As solar power becomes increasingly popular all across America, homeowners might be looking for ways to save money on solar panel installation costs. Specifically, some people are installing their own residential solar panel systems instead of hiring professionals. After all, if you can tackle tasks like painting your own house, replacing your own flooring, and gutting your own kitchen, why can’t you DIY a solar installation?
One of the main reasons people install solar panels in the first place is to save money on their electric bills. Therefore, some people might think that a DIY solar installation is another way to cut costs. As it turns out, there are plenty of good reasons to stick with professional solar panel installation companies instead of setting up your own system.
Complexity and Hassle
While it may seem simple on the surface, there is actually quite a bit of complexity involved with solar panel installation. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could get in over your head in a hurry. When you hire a reputable solar installation company, you’re getting a licensed professional who has been certified by your state government. There are industry standards these companies need to adhere to as well, like certification from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners.
An aspect that not enough people consider before trying a DIY installation is that solar panel installation companies can help you acquire, fill out, and file any relevant permits and licenses for your new residential solar system. In addition, they can help you find an electrician to inspect and certify your system’s compliance with legal requirements. In some states, this part of the process can be a much bigger hassle than most people expect, and it’s always advisable to be able to hand off this step to a true pro.
In many cases, a self-installed residential solar panel system will be less efficient than a similar system installed by professionals. First off, people who cut corners on DIY solar panel installation are more likely to pinch pennies on the solar panels themselves. Keep in mind that saving money is great, but solar installation isn’t something that should be done haphazardly or at the lowest possible cost, regardless of quality or qualifications.
Furthermore, there are quite a few steps to the solar panel installation process, and failing to complete any of them correctly can have an adverse effect on your system’s efficiency. For instance, you would need to install the mounts or racks on your rooftop, attach the power inverters, install a grounding wire, and position a roof junction box (which often involves drilling through your roof).
That’s all before you even install your panels themselves! Once that step is complete, you need to set up a conduit to connect your panels to your home, and you’ll also require an emergency disconnection system and a junction box. If you incorrectly complete any of the steps we’ve outlined in this section, it’s likely that your solar system will operate at less than peak efficiency. Even one loose wire can drain your system’s effectiveness.
If you want your solar panel installation to produce as much energy for your home as possible, you should have it professionally installed to ensure that everything operates correctly.
Professional Help Often Needed for Other Steps
We mentioned earlier that solar installation often requires a series of permits and licenses. Especially if you want your residential solar system to operate off the grid, you typically will need approval from a professional. If you’re going to need to hire professionals for these steps anyway, you might as well have them handle your entire installation and rest easy knowing that your system was set up by a reputable solar panel installation company.
Risk of Fires, Leaks, and Electric Shock
One of the best reasons to hire a professional to install your system is that an incorrectly assembled solar system can cause some serious problems. For instance, if you incorrectly install a circuit, you may have just installed a significant fire risk on your roof. It’s also quite easy to cause structural issues or leaks if you make a mistake while drilling and sealing holes.
Additionally, installing a solar panel system for your home obviously involves working with electricity. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can easily expose yourself to a high-voltage electric shock. When you’re dealing with enough electricity to run your entire house, you could subject yourself to an extremely dangerous amount of voltage that could even be fatal!
Finally, a DIY solar installation won’t be protected by a warranty. Most solar panel manufacturers (as well as companies that make the other necessary components) will void your warranty if anyone other than certified representatives from solar installation companies installs your system. Seeing as many manufacturers’ warranties can last for quite a few years, it’s often worth it to have a professional install your solar system for this reason alone.
For the vast majority of homeowners, the risks of DIY solar installation far outweigh the benefits. In most cases, you will be better off hiring a reputable solar installer who can set up your system in a professional manner. If you have any further questions, contact one of our LGCY Power representatives at your convenience. We’ll be more than happy to walk you through the details of the solar panel installation process and help you find the right professional to install your system.
