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Installing Your Own Solar Panels? First, Check This Checklist. DIY solar panel setup

Installing Your Own Solar Panels? First, Check This Checklist. DIY solar panel setup

    Steps to Building a DIY Off-Grid Solar System

    Although the of solar panels have been falling gradually since 2007, the cost of an off-grid solar system setup is rising steadily. However, any homeowner with a basic toolbox can install it on their own, which can help reduce the overall system cost substantially.

    The reason why many decide to hire a professional (or give up on the idea entirely) is the seeming complexity of the process, when in fact, if you pull it to bits you see that individual steps are not at all intricate.

    The following article is structured as a step by step process which teaches you how to choose the appropriate batteries, solar panels, inverter and charge controller, and then instructs you on how to connect and set them up properly.

    Essential components

    In order to build a basic off-grid solar system, you will need the following components:

    Out of your toolbox, you’ll want to take out a few items like copper wire, breaker, meter, fuses and MC4 connector.

    Contents

    The next segment provides detailed instructions on setting up an off-grid solar system, with a few important safety notes.

    Calculate the load

    Before selecting the individual components, it is crucial to calculate your energy needs. Don’t let this scare you, as it is just basic math.

    • First, make a list of all the appliances that will be run and define the number of hours they will be dependent on the solar energy.
    • Second, check the specification chart of each appliance on the list to find out their power rating.
    • Next you need to calculate the Watt Hour: WATT HOUR = RUN TIME x PRODUCT POWER RATING

    Lastly, calculate the total Watt Hour. It is the number you get when you calculate Watt Hours for individual products and then add them all together.

    installing, your, solar, panels, first, check

    Select the battery

    Homeowners typically choose to install solar panels to have backup power in a shorter-term outage, or to empower an off the grid structure.

    Now, to be certain that all your appliances which require constant rated voltage are powered at all times, and that you have enough power for the nighttime, you are advised to go for the deep-cycle battery. Unlike car and bike batteries, deep cycle ones are designed to enable partial discharge and deep slow discharge – what this means is that they can charge during the day, and then gradually discharge between no more than 45 and 75% of their capacity.

    Before you move on to other components, you should decide between 12/24 V or 48 V system voltage. Those who plan on powering a smaller home typically go for 12 V or 24 V, while 48 V are reserved for high power-demanding structures.

    Select the solar panel(s)

    The purpose of a solar panel is to convert the sunlight it receives into electricity as direct current (DC). They are typically categorized as monocrystalline or polycrystalline, the former ones being slightly costlier, but more efficient.

    The solar panel you select should be capable of fully charging a battery you chose in one day. This part can be a bit tricky, since the amount of sunlight highly depends on the geographical area, time of the year, and a number of other factors. Nevertheless, regardless of the location, it is safe to assume the panel will receive sunlight on average for 4 hours.

    Common misconception is that solar panels are powered only when the skies are clear, and they receive direct sunlight, when in fact, they are capable on producing electricity in cloudy weather as well. However, they produce around a quarter of the electricity as they do on sunny days, and only 10% on an extremely cloudy day.

    Select charge controller

    Charge controller is a device placed between a battery and a solar panel, used for the regulation of current and voltage that is coming from the solar panels. It regulates the charge to the battery as the input voltage from panels rises. That way, charge controller prevents the battery from overcharging.

    There are three types of charge controllers to choose from:

    • ON/OFF, known as the least efficient one
    • MPPT, maintaining the status of a highly efficient charge controller, but also a costly one
    • PWM, which delivers satisfying results at a fairly affordable price

    The final decision should be made based on your personal preferences, but our advice would be to go for either MPPT or PWM.

    Select the inverter

    Inverter is a device used to convert the direct current into alternating current (AC), that is, the electricity that powers your appliances.

    There are three types of inverters for solar panels to choose from:

    • Square Wave, that comes at the lowest price, but is not adequate for all devices
    • Modified Sine Wave, which is not suitable for capacitive and electromagnetic devices, such as microwave, fridge and most types of motors
    • Pure Sine Wave is adequate for the majority of appliances and is thus more efficient than the Square and Modified Sine Wave

    The power of the inverter you choose should be higher, or at least equal to the total number of load you’ve calculated in the first step.

