Can you install solar panels yourself? The short answer is ‘yes’, but there are some serious drawbacks to going it alone. Installing solar panels isn’t exactly as simple as mounting a light fixture or swapping out your water filtration system.
We live in an era of YouTube, do-it-yourself videos. And while we all enjoy saving a buck and feeling handy, there are some projects that should be left to the professionals. Solar panel installation is definitely one of those situations.
Improperly installed solar panels can wind up costing you in the long-run, which is actually counterintuitive to the concept of solar paneling in the first place. There are federal, state and local regulations that need to be followed to a tee, and the angling needs to be just right for you to maximize savings and functionality. Not to mention advanced wiring techniques, and ensuring that the integrity of your roof is suitable to hold the weight of the solar panels.
It isn’t to say that you ‘can’t’ install solar panels yourself, but if you are thinking about taking on the task, here are some things you may want to consider before getting in over your head.
How Safe is DIY Solar Panel Installation?
The price of solar is dropping dramatically across the nation as homeowners are waking up to the benefits of solar energy. There are home solar kits sold at hardware stores, and although you may think you’re getting a bargain in that very moment, you’ll be missing out on the quality, incentives and rebates that only come with professional solar panel installation.
Whole home solar installation is a serious project. You may be able to effectively install a solar panel to the side of an RV or shed, but the roof of your home or business is a much bigger mountain to climb, literally and figuratively. Here are some factors to consider before attempting to install solar paneling yourself.
- Planning & Placement – Not only is the act of safely getting the solar panels onto your roof an endeavor in and of itself, but the planning that goes into properly placing them on the roof is an exceedingly important factor if you want to get the most out of your solar panels. Not only is having a firm understanding of how solar panels work and how the energy is stored important, but there are a few additional things you should ask yourself. What size solar panels will you need to suit the usage of your household? Does your roof have sufficient space, the right pitch and angle to get the best results? What is the correct tilt for your solar panels? And most importantly, is your roof able to bear the weight of solar paneling? Now, you might think you can sufficiently answer such questions, but why chance it? If the placement of your solar panels isn’t just right, generally speaking, you won’t save as much money over time and defeats the purpose of installing solar panels altogether. These are even more reasons why you should contact a professional solar panel installer like PetersenDean. They can help you maximize your investment.
- Wiring – This is a biggie. Solar panel installation requires experience with high-voltage wiring and isn’t for novices. The risk of injury during this part of the install is very real. Not only could you hurt yourself, but you could create costly problems to your home and fuse box if done improperly. In serious cases, incorrectly wiring your solar panels could cause a power surge, blow your inverter, and potentially start a fire. In most states, a certification is required before installing this kind of electrical work. You need to match the proper wiring with your residence and also be knowledgeable of local grid specifications. An experienced solar panel installer will have a clear understanding of your system requirements to ensure the electricity being produced is compatible with your grid and residence.
- Regulations – Obviously there are certain laws, regulations and safety standards that need to be followed when installing solar panels. Your local power company will also have additional guidelines that need to be followed for proper installation. Depending on your exact location, there may be a need to get approval from city planning departments and municipalities, as well as getting an inspector to sign off on the install. The beauty about getting your solar panels installed by a professional is that you will have a warranty should anything malfunction or break.
- Condition of Your Roof – The size, angle, materials and age of your roof all play a factor when you are mounting solar panels on your roof. Since your roof will likely be the best spot to place your solar panels, knowing the integrity of your roof is an integral part to proper solar panel installation. Your solar panels are built to last for decades, so if your roof is more than 20 years old, you may want to consider getting your roof inspected prior to installation. If you forgo this step, it could result in leaking, sagging, and the inevitability of your roof collapsing. This could cost you major bucks and you’ll wind up having to pay for solar panels all over again, much less a new roof. Traditional shingles are the easiest surface to affix solar paneling to. Clay and slate roofing can have a tendency to crack or break, so extra care is needed when installing solar panels to this type of roofing. The way your home and roof is positioned is also important. The majority of solar professionals will suggest pitching the panels due south, anywhere between 180-195 degrees to receive the most direct sunlight and maximize output. Be sure to check with your solar panel professional to understand how your roof and shingles will hold up and how to best position your solar panels. Then you can get busy enjoying your energy efficient home.
PetersenDean Can Help You Qualify for Solar Incentives and Rebates
One of the more desirable perks when opting to go with professional solar panel installers are the tax incentives and rebates. You could wind up getting a sizable portion of your money back after installation.
PetersenDean systems sold in the U.S. are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit. Additional state, local, and utility incentives exist in many areas, only further lowering the net cost of your investment. Currently, most of America is under a system known as Net Metering. Net Metering allows your electricity bill costs to be reduced to zero, but no further. In select areas of the U.S., you can be paid for any excess electricity you create, in what is known as a Feed-In Tariff system.
This year, an independent review of California Solar Initiative (CSI) data shows that for the last 12 months PetersenDean has achieved the most affordable solar installation price. The Solar4America campaign is an ongoing effort to deliver transparency in solar pricing and drive down the costs of solar power.
Since its inception 35 years ago, PetersenDean has made it their mission to deliver world-class roofing and solar power systems to customers in mainland United States and Hawaii. With all of our parts manufactured in the US, PetersenDean is an independently owned solar company that takes pride in providing affordable solar panels to our loyal customers.