A professional solar panel installation is typically around 10% of total solar system costs – there`s potentially a lot of money to be saved if you install the solar system on your own. This article will cover the benefits and drawbacks of do-it-yourself solar panel installation. Can I really install solar panels without professional help?
The more you can do yourself, the less expensive. However, we generally recommend hiring a certified professional to do the wiring and metering even with planning.Remember that connecting a solar system to the grid is no joke and can lead to serious injuries or even death. Only a certified installer with state license is legally allowed to do so. Depending on the complexity of your solar system, where you live, and what regulations and policies apply, you will likely need your solar panel installation certified. Without a certification, it can be problematic to use the feed-in tariff and take advantage of financial incentives.
What about DIY plug and play solar panel kits?
In the last couple of years, a handful of solar companies have introduced plug and play solar panel kits on the market. These solar panels go into 120V power outlets, just like a home appliance, and there`s no need for a professional installer.
You get what you pay for
The biggest reason most people opt for DIY solar is cost – a professionally-installed system can cost 10-20% more. But overall cost-savings may be eaten up with other concerns. Your whole-house solar project must be completed according to the National Electric Code, and pass state (and/or local) electrical inspections. If you’re not familiar with these codes, it’s easy to make a mistake which will require an adjustment. Those can be costly.
Don’t try to save money by buying cheap panels – the financial benefits of your system is inherent on the quality of your panels. Instead of going out to purchase the cheapest thing on the market, compare several local contractor’s prices. Average pricing state-by-state varies, too. Do your research, ask questions, and get multiple quotes. This research alone can save you 10-20% and may present you with more options than you are able to get on your own.
Another mistake people can make when buying cheap solar panels is thinking a contractor to install these panels can be easily found. In most cases, solar installation contractors will only install the equipment they have worked with in the past. Instead of shopping around for a solar installer to install the panels you purchased, it’s better to compare solar installers’ recommendations for equipment.
Local utilities and regional power authorities are investing increasing resources to solar power generation. Both private and government-owned utility companies can leverage the recently-extended federal tax credits to encourage additional investments in renewable energy by their individual customers. As solar power generation increases on the large scale, prices for equipment will be driven down further, making it more feasible for a homeowner to invest in solar installations on their homes.