How good is this DIY solar option?
If you are considering installing solar panels, a thought that might have popped up in your head would be a do-it-yourself (DIY) solar installation. Although it may seem easy and simple, and many companies even make money by selling DIY solar kits, there are a few things you need to know before you start enjoying cost savings by installing solar panels yourself.
It might seem rudimentary to do it yourself, but things can go wrong quickly, and sometimes the only option is to resort to a professional. Here are some pros and cons of DIY solar panels.
DIY Solar Pros
You can build any design with no limitations. You don’t have to wait for a third-party installer since you are calling the shots. This way, you’ll have a unique design, and you would’ve saved both time and money in the process. The convenience of a DIY solar installation cannot be stressed enough, as you can easily build smaller off-grid structures with just a starter kit.
Linked to the previous point, since you are calling all the shots, you have complete control of your DIY process in which you’ll have home improvement projects. You can tailor your project at every stage and go at your own pace according to your desires, timeline, and needs. Furthermore, you can choose any component. You aren’t at the mercy of the component chosen by a third-party company.
Firstly, you’ll save money at the stage when you hire a third-party solar installer. Then you’ll save money on the components you choose. You can save money by designing a solar panel system for your home’s electricity needs. This can significantly lower your upfront installation expenses.
A 2021 Study by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory states that labor accounts for about 10% of the total price tag for installing solar panels. Not only this, but you have an array of equipment available. Going DIY helps you buy panels that match your electricity and budget demands.
DIY Solar Cons
Specific Knowledge Required:
Installing a solar system needs you to have a certain kind of knowledge. This isn’t some home improvement project. It isn’t as easy as making a tree house or putting up some shelves. This needs you to put in a lot of time and skills.
You should have a timeline of two months or more if you’re planning to design, install, permit, and connect your solar system to the grid. More time can be expended if permitting requirements change.
Needs More Labour:
This isn’t something you can do alone. You will need more than one person to save time, do all the work, and cooperate. What we mean to say is that you’ll need a team of people for the actual installation. This includes any labor-intensive task for lifting the panel or complex jobs like connecting your home’s electrical system to the solar arrays.
There are a lot of hazards when it comes to working on the roof. You constantly put yourself in harm’s way every time you climb on the roof. This increases the chance of accidentally tripping off the roof.
Damage To Roof:
As you know that installing anything requires you to secure it into place. To do that, you need to drill into the surface so that you can insert screws into the thing you want to install. You’ll also have to drill your roof for solar installations. Drilling without prior experience or knowledge can be harmful since it can lead to structural damage, ultimately causing mold and leakage issues.
Permits Require Time:
Even if you’ve installed your panels, you’ll still have to navigate different utility companies and government offices to get permits and approval for your project. This process is the hardest and requires you to have the utmost patience and persistence.
If you’ve hired professional solar installers, this wouldn’t be a problem since they have staff who can easily handle this work and connect with the people who review and approve those permits.
Includes Advanced Electrical Work:
This DIY solar project requires in-depth knowledge about electronics because it involves powering your entire home. If you’re just focusing on solar panels, you need to shift that focus to batteries, inverters, electrical panel connections, meters, and other technical components.
Fire and Electrocution:
Remember that this installation will require many wires and must be connected correctly to avoid accidents. Even if you know all this, the intricate nature of wiring and technical components can easily boggle your mind. Crossed wires and loose connections can cause fires or electrocution if exposed to elements.
You might think that since this is a DIY project, you can reinvent designs and switch out the custom ones. However, custom designs are the standard for a reason. They help prevent accidents. To avoid all this, contact a reliable contractor. They can build a tailored strategy according to your home’s electricity needs.
Accidents during your DIY solar installation can void your warranty. This means that by installing a solar system yourself, you would’ve essentially endangered your warranty. It’s possible to reach out to a manufacturer but getting a warranty claim is not easy.
If you’ve voided the warranty, you must prove that your DIY solar panel installation was done according to the rules and connected correctly to the utility grid. A warranty cannot cover everything, and you’ll have to pay for the repairs if there is such a case.
Needs Specific Equipment:
You need specific experience, materials, and tools to correctly install inverters, racking, solar panels, meters, wires, electrical boxes, and other equipment. This is because you need very specialized devices to assemble the components.
High Equipment Costs:
Even if you need specialized equipment for the installation, this equipment is expensive too. Since you will be buying individual equipment, you will not have the benefit of the economy of scale. This can eat up a large chunk of your savings. Even if you find low-priced equipment, there’s a high chance of it being low quality, and sellers might just want to get rid of it.
Limited Financing Options:
You have limited financing options in the case of DIY solar system kits. You can’t effectively split the cost across monthly payments in accordance with your solar savings. You have only two options; either financing your solar panels through a third party or buying the system outright through the do-it-yourself route.
Typically, homes have energy-hungry devices like refrigerators, televisions, and washing machines. These can consume a lot of energy. If you have such a home, a simple DIY solar kit won’t be enough to meet your energy consumption. Instead, you will need to opt for a professional installer who helps you design a suitable system for your needs, accompanied by solar battery storage.
Missed Out Incentives:
You’ll miss out on many utility and state incentives and rebates without a solar installer. These can drastically lower solar installation costs only if a certified solar company installs your system.
Even though it might look easy, it isn’t. You have to go through many stages. An individual can’t do it all. It’s better to hire a solar installer as this will save you both time and money on solar installation rather than exposing yourself to this experience without any prior experience or specialized equipment. You’ll also be safe from all the dangers of installing solar panels.