Just Because You Can, Should You?
“If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”Red Adair
“Can I install solar myself” is a question most would be do it yourselfers ask as soon as they see a solar estimate and the short answer is yes but…
Why Bother Paying a Professional, if I Can Do it Myself?
Installing solar panels yourself is very cost effective and has the bonus of giving you something you can look up and be proud of, but it’s difficult. For starters you need to be experiences with wiring and electrical work. This is NON-NEGOTIABLE as you could damage the existing electrical system of the house, the panels themselves, and yourself. If you know someone who has experience working with electrical systems, you might ask if they would mind assisting you. Should you decide to ask for help, establish ahead of time if insurance will cover any potential liability on your part or theirs. The benefit of hiring professionals is not only the experience they have with installing a system but also the experience they have of problem solving when something goes wrong. In addition, they have insurance that protects you and them against costly mistakes or product malfunctions. By doing it yourself, you will lose out on that protective shield and you may end up paying much more than if you had hired a professional from the beginning.
Besides the electrical work that must be perfect, you should know your way around a roofing project. Even a minor mistake could lead to water damage that could at minimum cause a major headache and additional repair and at worse damage your home foundation and safety. You also must ensure that you are placing the panels at the optimal locations and angles to capture as much energy from the sun as you can. There is no point in installing costly panels if they are not generating the energy you expect them to. There is also the work of installing a battery to capture the energy and ensuring its wired correctly into the house, the panels themselves, and the grid.
The cost of goods is also something to consider, since most companies willing to sell directly to consumers will not give you the same discount as a massive company purchasing thousands of units each year. But, if you’re committed to doing this project on your own, it’s imperative that you deal with high quality sources for your product and ensure that they are willing to go the extra mile to fix issues that might arise during install either on your end or theirs.
Finally, one of the biggest logistical issues is the permitting process to ensure that your system complies with HOA rules, town rules, state rules, and government regulations. Nothing would be worse than going through the trouble of an installation only to find out that you’re not even permitted to install it. One of the biggest benefits of working with a solar company is that they take on the responsibility and risk of jumping through the paperwork hurdles to ensure that once your system is in place it is there to stay. Another benefit is that they are typically much faster at dealing with the paperwork since they handle that aspect daily. As with anything in government, they expect you to have things done in a timely manner and sometimes give you a short window from which to move to the next planning phase, while simultaneously taking what seems like years on their end. A good solar install company is good at staying on timelines and keeping the regulators on timelines too.
If after all this you decide you are interested in taking the steps to do a self install of your solar panels, I would recommend you search out YouTube videos and how to guides to see it done. After watching as many as you can handle and learning as much as you can about the process, create a detailed list of everything you need to complete the job, line up any help you can find, and price out the materials and when you can expect it to arrive. That last part is important as the solar demand has created shipping delays because of supply and production constraints.
Let's discuss your energy goals and find out if solar makes sense for you with a short virtual meeting.
- Solar for $0 down
- Save up to 50% on your energy bills
- Increase your home value
- Get clean renewable energy
- Get a 30-year warranty
- Customized proposal and best value
Let's talk about going solar!
Jon Nelsen | Solar Consultant