Con: Installing Solar Is Complicated Homemade Solar Energy Requires Training And Experience
When you decide to DIY your solar panels, remember that you get what you pay for. A home solar kit may be less expensive, but solar installers offer tremendous value for a relatively little additional cost . When it comes to installing an expensive electrical system on your property, finding someone who knows what they’re doing can actually save you both time and money in the long run.
Some of the best solar installers have been in the business for decades an experience that no amount of online research or DIY guides can replicate. Every state requires that installers are licensed and qualified to install solar. In addition, independent certifications like the Solar PV Installation Professional Certification ensure that the company you choose to work with has an intimate understanding of the process.
Your solar installer will also help you complete and file the permits and applications you need to submit to get your solar energy system up and running. This is particularly important because your utility won’t let you connect your system to the grid without sign-off from a certified electrician.
Commonly Asked Questions About Solar Panel Installations
To better understand the installation process and how to install solar panels, check out a few of our answers to homeowners most frequently asked questions:
How much does it cost to install a solar panel setup?
On average, solar panel installation costs range between $17,612 and $23,236. For more information, learn about how much the average solar panel installation costs in the U.S.
Can I install solar panels myself?
Yes, technically you can install a DIY solar panel system yourself. However, when it comes to installing a costly electrical system on your property, we recommend relying on the professionals who can help fill out permits, file important paperwork, and handle potentially dangerous electrical issues that may arise. Read our article to learn more about the pros and cons of DIY solar panels.
How long do solar installations take?
On average, it will typically take between one and three months before your solar panels are grid-connected and producing energy for your home.
Con: Installing Solar Is Complicated Homemade Solar Energy Requires Training And Experience
When you decide to DIY your solar panels, remember that you get what you pay for. A home solar kit may be less expensive, but solar installers offer tremendous value for relatively little additional cost . When it comes to installing an expensive electrical system on your property, finding someone who knows what theyre doing can actually save you both time and money in the long run.
Some of the best solar installers have been in the business for decades experience that no amount of online research or DIY guides can replicate. Every state requires that installers are licensed and qualified to install solar, and independent certifications like the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners Solar PV Installation Professional Certification ensure that the company you choose to work with has an intimate understanding of the process.
Your solar installer will also help you complete and file the permits and applications that you need to submit to get your solar energy system up and running. This is particularly important because your utility wont let you connect your system to the grid without sign-off from a certified electrician.
Don’t Miss: How Much Does It Cost For Solar Panels
Build A Do It Yourself Solar Panels For Small Projects
Do it yourself solar panels offer you a unique opportunity to power vehicles such and RVs and boats and some independent parts of your home.
Many of the off-grid DIY Solar panel kits available on the market are not big enough to completely power residential homes.
You can only use them to supply electricity to your
- Recreational Vehicles, motorhomes, camper trailers,
- And independent sections of your home, such as storage sheds and outdoor lighting.
This is especially beneficial if you have a large property and want to cut down your electricity cost.
When It Comes To Solar Panels How Long Do They Last
Keep in mind that just because your solar panels are predicted to last a couple of decades doesnt imply theyll stop producing electricity. It simply implies that their energy production will be reduced by the amount that solar panel manufacturers believe is necessary to meet the energy needs of the ordinary American family.
Also Check: How To Read Energy Bill With Solar Panels
Frequently Asked Questions About Diy Solar Panels
If youre considering a DIY solar panel kit, but still have concerns about the best options, process, and general cost, check out a few of the most common questions we encounter when talking to solar shoppers:
Are DIY solar panels worth it?
DIY solar panels may be tempting to install, but their long-term worth may be up for debate due to quality alone. Typically, a solar panel system should continue to generate electricity for 25 to 35 years, so its important to invest in quality equipment and a reputable installer. If you purchase a home solar panel kit from a retailer, you may be paying less per watt, but youre not going to get the same efficiency or quality that professional installers usually offer with their products. Youll also likely forgo any warranties that come with your solar panel system, as warranties often only apply when the system is installed by a certified installer. Its also important to mention that if you still need to rely on some utility power and need to remain connected to the grid, DIY solar panels are not worth itthey are best used for small off-grid projects.
Do you need to be an electrician to install solar panels?How much do DIY solar panels cost?
You can find reliable DIY solar panels at retailers like Home Depot, manufactured by Grape Solar, for anywhere between $6,000 to $11,000, depending on your system size needs. For lower cost options, some manufacturers sell DIY solar panels on Amazon for anywhere between $1,600 to $2,500.
