It’s tempting for some people to consider installing the solar panels themselves and go the DIY way to save money. After all, the installation cost is always almost ten percent of the total cost of going solar. But solar power is a different story than the usual DIY Home Improvement projects as you will find it as we try to answer the “Can I Buy Solar Panels and Install Myself?”
First of all, you have to thoroughly research and plan every part of your system. You should have pretty clear understanding of how solar panels work and the basic principles in the planning process. For example – you will have to answer the following questions first:
- What size of a solar panel system is best for my electricity requirement?
- Does my roof have sufficient space? Where should I position the panels? What will be the optimal tilt for the panels?
- Based on my climatic condition and need which solar technology is most suitable for my requirement.
- Will my roof bear the load of solar panels?
These are just a few of the whole lot of technical questions that you need to answer confidently if you are planning to install solar panels yourself. Of course, a good installer with experience and a long track record can answer these preliminary questions easily.
It should also be noted that If you don’t install the solar panels correctly, you won’t be able to get the optimal amount of power and won’t save as much money on your electric bill.
Also, if you have not made a good judgment of your roof condition, you may face additional expenses for roof repairs, and may even have to redo the entire solar installation after getting a new roof.
If we consider that you have correctly answered all the preliminary questions (mentioned above) correctly, even then the question remains –
How much money can you actually save by doing the installation yourself?
It’s will be hard for you, as an end-user consumer to get true wholesale pricing on equipment from a distributor unless you place an order for hundreds of panels. In most cases the local, state and federal rebates for solar panels require that a licensed installer do the installation in order to qualify. So you will be missing out on rebates and tax incentives which is a significant amount of money. Ultimately you are likely to end up paying almost as much as you would have anyway in addition to providing your own labor.
Also, none of the high-quality solar manufacturers directly sell to general public so you will not be able to get your hands on the best quality equipment.
Is the DIY installation worth sacrificing the multiple warranties?
Solar system comes with multiple warranties. Some of the warranties are related to the equipment while some related to the installation itself.
Correctly installed solar panels will not void any existing warranty that you may have for your roof, and in most cases, the work done by professional installers to install the panels is covered under the Installer’s warranty.
Also if you have a future plan to sell your house, you will need a lot of good luck to sale it without the required permits and warranties.
So the answer to the question “Can I Buy Solar Panels and Install Myself?” is Yes you can if you have a basic understanding of electrical connections and how it is distributed in your house, but before deciding -spend time to research and judge whether the merits of DIY installation is outweighed by the disadvantages.
But if you are really really keen to do it yourself, it’s recommended that you start with designing a very small off-grid lighting system first and see whether you can make the system work. You can procure components for this type of setup from your local store or get them online here.