Professional Solar Installation Vs DIY – Pros & Cons

Home solar panels are a great way to generate clean, renewable energy from the sun. If you have been considering going solar, you can choose between a professional solar installation and a do-it-yourself option. Both can be successful, but which one is right for you? Here are three major factors to consider:

1. Price

Watt for watt, a DIY solar project is almost certainly going to cost less money than a professional solar installation. Some kits include only the instructions to build and set up your home solar panels, where more expensive kits come with the panels, inverter, and instructions. If you go the DIY route, panels built by a reputable company with good warranties are a far better bet than ones you’ve assembled yourself.

On the other hand, the quote from a good solar installer will include site evaluation, system design, parts, labor, and interconnection. Some solar installers will also help you file for solar rebates. Many of the federal and local incentives are available only for professional solar installations.

2. Installation

Any project involving electricity requires you to know what you’re doing. If you think you have a good working knowledge of electricity, a small single panel solar kit is a good way to preview what you would be in for with a bigger project. If you do a lot of DIY projects, you are probably already aware of the hidden costs in time and frustration. However, if you’re handy and willing to do the research and labor, you may well be up for the challenge of installing your own home solar panels. Don’t forget about the building permits!

One of the major advantages of a professional solar installation is that every aspect is handled by experienced professionals, from applying for building permits, to determining the best location for your solar panels, to interconnecting with the grid and passing the final building and electrical inspections. Your solar installer will be able to deal with any issues that come up, and get your system up and running on schedule.

3. Solar Panel Quality & Efficiency

The quality of panels in kits can vary widely, so you’ll need to do your research. Efficiency and durability are important components of your solar panel system’s ability to reduce your energy bills. Efficiency is also affected by the location of your solar panels and the orientation of your roof. If you DIY, you will need to determine the optimal location for your panels.

While solar panels are generally reliable and low maintenance, warranties are still good things. If you build your home solar panels, you will clearly be on your own if anything goes wrong. Even solar panels with good warranties (20+ years) may have their warranties invalidated by unprofessional installation. Find out before you buy.

Professional solar installers tend to use higher quality, name brand solar panels with good warranties because customers will hold their solar installer responsible for anything that goes wrong. Ask the company who manufactures their panels and inverters before signing any paperwork.

The Bottom Line

If you’re a go-getter who is willing to do the research and has the skills to install your own home solar panels, you can enjoy considerable savings with DIY solar. However, if you don’t want to take any chances with your home and roof and want everything done right the first time, you’re better off with a professional solar installer.

Home Solar Panels – A Green Solution for Your Home

Sunlight is free – but the installation of home solar panels can be costly. How much does it cost to install? How long does it take to get a return on the investment? We need to look at a number of factors to estimate the cost.

First we need to take a closer look at your house. These four factors are important.

  • Where You Live
  • How Much Energy You Need
  • The Type of House You Have
  • Type of System
  • Your Location Is an Important Factor

    Where you live decides how many average hours of sunlight you get and how efficient your home solar panels will be. It might be more efficient to use a combination of wind power and solar panels where you live. You also want to find out what incentives and rebates are available in your state when you install home solar panels. This number will greatly reduce the cost for installation. I have added a website link at the bottom of the article to check out what is available in your state.

    Energy Usage

    It doesn’t make sense to bring out your old energy bill to estimate your current usage to figure out how much it costs to convert to solar energy, unless your house is new and very energy efficient already. The smartest approach is to start with a complete analysis of your energy use. Can your use be reduced? Where are you wasting? Maybe you can save energy by replacing your appliances with Energy Star appliances, insulating your attic or your water heater. You can save a lot of money by doing a complete overhaul of your house from the attic to the basement.

    Type of Home

    How old is your home? If you’re building a new home, you’re probably better off since you can make sure your house is energy efficient to begin with. If you are working with an older house, you probably need to spend more time on the complete overhaul before you start pricing home solar panels, and you will help save the planet.

    Type of Solar System

    Are you planning on relying completely on solar power and live off the grid, or would you prefer a grid-tied system or a combination of solar and wind power? Are you planning on hiring a contractor to help or are you doing all the work yourself? If you are using an experienced installer, they can help you evaluate your usage and calculate an estimate. This is probably the easiest way to get home solar panels installed, but if you’re on a budget and want to do it yourself, a lot of homeowners do their own installations.

    More and more homeowners are looking into the possibility of installing home solar panels. Even Home Depot has recently started to service the market with residential solar system installation. We hope that’s going to help bring the pricing down.

    The technology is becoming more and more efficient, and the cost is most likely going to continue to go down the more popular solar panels become. Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that installing home solar panels might increase the value of your home. If you produce more energy than you use, you can also sell it back to your energy supplier.

    Once you look at all the facts, you can make an informed decision. Spend time on the research. Call and speak to experienced installation firms, and then do your budget. There’s a lot of information on the internet, and there are also a lot of books to read. Before long you will know if installing home solar panels is the right decision for you. And remember, even if you decide it’s over your budget, there are a lot of other things you can do to save energy.

