Buy Your Own Solar Panels
One of the primary appeals 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 anyone else's expertise or labor, which typically adds a considerable amount of cost to the project.
buy your own solar panels
According to research conducted by the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, labor typically accounts for about 10% of the total price tag for installing solar panels. Given the average cost for installing solar panels is $18,500, that means a savings of nearly $2,000. That's a significant amount of money to keep in your bank account.
However, there is a trade-off. If you aren't paying someone else to do the work of installation, it means you are doing it yourself. That means a significant amount of manual labor and time spent to set up the system, which you'll be doing on your own. You also may not be able to claim certain incentives offered to homeowners who install solar panels. Some of the tax rebates that states offer 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 into these incentives and how much they will save you.
It's worth noting, though, that many DIY solar panels are not designed to hook up to the traditional energy grid. They are designed more for off-grid purposes, like powering RVs or other spaces that are not typically served by a standard utility. If you are only looking to supplement your traditional energy source, DIY solar panels can get the job done. If you are looking to power your entire home with solar power, it might be better to trust an expert.
Installing a full solar energy system requires at least some knowledge of electrician work so you can properly handle the wiring and other technical aspects. You will likely have to work in relatively dangerous settings, including doing work on your roof and working with buried wires. The stakes are high for a mishap; crossed wires can result in malfunction and even electrical fires. It also may be illegal for you to do this work without a professional's help, depending on your municipality's zoning laws.
As mentioned, most DIY solar panel projects are not meant to replace traditional energy sources. They offer the ability to supplement power from the grid or power smaller spaces like an RV or a tiny home. But for a full-size home, a professionally installed solar system is likely best.
There are some settings that are ideal for a DIY solar project. If you have a garage or shed that requires electricity, you can go off the grid and keep it powered with solar panels. DIY solar panels often offer a bit more flexibility in size and placement, so they can be set up in an alignment that works best for you in these settings. DIY solar panels are also useful as a backup option if you were to lose power for the electrical grid, as long as you have a functional solar battery to store the generated power.
Solar panels typically last about 25 years, but that doesn't mean there won't be issues along the way. DIY solar panels in particular can be subject to requiring maintenance because the quality is not guaranteed.
Perhaps you tried to save in your up-front costs and purchased cheaper panels that are more susceptible to wear and tear. Unfortunately, you can end up being on your own in replacing them. Unless a failure falls under the warranty of the manufacturer, you may have to replace the panel on your own. It's much easier to accidentally void the warranty if you're installing the panels yourself, as well.
Oftentimes, professionally installed panels come with some sort of warranty from the company that does the installation. They will be able to service any issue that you may be experiencing, and may even cover the cost.
DIY solar panels can make for a fun project and a functional feature for your home, offering additional electricity from a renewable energy source. However, these panels are better served for smaller spaces like sheds or tiny homes. If you are looking to ditch the grid entirely and power your whole home with solar energy, consider a professional installation. It may cost more upfront, but the additional benefits of an expert installation, support in case of future failure, and access to full tax incentives may end up paying for itself over time.
We work with a panel of solar experts to create unbiased reviews that empower you to make the right choice for your home. No other site has covered renewables as long as us, which means we have more data and insider information than other sites.
Home and business owners typically purchase solar panels through solar companies, which are certified to deal and install products from top manufacturers. These solar installers then plan and execute the installation.
SunPower earns its position as the top national installer on our list for a handful of reasons: It installs the most efficient solar technology on the residential market, offers the most expansive service area and backs its installations with a warranty well above the industry standard. All the while, SunPower pioneers sustainability efforts within the industry.
For that reason, Blue Raven Solar developed an innovative solar financing plan that offers in-house, flexible, zero-money-down options. The results speak for themselves, as Blue Raven Solar is now one of the fastest-growing solar companies in the nation and was recently acquired by SunPower. Its BluePower Plus+ plan (exclusive to Blue Raven) mimics the flexible structure of a lease while still providing the greatest benefits of owning your system.
Eligible homeowners enjoy 18 months of solar power before having to pay their first bill. When coupled with the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC), the initial energy savings can offset more than a third of the overall cost of a system before requiring a dollar down.
A local solar installer will usually be able to offer you more personalized service, more affordable prices and more intimate knowledge of local solar incentives and policies. The flip side is that nationwide installers can often have access to a wider range of solar products, like the most efficient solar panels and the best solar batteries in the industry.
Installing your own solar panels provides the opportunity to save money on labor and also gives you greater control over the final configuration of your home solar system. Be aware, however, that there can be significant downsides to do-it-yourself solar jobs.
This hinges on an array of factors: the amount of electricity your household consumes, the surface area available on your roof, the amount of sun exposure your roof receives and more. For residential installations with limited roof space to work with, we recommend looking into highly efficient solar panels.
There are three basic types of photovoltaic panels available today: monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film. The factors differentiating these options have to do with the efficiency, flexibility, solar cell makeup, size and cost of the solar panels. These can all impact which solar panels you purchase.
Installing solar panels involves a number of decisions, starting with where to buy your panels. Are you qualified to install solar panels yourself? What type of solar panel is best for your energy needs? What other equipment will you need to buy along with your panels?
Make sure you do your research and hire a vetted, experienced solar contractor with a track record of success. Ask any friends or neighbors with solar who they hired and how their experience was. Some solar companies have programs that reward $1,000 or more for referrals. You can also continue your research on the best solar companies, or look for local solar installers in your area.
You can buy your own solar panels directly from manufacturers, from hardware stores or online. However, installing panels on your own when unqualified to do so can result in safety issues, an inefficient system or issues to the structural integrity of your home. With an investment as significant as solar, we usually recommend hiring a professional.
Solar panel costs differ widely due to variations in quality, efficiency, warranty and power. One solar panel for an off-grid or small DIY project can cost as little as $100. A standard 350-watt, high-efficiency residential solar panel will cost closer to $300 or more.
Going solar has major financial benefits: it reduces your monthly electric bill and can even increase the value of your home. Tax incentives and rebates, like the federal tax credit for solar and local net metering rules, can reduce your net cost by 30 percent, but solar is still a big investment, and the price tag can result in sticker shock.
On a related subject, DIY solar projects can be useful if you have a large property and want to power an outlying area, like a barn or tool shed, or want to easily install outdoor lights. In those cases, your electricity demands will be relatively low, so purchasing a small home solar kit and installing it yourself is feasible. For more detailed information on how to build solar panels, check out our article on how to make your own solar system.
If you want to install a DIY solar project, compare several options beforehand. Grape Solar is a major manufacturer (among others), and offers a few different DIY products and components for both grid-tied and off-grid systems, which you can find more information on below.
First and foremost, it is important to consider your needs. Every home is different just like every household is different. In general, if you only need to power smaller devices and not your entire home, DIY solar panels could be for you. There are many different options for what system design is best for you. These include off-grid systems (the most common for DIY panels), hybrid on-grid/off-grid systems, and grid-tied systems. 041b061a72