    Mount the solar panel

    It is crucial to set up a solar panel on a ground or rooftop were there will be no obstruction of sunlight. It is also important to tilt it to the right direction – if you are on a northern hemisphere, point them to the south, or point them to the north if you are located somewhere on a southern hemisphere. This way, you ensure they capture maximum sunlight.

    One of the methods used to firmly secure the panels is to use concrete that should be poured at each leg of the stand.

    To mount the panel to the stand, use inbuilt holes on its sides to screw it to the stand. You will also find a small junction box on the back side of the panel with negative and positive sign of polarity. Junction boxes on smaller panels come with external wires, while on larger panels, they come with terminal wires with MC4 connector.

    Use black wire for negative, and red wire for positive terminal connection.

    Connect the components

    Although you’ve calculated the battery capacity and solar panel rating, note that these sizes are not readily available in a form of a single unit. To make up for the difference, you need to add either a small panel or batteries that would match system requirement.

    installing, your, solar, panels, first, check

    To match the adequate current rating and voltage, you will need to use series and parallel connections.

    • Series connection – Connect the positive terminal of one device (solar panel or battery) to the negative of the other.
    • Parallel connection – Connect the positive terminal of one device (solar panel or battery) to the positive one of the other.

    Wire the components

    Our advice is to start with the charge controller and connect it to the battery first in order for it to get calibrated. First connect the negative wire from the battery to the negative terminal of the controller, and then connect t he positive one.

    If you do it correctly, indicator led lights which indicate battery levels will light up on the controller.

    Next, connect the charge controller to the solar panel by connecting the wires that you find in the junction box. At this point you will need an MC4 connector.

    Safety notes: When connecting the charge controller with the solar panel, make sure the panel is facing away from the sun and cover it with a dark material. This way you avoid potentially damaging charge controller with a sudden high voltage from the solar panel.

    Furthermore, when connecting the two devices, positive terminal on the panel should be connected to the positive terminal on the charge controller. The same goes for the negative terminal. Most people decide to use wires of different colors to avoid the mix-up, that can result in breakage, or even fire.

    Final words

    We hope the instructions we provided helped you set up your off-grid solar system. Should you have any doubts, feel free to get in touch – we will be more than happy to provide answers and advice on the best devices you can get for the project.

    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.

    Off Grid Solar: A Beginner’s Complete Guide

  • Getting started generating free solar power is really not as hard as it seems. Here, I’ve distilled down everything I’ve learned about off grid solar energy over the last 5 years, in to this easy to follow but comprehensive guide.

  • Determine your power needs
  • Pick the right site
  • Choose your components
  • Build the battery house
  • Install the panels
  • Wire up the system
  • Enjoy your free power!
  • Going off grid with solar power doesn’t have to be hard. While there is a lot of terminology to wade through, in this guide I’ll cut through the jargon and simplify the process of building an solar system. And, I’ll save you money at the same time.

    Step 3 — Ordering the Right Solar System Components

    • The number and size of your solar cells
    • The type and size of your charge controller (MPPT vs PWM, etc)
    • Your battery bank capacity, while considering battery type
    • Choosing the overall voltage of each leg, as well as which loads should be AC vs DC
    • The rating of your inverter, if any

    Step 4 — Building Your Solar Battery House or Compartment

    Once you have the components ordered, you would be ready to build your battery house, which may be a room in your existing home, part of the garage, or a separate shed. Batteries take up a fair amount of room, they need to be protected from kids or critters that might hurt themselves by touching the contacts or might accidentally damage the battery and release the acids inside.

    Additionally, most types of batteries need some amount of temperature control, and don’t do well with freezing weather. However, if you go with less expensive unsealed batteries, you will have to build in some ventilation in to your battery house in order to prevent buildup of explosive hydrogen gas, which these types of batteries release in small amounts when charging.

    In order to reduce costs, most solar setups have their main power electronics — the charge controller(s) and inverter(s) — as well as safety shutoffs, fuses, and breakers in the battery room as well.