    Home Solar Power – Understanding the Site Evaluation Process (Part 8)

    Concerned about the Climate Crisis and the release of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions? Want to lower your carbon footprint related to your residential home? You might just be able to if your home is a suitable match for a solar energy system that is now being offered on a rental basis.

    The following article provides the step-by-step requirements so that your home can be evaluated for it’s solar energy suitability.

    Top considerations U.S. homeowners will need to consider to have a solar energy system installed on no upfront purchase bases, i.e. rental:

    * You must be the owner or mortgage holder of your home.
    * You must live within an area covered by a utility company offering net-metering.
    * You should have at least a one year history of your energy consumption, i.e. energy bills.
    * You must have the desire to have a solar energy system installed on your home.

    An innovative company has a new strategy to remove all of the barriers to solar generated energy. This solar equipment manufacturer is offering a solar energy unit to American homeowners on a rental basis. No need to purchase a system outright any longer. Unless, you have the means, where-with-all, and wish to maintain the system yourself. If you want to purchase a solar energy system, you can find many new companies stinging up all over the place. The environment needs it. We should all upgrade to solar.

    Although, there is another option. A new solar panel rental service is probably not new. But, it still is blowing many people away with the simplicity of the concept. It seemed like this was too good to be true or something. As is the case with innovative and game changing ideas, this new company has such a simple idea. Rent the solar energy system versus having to buy it. Once has to think, “why has this not happened before”.

    However, there are some restrictions; not everyone will qualify and there is a long waiting list of potential solar system renters already reserving a system. The good news is the process to get your home evaluated for a solar unit is pretty clear. The following “How-to” guide documents what the average homeowner needs to do to be considered for a solar system installation.

    Solar Power Site Evaluation and Energy Audit

    The energy audit, solar energy system design, and the installation and construction process start with the home review of the residence performed by one of the company engineers. During this site review, the engineer will take measurements of the lot, home layout, take notes of the roofing materials & condition, the roof orientation to the sun, and assess the present shading factors and those that may build up over time; like the growth of trees or new additions to the property.

    The solar installer will communicate to the homeowner in detail the installation time line and what to expect related to the solar system installation. They will also give an overview of the day to day operations of the home solar energy unit once it comes online. If the homeowner has any questions about anything during the site review, the engineer is the one to ask when they are on site.

    Home Solar Power Design and Rental Agreements

    Once the site-review is completed, the solar engineer will design a system that both fits the home’s layout and meets as much of the homeowners electrical needs as possible. In some cases, a solar energy system may not be suitable for a residential home. Often excessive shade, inappropriate roof angles, or just limited physical space for the solar panels will not allow for a solar power unit installation.

    The rented unit may in fact only provide a portion of a particular location’s energy needs. This is a good thing to thinking about and plan for because it underscores the requirement for detailed energy planning and auditing. All of which leads to projects to improve energy conservation around the homeowner’s property. The company will still install and rent out the solar energy system but it will not guarantee that the unit will allow the homeowner to self-generate 100% of their energy needs.

    The actual system design is presented to the homeowner at the conclusion of the site review. The can then approve of the plan & the general system design. If there is any discrepancy or concerns with the design, the homeowner is encouraged to bring these to the attention of the solar engineers. A proper question and answer session included during the site evaluation.

    Solar Panel Rental and the Solar Unit Security Deposit

    Following the design approval, the homeowner is asked to pay a security deposit for the solar system installation. This deposit is 100 percent refundable with interest at the end of the rental term. The security deposit covers any damaged caused by homeowner tampering or malicious intent and for homeonwers who have the need to move their system more than once. The security deposit helps cover the cost for the installation crews to move solar systems multiple times.

    The solar installer will complete and submit the necessary building permits for the given area after the security deposit is calculated and collected. They will also manage the relationship with the local utility company related to the met-metering arrangements. This whole process may take a few weeks, but at the conclusion, the team of installation technicians will be prepared to have the system installed.

    Solar Energy System Installation and Maintenance

    Once the permitting paperwork is in order, the installation team will contact the homeowner directly to set the solar system installation date. The installation technicians will then install the solar panels and prepare the unit for final inspection by the local permitting office. Once the local county and utility representatives have inspected the installation, the homeowner is ready to begin taking advantage of flat-rate solar system rental, a more reliable energy service, and a source of 100% clean, solar energy.

    Final Considerations to Rent a Home Solar Energy System

    * Start collecting your utility bills and file them away. The energy audit provides the best results if a least 2 years of energy consumption is tabulated.

    * The renting of a home solar energy system is a new idea. Be sure to do your research.

    * Even areas in the northern parts of the Unite States still have adequate exposure to the sun. Don’t write off you location for a solar unit rental because you don’t live in Arizona.

    * Reserving a system and getting your site inspection scheduled early is the key to getting your site inspection & evaluation completed.