the system, or other costs like permits. But the sky is the limit and we can design a perfect system for nearly any budget. Browse our large selection of solar power kits, send a quote request for a custom kit or give us a call and we’ll help you design the prefect system.
When it comes to installing solar panels at home, there are a few things to consider. The first is the cost of the system itself. Solar panel systems can range from a few hundred dollars for a small DIY setup to tens of thousands of dollars for larger systems.
When it comes to installing solar panels at home, the size and complexity of the system will determine the cost. It is important to do your research and find out what type of system you need for your home in order to get the most benefit from it.
The Process of Installing Solar Panels
Installing solar panels in your home is a great way to save money and reduce your carbon footprint. However, it is important to understand the process of installation before making any decisions.
First, you’ll need to decide which type of solar panel best suits your needs. There are several options available, from smaller than 100watt solar panels to larger than 300w solar panels, flexible solar panels, bifacial solar panels, and more. Each type has its own pro’s and con’s, so it’s important to consider which type will be most suitable for your home.
In general flexible solar panels are less efficient than traditional solar modules and don’t have very long warranties. Bifacial solar panels work best when you have a reflective surface behind them, like a white roof or light colored gravel. Most people go with traditional solar panels as they have the best price points and functionality in most circumstances.
Next, you’ll need to choose how much power you want to generate with your solar panels. You can either purchase a solar system for homes that comes with a certain number of panels and an inverter, or purchase each component separately and assemble your own system. In either case, it is important to know how much power you will need before buying anything.
Once you’ve purchased all of the necessary components, you’ll need to install them. Depending on where you live, you may be able to do the installation yourself or hire a professional. If you decide to do the installation yourself, make sure to read up on safety guidelines and double-check all connections before turning on your system.
If you plan on having a battery bank for your home solar power system, it’s essential to research the right type of batteries for home solar. The most common type is a 24V battery, although there are other options available depending on how much energy you want to store and how much you’re willing to spend.
By following these steps and researching the various components involved in a home solar power system, you can ensure that your system will be both safe and efficient. With the right preparation and planning, you’ll be able to enjoy the many benefits of a solar powered home for years to come!
Do-It-Yourself Tips for Installing Solar Panels
Installing solar panels at home is a great way to save money on electricity and reduce your carbon footprint. You can also find many benefits from solar energy, such as independence from the grid and increased home value. But before you begin your solar project, it’s important to understand how much solar energy you need, the cost of solar energy, and the process of installing solar panels.
When installing solar panels at home, it’s best to start by doing some research to determine what type of system is right for your home. Solar powered systems come in a variety of sizes and shapes, ranging from micro systems with 100Watt solar panels or smaller to gigawatt plus utility scale power plants!
Once you’ve decided how much power you need, you’ll need to find out how much for solar panels and other equipment like a 12v or 24V battery, a home inverter, and batteries for your home solar system.
Once you’ve chosen the right equipment, it’s time to purchase the supplies and begin installation. You can purchase the equipment from a solar wholesaler, like altE, online or on the phone. Make sure to read up on how a solar panel works and the basics of wiring a home solar power system so that you know what to expect during installation.
Once all of the solar components are installed, it’s important to consider a battery bank for your home solar system. This will store any excess energy your home produces for later use. Choosing the right batteries for your home solar system is key; look for high quality batteries that are rated for long-term use and make sure to research their warranties before making your purchase.
Installing solar panels at home can seem intimidating, but with the right preparation and research, it doesn’t have to be. By following these do-it-yourself tips for installing solar panels, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful and sustainable home solar system. And if you decide the DIY route is not for you, give us a call and we’ll work to find a solar pro in your area to help.
Wrapping things up
Many people around the world are looking for ways to become more energy efficient. One of the best methods is to install solar panels at home. Installing solar panels at home can be a great way to reduce your energy costs, help the environment, and have the freedom to create your own energy source.
Whether you decide to purchase the panels from a solar panel wholesale supplier and install them yourself or get a solar installation professional to do the work, the end result is a reliable source of clean energy. Additionally, you can pair the panels with a battery bank to store excess energy. Getting a solar panel with battery bank makes for a combo so you always have power when you need it. With some research and preparation, anyone can make their house solar powered in no time.
Deciding to use solar power to power and convert your home to a solar house is a Smart choice and investing in solar panels is an excellent way to save money in the long run. Solar panels are an efficient, eco-friendly way to power your home, so consider giving them a try. With the right solar batteries for homes, you can start seeing the benefits of going solar almost immediately.
Using solar power for your home has many benefits. Solar energy is a renewable, clean source of energy that can help reduce your electricity bills and your carbon footprint. Solar panels are becoming increasingly affordable and easy to install, making them an attractive option for homeowners looking to save money and reduce their environmental impact.
Most people choose to go solar for the following reasons:
1) Lower electricity bills – Depending on the amount of electricity you use each month, installing a system can result in a significant reduction in your power bills as it will rely less on grid electricity.
2) Environmental friendly – Solar panels rely on clean renewable energy sources rather than polluting fossil fuels used by most power utilities. This makes installing a system one of the simplest ways to reduce your carbon footprint and have less impact on our environment.
3) Tax credits and incentives– Many nations offer tax credits or other financial incentives when you install a solar panel system in your home or business premises. These incentives help offset initial installation costs.
Once you have the necessary information, you can begin to plan your solar panel installation. Start by researching the types of panels available and their associated costs. You should also consider the size of your home and how much energy you will need to power it. This will help you determine how many panels you need and what type of system would be best for your needs.
Next, decide whether you want to install the solar panels yourself or hire a professional installer. If you choose to do it yourself, make sure that you understand all safety precautions and follow all instructions carefully. You may also want to consult with an electrician before beginning any work on the wiring or electrical components of your system.
Finally, once everything is in place, connect the solar panels to your home’s electrical system and start enjoying clean energy from the sun! With proper maintenance, your solar panel system should last for decades and provide a reliable source of renewable energy for years to come.
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.