    We talk about this in part 3 of this series.

    Step 5 — Installing Solar Panels

    Finally, it’s time to build the panel support and install the solar array. Solar panels are far more efficient when they directly face the Sun, and they last longer when they are rigid and well cooled. A proper solar support structure can be built in many ways, depending on the materials you have on hand, and the skills you posses. I recommend, at the least, building a south facing A-frame type structure out of wood, or metal, with the ability to manually adjust the tilt of your panels during the summer and winter, which can increase your power output by up to 40% with almost no addition cost.

    You could also go all out, and build your own one-axis or two-axis tracking system. Check out the panel installation guide below for more ideas on how to make this work.

    Step 6 — Wiring Up for Off Grid Solar

    With the panels up, now comes time for wiring of the system. This step doesn’t need to be complex. Going off grid, with a boondocking RV, country cabin, or permaculture homestead, means that your electrical system can be much simpler than gird tie systems.

    Going off grid means you have the option to install an all DC system, which can be quite simple and efficient. But even whole home replacement AC systems are possible for the DIYer.

    However, if you intend to use your solar system and connect it to a home that is already connected to grid power, you are likely to be legally required to hire a licensed electrician to wire in your system, and you will need additional hardware from your utilities company to make your own energy system work with line power.

    We talk about wiring your system in part 3 of this series.

    How Many kW of Solar Panels Do I Need?

    In order to accurately determine how big of a solar system you need, the first thing you need to do is determine how much energy you are using. Energy is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh), and by the end of this section you should be able to determine exactly how many kWh you use in a day.

    How to Measure Your Power Usage

    The best and most accurate way to determine your power usage is to measure it yourself. I recommend that you purchased this inexpensive “kill-a-watt” power measuring device for your plug in appliances.

    Using the kill-a-watt is simple just plug it into the wall, and your appliance into it. It can provide you with a wide variety of measurements, but the one we really need is watts, or kilowatts.

    The simplest way to measure energy is to just set the kill-a-watt to measure kilowatt hours. This measurement takes time to get an accurate reading. Ideally, you would leave it attached for 24 hours, and then you would know how much energy it uses during a full day.

    You could also just measure the energy usage for one hour. Then just multiply that number by the number of hours you will use that item during the day.

    A third, less accurate but faster option, you is to just measure the watts that the device is using, which shows up instantaneously. No need to wait. But then you have to multiply the watts by the number of hours you would use it per day. But, this doesn’t take into account any fluctuations in power usage that happen naturally happen in most appliances except entirely passive devices such as lights and heaters.

    Calculating Your Daily Usage

    Now, add up all of the energy measurements that you took all of the devices that you plan to use in a given day. This is your daily energy usage.

    It’s important to realize I your energy usage fluctuate throughout the year. You may use lights much longer in the winter when it’s darker, yet the refrigerators will run less. I recommend you take a power measurement both in the winter and the summer, or at least attempt to adjust number of hours used by each device to account for the differences.

    Knowing how your power usage varies session ally is extremely important for off grid solar, because solar power production also changes throughout the year. So, it is easy to over or under size your system if you only use a yearly average to plan for your system.

    Determining How Much Energy Solar Panels Produce

    As you might have guessed, the amount of power that your solar panel produces depends on how much sun they gets. That means during the shorter days of winter you will get less power. Also, cloudy days will give you much less power than sunny days.

    Again, the best way to know how much power your solar panels will produce is to measure it. Buy one solar panel and measure how much energy you can produce throughout the year. Not every year is the same, so you will need to oversize your system just a little bit in order to account for usually dark or cloudy years.

    However, you may just want to get a rough estimate of how much solar power your panels were produce. Luckily the US government has produced solar power availability data for the entire United States.

    The map above shows on average how much power your solar panels will produce per day. The number depends on the color of your area it ranges from about two to eight. This number can be multiplied by the power rating of your solar panels to determine how much power they would produce. So if you live in an area labeled as three on the map and you bought a 1 kW Solar panel array then you would get 3 kWh of energy produced per day on average.