Can I Install Solar Myself
If youre thinking about installing solar panels at your Massachusetts home, you may be wondering whether you could save a little money by going the DIY route. But while its possible to install your own solar panels, DIY solar installation has a lot of downsides, and the cost savings and paperwork arent usually worth the hassle and risks. At Boston Solar, not only are we the leading solar installer based in Massachusetts with 4,500 projects and over 9 years of experience under our belt but we handle all the paperwork for you from building permits and interconnection and applying for your solar incentives, like SMART!
Heres why you should think twice before installing your own home solar system:
Read Also: Can A Sole Proprietor Get An Ein
Which Solar Energy Equipment And Materials Do You Need
In a rapidly expanding renewable energy supplies market, you have many choices for every component you must integrate to make your DIY solar system work efficiently during its entire operational life. Heres a list of the major parts for most solar systems.
After all the headwork and logistics are done, you move on to the legwork: installation of PV panels on racks or poles somewhere on your property, then connecting them to your home electric panel. Depending on whether you opt for grid-tie, off-grid, or a hybrid system, further electrical connections may be needed to get everything up and running.
Net Metering And Batteries
If youre connected to the grid, the net meter you need for your solar energy system is a big component to your energy savings. It monitors how much unused solar power youre feeding into the grid and how much grid energy you are using to power your home. Regardless of the number, the installation of solar panels will drastically decrease the amount of energy youre drawing from the grid overall and hopefully, with careful planning, your utility bills will hover near $0 based on the credit youll receive back from contributing to the grid.
The last piece of equipment youll need to consider when considering a DIY solar energy kit is whether you intend to have battery backup or not. Your system does not have to have a battery, but, if you do, you can use the battery to store unused energy . That way, youre even less dependent on the grid for energy, for even when the sun is not shining or during blackouts, you can draw on your stored energy in the battery to continue to power your home.
Also Check: How Much Power Does Tesla Solar Roof Generate
Disclaimer: Things To Be Cautious About
If this is your first time undertaking a project such as this, theres a few things you should be really careful about. It goes without saying that electricity is nothing to play with, you know it can kill you very fast if you are not cautious or not wearing appropriate protective material.
When doing any kind of task, even if it is slightly risky, always wear protective eyewear. Our eyes have the greatest impact on our life and without them life will never be the same .
Lastly, if you are planning on climbing on your roof and mounting solar panels, use protective gear such as a rope in case you slip and fall. Even if you have a one story home a 7-8 foot fall can prove to be very dangerous if not fatal.
Installing The Other Components
Wherever you choose to mount your system, it is best to keep the components close together to save on potential power loss and minimize room for damage. Most parts of a DIY solar panel system have predrilled holes for easy mounting. Make sure your charge controller is in a visible place, as you will want to monitor the input of your solar power. You will also want to access the inverter to plug in your electronics, though it is important to keep the inverter in a safe area, as it will produce heat while operating.
You May Like: How Much Is A Solar Panel System Cost
We Will Give You A Great Deal
You might be surprised that licensed solar energy contractors dont make much money, if any, on the materials. Despite what you may think about the buying power of people in the trade, online pricing has leveled the playing field. You can access essentially the same pricing as a small solar contractor.
You might see some impossibly low prices online for complete systems. Its always too good to be true. They dont tell you everything that is not included, and often the equipment is inappropriate or lacking for our environment in Florida.
You can rest assured that the price you get from us is right in line with what you can get on your own.
Find The Best Location
The Goal Is to find the best location for the array to receive the most sun and the best quality sunlight. That ideal location may be the roof of your house, garage, or barn, or it may be on a platform on the ground.
For most areas, a direct southern view is best. The sun rises in the East and sets in the West, making a southern facing array always in the sun. There is much less chance of shading if the solar panels face the South.
The best angle for solar panels will depend on where you are in the world. Direct south is best for most applications. Because the sun moves throughout the day, the south is the best location unless you use solar trackers.
Tip: Improve solar locations with sun trackers. These devices follow the sun and reposition the panels or array to face the sun directly. A direct position provides more sunlight on the panels. A glancing direction means more of the incoming sunlight refracts off that glass rather than absorbs into the solar panel. Advertisements
Not only is the correct location about harnessing as much sunlight as possible, but also about keeping the distance between the array and house as short as possible. The longer the distance that energy must travel, the more energy is lost.
