Can You Install Solar Panels Yourself? (Helpful Tips)

The costs of utility bills are hardly on a downward trend, and you may be looking to invest in solar paneling, which will be expensive upfront, but shall payoff in the long run. Another reason you may be looking to go this route is to decrease your carbon footprint. Regardless of the reason, can you install them yourself?

Installing solar panels yourself is possible, and there are even systems specifically designed for DIY purposes. However, the process can be time-consuming, and it must be noted that this form of solar paneling is designed for off-grid purposes and not to power your whole house.

If you wish to install your solar paneling yourself, you will have complete control over the project. As you do not have to pay for labor, it will be your cheapest option. However, it does mean that you need to do proper research and understand what you are undertaking. So let’s see what to expect.

can i install solar panels myself

Deciding To Install Solar Panels Yourself

It is feasible to install solar panels yourself, but there are elements to the task that you will need to consider before making the final decision to go the DIY route. If you are a homeowner, solar panels are likely becoming more and more appealing to you. 

There could be various reasons why you wish to install this form of renewable energy in your home, such as being conscious about your carbon emissions or that you are tired of high monthly energy bills. You may also merely want to become more self-sufficient and hope to go off-grid.

We need to be aware, though, that although solar panels are an eco-friendly and elegantly viable option, it is often the case that there is not a one size fits all solution to people’s energy needs. Below, we shall look at certain aspects of installing solar panels yourself and hopefully help you make the final decision.  

The Cost Of Installing Solar Panels

cost of installing solar panels

One of the key reasons that one will opt to install solar panels themselves, apart from the satisfaction of putting in the work and reaping the benefits, is that there is a significant cost difference compared to if you were to have a contractor install it for you. 

When looking at the cost of installing solar panels, it will all come down to your specific requirements. Some smaller systems can come at as low as $5,000, while a Tier 1 solar panel system can come with a price tag of as much as $40,000 or even more. The average, though, seems to be between $12,000 and $18,500. 

For these installations, the labor cost typically sits between 10 and 20 percent of the total amount. This means that if you can do it yourself, you will be saving a fair amount of money. 

There is a trade-off, though, in that if you are not paying a professional to do it for you, you will have to put in a significant amount of time and manual labor into getting your system set up. 

Additionally, there are incentives offered to homeowners who opt to go green; however, this usually requires a certified company to do the installation. So before you choose to install them yourself, consider looking into what incentives you would be getting if you were to have a professional install them. 

On top of this, companies that install solar panels often tend to provide maintenance services and warranties on the panels and the workmanship. These services are usually not free, but are worth considering. 

Installing Solar Panels Yourself

installing solar panels yourself

As I have mentioned, the process of installing solar panels yourself is possible; however, there are certain limitations to opting to go down this route, as opposed to seeking out the help of a solar company. Some systems are designed for DIY installation, and although it will take time, it is a viable option these days. 

It must be noted upfront that many of these DIY solutions are intended for off-grid purposes and help to power spaces that are not usually serviced by a standard utility. 

So if you are hoping to supplement your existing energy source, then this is a route worth taking. If you want to power your entire home, though, it may be worth getting an expert in to help.  

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 municipality’s 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 won’t be safety issues.

The Purpose Of Self Installed Solar Panels

As I have touched on, most DIY solar panel kits are not intended to replace your traditional power source. Instead, they are there to offer a supplement to your power needs. Or they can be used for very small houses, a garage, or a shed. If you want to power a full-size home, it is advisable to seek professional service. 

Another reason for installing DIY paneling, apart from those mentioned, is for it to act as a backup option if you lose power from the electrical grid. In this case, you will need to have a solar battery that can store the generated power.  

Conclusion

Going with the DIY solar panel solution offers a fun and rewarding task to put your hands to, especially if you are good at such things. However, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to have an installation that will allow you to go completely off-grid. 

Also, installing solar panels yourself should not be seen as a way to cut corners. You will still need to ensure that you have the necessary permits, and you should definitely consider having an electrician come in to do the final hookups. In the end, you want to be able to enjoy your solar panels without worrying about safety.  

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