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.