If you have a ground installation at some distance from the house, you will need to use heavier gauge wire.
Recommended Reading: Do Solar Panels Work Without Electricity
Get Quotes On Solar Panels
If you have decided to invest in solar panels, but you are not sure which type you would like, we are ready to help you. Fill out the form on this page with your personal preferences and information, and we will provide you with up to four different suppliers of solar panels. You are free to choose the offer that best suits your needs. The service is free, without obligation, and takes only a few minutes.
Solar Installation Planning & Safety
The key to any successful solar panel installation project is having a clearly constructed plan with measures in place to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
In fact, there are a few things you can do before you even unpack your system to make sure the solar installation process goes smoothly from beginning to end. These include:
- Purchasing materials that are not included in your shipment
- Staying organized while unboxing your system
- Inspecting your shipment to ensure nothing is missing or damaged
- Reviewing safety guidelines for installing your system
Recommended Reading: How To Check Solar Panels Are Working
Can I Purchase Solar Panels And Install Them Myself
HomeCan I Purchase Solar Panels and Install Them Myself?
Buying solar panels for your home is a fantastic investment if you want to save money on your energy bills and raise the resale value of your home. You may be wondering, can I install the solar panels myself? This DIY approach may seem tempting. After all, you might assume you cut expenses when you dont hire an installer.
DIY is best left to easier tasks, though such as fixing a clogged sink or sealing your windows. Do-it-yourself solar installation is not a smart approach.
Secure The Right Permits
Before your solar panel installation, youll have a few bureaucratic hoops to jump through. Specifically, youll need to obtain all the right permits and documentation to ensure your solar panel installation is legal, meeting all local safety and zoning requirements.
You wouldnt believe the headaches that can accompany an installation carried out before permits are issued. This step may sound intimidating, but heres the good news: While there is plenty of paperwork associated with installing solar panels, the majority of it is handled by your solar company.
You may not have to do much at all beyond lending a signature here and there, but its still important to have some sense of whats happening behind the scenes. Heres what your solar installer will file for:
- Local electrical and/or building permits on your behalf
- Interconnection agreement with your local utility
- Applications for state or federal incentive programs that curb the upfront cost of solar panels
Its not a bad idea to follow up and get updates every few days, just to make sure the process is still moving forward smoothly. Solar companies are busy with business, and the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
If youre ready to start getting quotes from local installers near you, use the links below.
Don’t Miss: How Much Will I Save With Solar
Dc To Ac Inverter Connected To Charge Controller
For this setup, we recommend a Sine Wave power inverter . Youll connect the positive and negative terminals of the inverter, directly into the load section of the charge controller. Once this entire system is setup, youll have a complete solar power system ready to go.
To run your entire home, youll need to scale this up GREATLY. Regardless of the size, the setup will be mostly the same with exception of more expensive hardware due to increased power and load.
Form The Circuit By Connecting The Electrical Components
The steps involved here vary depending on the configuration of the solar array. For example, if you have a solar battery backup, then there will be more components. Start with the following:
- Solar Controller if you have a battery backup. We suggest an inline fuse to protect the controller from spikes in power.
- Move on and connect the solar controller to the battery backup system.
- Connect the battery backup system to the inverter
- Connect the inverter disconnect and then to the inverter and on to the house or energy destination
Many of these components use a screw clamp to hold individual wires in place. A good tip is to use ferrules and heat shrink covers to make the connection more manageable, more secure, and a lot safer.
You May Like: Is There A Solar Powered Car
Important Things To Consider
If you hope to install your solar panels yourself, you should have a pre-existing knowledge of electrical work. This is because there are technical and wiring elements to factor in.
There are also potential dangers to installing them yourself, not only in working with wires, but also the job of actually getting up on your roof, in most cases. Issues such as crossed wires can cause serious problems and even electrical fires.
Additionally, in some places, it is actually illegal to do the work without the help of a professional, so be sure to take a look at your municipalitys zoning laws. With that being said, even if you are permitted to do the job yourself, I would recommend speaking to a qualified individual if you have any uncertainties.
Alternatively, you could install the panels yourself, but then have a professional come and handle the actual wiring and connecting aspects of the job. In this way, you will save money on the mundane task of placing the panels on your roof, or wherever you decide to put them, and you can rest easy that there wont be safety issues.