Professional vs. DIY Solar Installation
Solar energy is a blossoming energy solution that can provide clean, renewable electricity for your home. Even in the last five years, the average 20-year savings for an average American home using a photovoltaic (solar) energy system has risen to approximately $20,000. With so many opportunities to own one of this money-saving, renewable energy sources you may think: “Should I do it myself or have a professional installer come to my home?”Luckily, we can help you answer that burning question as we dive into what it may take to install solar panels yourself or hire a licensed professional.
The Benefits of DIY Solar Energy System Installation
The most common benefit of DIY solar installation is cost. You can purchase the home installation kits for relatively cheap and there are plenty of how-to videos, teaching almost anyone looking to install solar panels. Also, installing your own solar energy system will require you to obtain all the legal licenses and permits required to install and use the associated heavy machinery yourself.
Aside from the physical installation process, it is important to understand the various pieces of equipment that go into making a solar system function properly. Cranes to lift the equipment, tools to mount each bracket or panel to the roof, and electrical equipment to make sure it’s all functioning can quickly increase costs and hassle on an installation project. Additionally, having background knowledge in the electrical sector or understanding the basics of working with electricity will ensure you have a streamlined DIY installation process.
Power Grid Requirements and Licenses
If you’re still considering the DIY solar installation option, it’s important to find out if the solar power system you’re purchasing requires you to stay on the city or municipal grid or if it allows an off-the-grid option. What’s the difference? The grid-tie option will allow you to stay connected to your utility company. The biggest benefit to this is net metering, which means that if you produce excess electricity, you have the ability to sell it back to your utility company to reduce your monthly costs even further.
Most DIY solar installation systems are designed to be used off-the-grid and most utility companies won’t allow homeowners to connect to the grid without the correct permits, and sometimes, not at all. If you do decide to stay off-the-grid, you will have to carefully calculate the amount of energy you need beforehand to ensure your home always has enough energy.
The Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Solar Energy Installer
Although installing a solar system yourself may be more cost-effective, you should also highly consider hiring a licensed solar installer to do the job. The main deterrent from doing this is price, but if you compare different company estimates to find the one that best fits your home’s needs, you’ll be able to save prices here, too. Also, by hiring an installer, they will assist you in calculating your home’s energy needs and help you get access to the permits that are required. Watt for watt, DIY would be cheaper. However, a solar installer will generally provide you with site evaluation, permit obtainment and sometimes revenue options.
Higher Cost but Higher Expertise During Installation
Aside from the cost, there are other factors to consider when you’re planning on installing solar panels. Considering the amount of experience the average person might have, DIY solar panel installation may not be the safest choice. Consider the amount of time you’ve spent working on roofs and the electrical safety that goes into play. If you are an electrician, engineer or construction worker, then a safety concern may not trouble you.
It’s also important to look at the expertise of your hired installer versus yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable working on complex electrical or construction projects, then it’d be in your best interest to hire a certified and licensed installer. Some of the top solar companies have employees who have been installing solar systems for decades. You can feel confident in the work because most states require installers to obtain licensure and follow strict safety and installation qualifications and procedures. They’ll also know which permits and proper protocol that you’ll need before beginning the installation process.
Local Solar Installers Versus Regional Corporate Solar Installers
If you have decided to hire a professional solar installer, you now have to make the decision to stay local or reach out to a regional, corporate entity. With a bigger solar installation corporation, you may be provided with more professional installation experience or a standard price point. Conversely, a local installer may save you time and will most likely offer you a higher quality of personal customer service. Because most local businesses focus on the customer and retention, it is likely you’ll be able to continue contacting them if a question arises or you want additions to your solar panel system.
Professional Assessments and Planning
Before beginning recommending required wattages or possible installation configurations, your professional installer will analyze your home’s energy needs in order to provide you with the best solar system. After assessing your home’s energy efficiency and average monthly energy requirements, the installer will help you decide what panels to use and where to place them in order to produce the most energy efficiency at your house.
Making the Right Choice For Your Home
There is a lot to consider before planning to install solar panels yourself, or hiring a professional. Keep this question in the back of your mind as you plan for each step of the installation process: How will this decision affect my solar panel system, as a long-term investment? Afterall, investing in a solar panel system means you’re looking forward to your future, your family’s future, and the planet’s future.
Need Help Connecting With a Licensed Solar Energy Installer?
Whether you decide to do it yourself or hire a professional, going solar is definitely a worthwhile investment. Investing in solar energy means planning for the future of your family and conserving our environment. For more information on licensed and certified professional in your area that helps you with your solar energy system installation journey, visit our residential portal for local and regional installation companies.