    This assumes that you have full access to the sun so long as it is up. If location of your solar panels is partially shaded, especially during mid day, then you will get less power than the map shows.

    Also, most of the average power is produced during the summer in most regions because of the longer days and more direct sun exposure. To get a more accurate analysis, go to the NREL website and download detailed maps that show your area in both summer and winter months. This way you can calculate how much power you can produce in the darkest and lightest times of the year.

    Choosing the Right Size Off Grid Solar System

    You will need to size your solar system so that it can produce enough power to cover your winter and summer needs, which often means most of the year you will be producing more power than you can use.

    Additionally, we need to account for the fact that solar systems are not 100% efficient. The process of transferring power from the panels to the charge controller, the charge controller converting it and storing in the batteries, and then the power coming out of the batteries and being potentially transformed into AC, all have some power loss associated with them.

    While it is possible to go through each of your components and determine how efficient they are and thus calculate the perfect number of solar panels for your particular system, I generally just go with a 70% efficiency figure for typical after power systems.

    To calculate how many kW of solar panels you need, including any inefficiencies in the system, just divide your energy needs by 0.7, or whatever figure you come up with for total system efficiency.

    Considering Battery Capacity

    Batteries are necessary to run your solar system at night, when no energy is being produced. They also help level out power consumption between sunny days, when you are getting plenty of power, and cloudy days when you won’t be getting so much.

    installing, your, solar, panels, first, check

    At minimum, your batteries should be large enough to store a full day of charging in the winter. So, if your system is capable of producing 1 kWh during a full day in the winter, then I would choose a battery bank that is capable of storing at least that much.

    Battery capacity is measured in amp-hours (Ah) so in order to get kilowatt hours you would need to multiply that number by the voltage of the battery. For many batteries it would be 12 V, although 24V and 48V batteries are available for renewable energy systems.

    We will be going into more depth on choosing the proper battery in the next section, but be aware that many types of batteries, particularly lead acid batteries, have a very limited discharge depth. Even ”deep cycle” lead acid batteries should only be discharged to 50% capacity. This means you’ll need to double the size or a number of batteries in your system over what the nominal amp-hour rating would suggest.

    Where to Put Your Solar Panels

    While the go to place to put solar panels on the roof, roofs are very frequently not the best place to put your solar panels. There are three reasons why I don’t recommend putting solar panels on the roof: roof direction, shading, and access.

    Make Sure Your Solar Panels Are Accessible

    Lastly, solar panels need to be clean and cool to work a maximum efficiency, and have a nice long life. Dust, dirt, and snow will naturally accumulate on solar panels, which need to be cleaned off periodically. Snow accumulation on your solar panels will reduce their life. Placing your panels closer to the ground where they are easier to access can go along way towards making routine solar panel maintenance actually get done in a timely manner.

    Make Sure You Solar Panels Are As Cool As Possible

    While solar panels are black, they do not like being excessively hot. Over heated panels produce less power, and they wear out much work quickly. A proper solar panel set up should have at least 6 inches behind the panels where air can flow freely and cool down the panels. Roofs are not great because they tend to be excessively hot already, and while you can buy solar panel mounting racks that do allow for ventilation on the roof, putting them down where it’s cooler may save you a lot of extra money in the long run.

    In terms of overall cost of the system, it is best to put the solar panels as close as you can to your home, while keeping them in full sun.

    Related Questions

    How many solar panels does it take to run a house off grid?

    An average size off grid solar system in the US is 5 kW, which means you would need 20 solar panels at 250 W each, or 50 smaller 100 W panels. Whether this would run your house depends on how much sun you get and how much power you use.

    What is needed for an off grid solar system

    • Solar panels (mono or poly)
    • Charge controller (MPPT or PWM)
    • Battery bank (lithium, lead acid, or other)
    • Inverter (pure sine wave)
    • Fuses disconnects
    • Copper wire
    • Misc connectors

    Daniel Mark Schwartz

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    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.

    Costs

    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.

    Installation

    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.

    Use

    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.

    installing, your, solar, panels, first, check

    Maintenance

    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.

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