Patrick Crowley

Patrick Crowley
Head of Sales & Operations

Rex Kehoe

Rex Kehoe
Director of Installers

Reasons To Avoid DIY Solar Panel Kits

May 17, 2019

In this week’s live stream, Patrick and Rex talk about DIY solar panels and list down various reasons to avoid building your own solar panels.

The main reason why homeowners consider DIY solar panel kits is to save money. However, what a lot of homeowners do not consider is the professional knowledge, guidance, and expertise that comes with installing a solar panel system. There are resources available all over the internet that can help you with building your own system, but, is ‘DIY solar’ practically doable? Our solar experts don’t recommend DIY solar system kits and provide various reasons why you should avoid them altogether.

DIY Solar Panels Are Not Safe

  • Like in most construction sites, chances of you getting hurt while installing solar panels on your own are really high.
  • It is possible you may be dealing with the heavy direct current which is not easy when you don’t have the relevant expertise.
  • Generally, installers use lifts, harnesses, helmets, and all the other professional installation gear while setting up panels on a roof. Without proper experience, it’s difficult for you to carry the installation process and in situations that include an inclined roof or a double-story property, this can be dangerous too.

Roof Damages with DIY Solar

  • During the installation of solar panels, roof damages are likely to occur as you need to do various penetrations on the roof while setting up panels on it.
  • This is the primary reason behind the workmanship warranty which covers you from all the possible damages that can occur during solar panels installation.
  • When installers do the penetration, they avoid roof leaks and damages by using special sealants and other installation equipment. Moreover, they have experience handling the installation process on various types of roofs.
  • Roof leaks are pretty uncommon for a solar installer, however, it can be quite common for someone trying to build their own system.

Complex Electrical Work

  • The primary reason to avoid building your own solar panels is due to the complex electrical work involved during setting up the system.
  • There are many electrical connections that only a professional installer can handle. In some cases, during installation, one may not be aware that their panel will need an upgrade.
  • Although you may have the proper skill set to install your own panels, we strongly advise against carrying the complex electrical work. This involves following guidelines and failing to do so would cost you a lot of money due to physical damages of the panels.

Dealing with Permits Isn’t Easy

  • Obtaining various permits for your system is a nightmare on its own. This is especially true if you live in cities like New York where obtaining building permits are extremely difficult.
  • Obtaining permits involves a professional who would inspect your system and property to evaluate if you are meeting guidelines. Installers are aware of these guidelines as they regularly work with inspectors. If you are installing panels on your own, you may not be aware of the inspection process and failure to meet the guidelines would be a great loss.
  • In addition to building permits, you should obtain a ‘Permission To Operate’ (PTO) from your utility provider. This may involve a lot of obstacles you may not be aware of, however, installers have extensive knowledge in setting up a system that will indeed meet your provider’s guidelines and can easily get your system a PTO from the utility provider.
  • If you’re planning to install a solar panel system on your own, it is also important for you to gain the approval of your Homeowners Association (HOA) for which you need to submit a design before installing your system.
  • In addition, you need to file for various rebates available on your solar panel system. Applying for various state rebates and utility incentives involves tremendous paperwork. You need to know how to navigate on this entire process to claim rebates that you’re eligible for. For example, the SGIP program in California is a very lucrative incentive that somebody can receive but it a super lengthy process that a normal homeowner is not able to navigate through.

Although building your own solar panel system can save a homeowner money, we strongly advise against it. Expert solar guidance is very important in this entire procedure and very necessary to help one navigate through safety, potential damage, electrical work, and obtaining permits.


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