There are many reasons why people choose solar energy, and it can be surprising how many consider the self installation of solar panels. Some want to switch to clean, renewable energy. Others like the idea of reducing their reliance on the power grid.
But the biggest reason to use solar energy is to save money. A Pew survey on solar energy found that 96% of people who have installed or will install solar energy do so to save money on electricity bills, more than any other reason cited.
Now, it’s entirely possible to see big savings by using a professional solar company; after all, that’s the way most people get solar. But if you want to reduce your initial costs as much as possible, you may want to consider a DIY installation. After all, it costs less to do things yourself instead of hiring someone else to do it for you! In the case of solar panels DIY installation, you must find a certified solar equipment one stop shop.
So, what are the pros and cons of a DIY installation of a solar energy system? And how can one accomplish that?
I’ll answer those questions by going through each of the main pros and cons of installing a DIY solar panel, and then I’ll break the design and installation process down into six simple steps.
What are the pros and cons of self installation of solar panels?
Although cheaper than going solar with a professional solar company, DIY solar power is still a big and expensive commitment. You’ll want to find out if self installation of solar panels is right for you before investing too much in the process!
To help you decide if DIY solar is worth it for you, here’s a list of possible pros and cons:
Advantages of DIY solar systems
The self installation of solar panels can save homeowners thousands of dollars in initial installation costs. The average cost of installing solar panels by a professional solar company is around $2.95 per watt. For a typical 5 kW (5,000 watts) solar panel system, that works out to $14,750.
On the other hand, a 5 kW DIY solar panel kit costs between $1.00 and $1.50 per watt. Assuming you do all the work yourself (meaning no contractors for any of the tasks), the total cost of a 5 kW DIY solar project is between $5,000 and $7,500. You should consider the price of solar panels as well. You may want to check out the Canadian solar panels price, for instance.
That works out to a potential savings of $7,250 – $9,759 by choosing to DIY over a professional solar installation. The figures above are just averages. Many variables can change these numbers for you, such as system size and whether or not you qualify for the solar tax credit (which is worth 30% of solar system costs). If you want to start a DIY solar project, you should also add the solar dc cable price to your overall cost.
If you like to undertake large and challenging DIY projects, then the self installation of solar panels could be just what you are looking for.
You’ll need to draw on many different skill sets, such as the ability to negotiate municipal processes, financial planning, mastery of power tools, electrical work, and even tax accounting.
And there are many stages to solar installation: research, planning, purchasing, permitting, installation, electrical wiring, and monitoring.
This is a project that will keep you busy for a while, and if you manage to complete the electrical installation of solar panels on your own, you’ll be proud of your accomplishment.
And now the cons of self installation of solar panels
It’s a lot of time and effort
Installing solar panels by yourself can be rewarding, but only if you’re actively looking for a serious DIY challenge. However, if your experience with DIY projects is limited to assembling flat-panel Scandinavian furniture, you may want to avoid the self installation of solar panels.
Not only does it require a lot of planning and organization skills, but it is also a time-consuming project: From conception to commissioning, a DIY solar installation typically takes between one and four months.
Risk of roof damage or leaks
This is perhaps the biggest financial risk when it comes to the installation of solar panels on the roof of your home. Unless you have a flat roof, your solar installation will involve drilling a large number of holes in your roof.
Drilling in the wrong place on the roof can cause structural damage, while improper sealing and flashing can cause roof leaks and/or mold problems. If you want to install solar panels yourself, you may want to consider the ground installation of solar panels.
Another factor to consider is that a DIY solar installation is likely to void your roof warranty, leaving you footing the bill for any repairs that may be necessary.
Heights and high voltage electricity are two big risks DIYers are exposed to during a solar installation. And the physical risks are not just limited to the self installation of solar panels. If there is a problem during the 25-year life of the panels, it will be up to you to go back to the roof to fix the problem. Worst of all, if you don’t connect the wiring correctly, your ceiling system could catch on fire!
No support for faults or warranty claims
You are on your own if there is ever an equipment failure. Obviously, you can still directly get in touch with the manufacturer, but it can be hard to prove your warranty claim. Also, if you do an incorrect installation, it may void your warranty.
Inability to claim some incentives
Many states offer incentives and rebates that dramatically lower the cost of solar power. However, some incentives are only available when the installation is completed by a certified solar company. So, our proposal for installation of solar panels to you is to be sure to check what incentives and discounts are available where you live.
Doing it yourself or not, solar energy is the future
If you have read this lengthy blog post, congratulations. It means that you are serious about solar energy, a journey that I am sure you will find very rewarding. Solar panels will lower your electricity bills, reduce your carbon emissions and increase your energy independence.
If you have a lot of free time and the skills to pull it off, you may be able to get the self installation of solar panels done without needing the services of a professional.
However, if a DIY solar installation seems like more than you can handle, then don’t worry – many highly-skilled solar installers can do the job for you.
Do it yourself or not, we hope that reading our guide for the DIY installation of solar panel system at home was useful. We wish you the best on your solar journey!