Solar panel installation for residential purposes seems to get more popular with each passing day. Across the country, people in every corner of America are installing rooftop solar systems to save money and protect our environment. However, many people don’t realize how many benefits there can be from residential solar installations.
While you certainly can save money in an eco-friendly manner, it’s important to understand the underlying machinations that drive these benefits. By fully grasping the details of the many significant benefits of a home solar installation, you can view the full picture of how residential solar can impact your life. Let’s take a look at the five main benefits of a home solar panel installation.
Reduce or replace your electric bills
For any homeowner, your monthly electric bill from the utility company likely makes up a significant part of your overall expenses. Even in an area that only receives a moderate amount of daily sunlight, a good residential rooftop solar system can often power your entire home. That means that your one-time investment in solar panels can nearly permanently end your need for energy from your utility provider.
This is especially true if you live in an area that has generous net metering regulations. With net metering, your utility company gives you billing credit for any excess electricity your solar system generates. For example, your solar system produces the most energy on bright, sunny days with plenty of direct sunlight hitting your panels. However, your solar panels will produce much less energy on cloudy days — sometimes as little as 10% of the energy produced on sunny days — and don’t produce anything at night.
With net metering, you only pay for the net energy your home needs from the grid. Therefore, any extra energy your panels produce during the day goes into the grid, and any electricity you need on cloudy days or at night comes back from the grid. If your outgoing and incoming energy requirements are equivalent (or if you produce more than you use), then you will not owe your utility company a dime.
Outstanding return on investment
The best savings account you could ever hope to find with a traditional bank will provide less than a 1% return on your investment. As for CD accounts, a five-year investment can usually bring back 1% to 1.5% in annual percentage yield. Even a 10-year government bond from the United States Treasury only brings in roughly 1.7% per year. If you’re a smart investor in the stock market, you can expect to make about a 10% profit in a typical year.
Now, let’s take a look at how residential solar panel installations generate returns for your hard-earned money. It may surprise you to learn that a solar installation can provide a return on investment that beats most traditional investment methods. Of course, the solar installation cost isn’t something to be taken lightly, as even a small residential solar system will still cost thousands of dollars.
However, you can actually generate yearly returns of at least 10% with solar power for your home. Many people even experience far greater financial benefits, approaching 25% to 30%! There are many variables involved — from your utility company’s rates to your state tax incentives and more. Still, if you purchase your solar system up-front (instead of entering into a purchase power agreement or solar lease), you can expect to save at least 10% per year compared to simply paying your electric bill.
In addition, with residential solar panels, you don’t have to care nearly as much about rising energy costs. In the last decade, the typical cost of electricity for a home has increased by 15% or more. As you might expect, it’s highly unlikely that these costs will ever decrease again. As the cost of fossil fuels continues to rise, so will energy rates charged by traditional utilities. With a solar installation for your home, you won’t have to care or even notice!
Increased property values
For the most part, solar panels for home systems tend to raise home resale values by up to 5%. Especially if your solar panels are fully owned, the new homeowner won’t have any additional financial responsibilities for them, except for routine maintenance from time to time.
If there’s still money owed on the solar panels, the math can certainly change. But if they’re entirely paid for, a residential solar system will almost always significantly increase a home’s value. If you live in an area where solar power is especially popular — like the American Southwest — your solar energy system could add even more than 5% to your resale value.
Protect our environment
There are many major environmental benefits to residential solar panel installation. The most significant is how powering your home with solar reduces pollution from fossil fuels. Instead of using natural gas or coal to generate electricity for your house, you will instead use 100% clean energy from the sun. That means you’ll be doing your part to reduce carbon emissions and keep our air, water, and plants thriving for generations to come.
Are you looking for solar panel installation companies in your area? Perhaps you have questions about solar installation costs? Contact LGCY Power at (855) 569-0097 today and one of our solar experts can help you find the information you need to make an informed decision about a solar panel installation for your home.