Installing solar panels yourself can be a complex and potentially dangerous process, and it's important to understand that it may not be suitable for everyone.
Benefits of Self Installing
- Cost Savings: By purchasing solar equipment directly, individuals can bypass the costs associated with hiring professional installers, resulting in potential savings.
- Customization and Control: Self-installation allows individuals to tailor their solar systems according to their specific energy needs and preferences, giving them greater control over their energy production.
- Educational Opportunity: Engaging in a DIY solar project provides a unique learning experience, allowing individuals to deepen their understanding of solar technology and energy systems.
- Empowerment and Independence: Installing solar equipment independently instills a sense of empowerment and self-reliance, as individuals take an active role in harnessing clean energy.
Some Potential Drawbacks
Installing solar panels yourself can be a challenging and potentially dangerous task, and it's often best to hire a professional solar installer having the necessary skills, experience, and equipment to ensure a safe and effective installation, Importantly, some manufacturer's warranties may be affected, or even voided, if the installing party is not a contractor certified with that manufacturer.
Easy DIY Solar Panel Installation!
If you have the necessary skills and experience, here are the steps involved in installing solar panels yourself:
- Determine your energy needs: The first step is to determine how much energy you need to produce to power your home or business. You can do this by looking at your energy bills and calculating your average daily energy consumption. This will help you determine the size of the solar panel system you will need.
- Assess your roof: The next step is to assess the condition and suitability of your roof. A solar panel system requires a stable and unobstructed roof with adequate exposure to sunlight. You'll need to measure the size of your roof and determine the best location for the solar panels based on the roof's angle and direction. You may also need to reinforce your roof if it's not strong enough to support the weight of the solar panels.
- Design your system: With your energy needs and roof assessment in hand, you can design your solar panel system. This involves determining the number and size of solar panels you'll need, as well as the type and size of the inverter, which converts the solar energy into usable electricity. You'll also need to choose the type of mounting system, which holds the solar panels in place on your roof. Most sellers of solar equipment to the public include system design and plans suitable for permit applications, plus all needed stickers to be placed on or near ground-level equipment such as shut-off valves.
- Obtain the necessary permits: Before you can install your solar panel system, you'll need to obtain the necessary permits from your local government. This may involve submitting a permit application, providing drawings or plans, and paying fees. The permits ensure that your system is installed safely and in compliance with local regulations.
- Purchase and receive your equipment: Once you have obtained the necessary permits, you can purchase your solar panels, inverter, mounting system, and other equipment. The equipment will need to be delivered to your home or business, and you'll need to inspect it for damage or defects before beginning the installation.
- Install the solar panels: With your equipment in hand, you can begin installing the solar panels. This involves mounting the panels onto your roof using the mounting system, and connecting them to the inverter. You'll need to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully and use the appropriate tools and safety equipment.
- Connect to Main Service Panel. Most self-installers without electrical experience hire a professional electrician for the critical step of connecting the new solar system to your Main Service Panel.
- Connect to the grid: If you plan to connect your solar panel system to the electrical grid, you'll need to have it inspected and approved by your local utility company. You'll also need to have a net metering agreement in place, which allows you to sell excess energy back to the grid. This step may involve additional fees and paperwork.
- Test and monitor your system: Once your solar panel system is installed and connected, you'll need to test it and monitor its performance. This involves checking the voltage and current output, and making sure that the system is producing the expected amount of energy. You'll also need to monitor the system over time to ensure that it's functioning properly and efficiently.
Solar Equipment Sellers
There are a few established, online sellers of solar equipment directly to the public. They will consult with you over the phone, help design your system, create the working drawings needed for permit approval, crate the equipment, and ship it to you. Be careful to inspect the shipment promply when it arrives to be sure it is complete, and do not accept crates that have sustained damage.
How to install solar panels yourself on your roof. (It's easier than you think)
by Unbound Solar
A good blog resource is FootPrintHero.com "by a DIY solar power enthusiast on a journey to learn how to solar power anything. Footprint Hero is where I’m sharing what I learn – as well as the (many) mistakes I’m making along the way."