Advantages and disadvantages of DIY solar panels: Do you have to install and maintain your solar panels yourself?


Do-it-yourself solar panels: a good idea? Or bad idea?

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If you are a homeowner, it is not difficult to see the value of installing solar panels. Whether you are aware of carbon emissions or just your budget, the ability to install DIY solar panels on your property presents the opportunity to reduce your impact on the planet and your monthly energy bill.

But while DIY solar panels can be a stylish and eco-friendly option for some situations, that doesn’t make them a one-size-fits-all solution for all of your energy-related issues. Below we will walk you through the pros and cons of DIY Solar Panel Installation DIY Project so you can decide whether you want to take on the task or pursue another option like a solar power purchase contract.

Costs

One of the main attractions of any DIY project, other than the satisfaction of a job well done, is saving money. When you choose to install solar panels on your property yourself, it means that you won’t have to pay for someone else’s expertise or labor, which usually adds a considerable cost to the project.

According to research conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the US Department of Energy, labor typically accounts for about 10% of the total cost of installing solar panels. Given that the average cost of installing solar panels is $ 18,500, this means savings of almost $ 2,000. It is a large amount of money to keep in your bank account.

However, there is a trade-off. If you don’t pay someone else to do the installation work, that means you are doing it yourself. This means a significant amount of manual work and time spent setting up the system, which you will be doing yourself. You may also not be able to claim certain incentives offered to homeowners who install solar panels. Some of the tax breaks offered by states for going green require a certified company to do the installation for you. To make sure you’re actually saving money, it’s worth checking out these incentives and how much they’ll save you.

Installation

It is possible to do the process of installing solar panels yourself. There are solar systems designed specifically for DIY enthusiasts which, while sometimes time consuming, should be more than doable.

It should be noted, however, that many DIY solar panels are not designed to connect to the traditional power grid. They are designed more for off-grid purposes, such as powering recreational vehicles or other spaces that are not typically served by a standard utility. If you’re only looking to supplement your traditional energy source, DIY solar panels can do the job. If you’re looking to power your entire home with solar power, you might be better off trusting an expert.

Installing a complete solar power system requires at least some knowledge of electrician work so that you can properly deal with wiring and other technical aspects. You will likely have to work in relatively hazardous environments, including working on your roof and working with buried wires. The stakes are high for an incident; crossed wires can cause malfunction and even electrical fires. It may also be illegal for you to do this job without professional help, depending on your municipality’s zoning laws.

As always, consult a qualified professional if you have any questions about your home installation project.

Use

As mentioned, most DIY solar panel projects are not intended to replace traditional energy sources. They offer the possibility of supplementing the supply of the network or of supplying smaller spaces such as a motorhome or a small house. But for a full-size home, a professionally installed solar system is probably best.

Some settings are ideal for a DIY solar project. If you have a garage or shed that requires electricity, you can shut off the grid and keep it powered by solar panels. DIY solar panels often offer a bit more flexibility in terms of size and placement, so they can be installed in an alignment that works best for you within these settings. DIY solar panels are also useful as a back-up option if you lose electricity for the utility grid, provided you have a solar battery to store energy you generate.

Maintenance

Solar panels typically last around 25 years, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be problems along the way. DIY solar panels in particular may be subject to maintenance work as the quality is not guaranteed.

Maybe you tried to save on your upfront costs and bought cheaper panels that are more susceptible to wear and tear. Unfortunately, you may find yourself replacing them on your own. Unless a failure falls under the manufacturer’s warranty, you may need to replace the panel yourself. It is much easier to accidentally void the warranty if you also install the panels yourself.

Often, professionally installed panels come with some sort of warranty from the company performing the installation. They will be able to resolve any issues you may encounter and may even cover the costs.

Decide what is best for your home

DIY solar panels can be a fun project and a functional feature for your home, providing additional electricity from a renewable energy source. However, these panels are best served for small spaces like sheds or small homes. If you’re looking to ditch the grid altogether and run your entire home solar, consider professional installation. It may cost more upfront, but the added benefits of expert installation, assistance with future failures, and access to full tax incentives may end up paying off over time.

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