DIY Solar: Is It Worth It?

Solar panels on roof of home
  • 4-100 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-5,000

Solar energy is growing in popularity as more and more homeowners decide to do away with high utility bills and at the same time help the environment by producing their own clean energy. Perhaps you have also been considering solar panels for your roof, and are wondering if they make financial sense for you?

Ultimately, to answer that question you need to know if the cost of electricity is the same or cheaper than electricity from the utility. If the answer is yes, then solar energy makes financial sense. Some have passed up on the opportunity saying, “well it was only going to save me $50 per month after my repayments and so I didn’t bother”. The error of this logic is that power prices can continue to rise, so a $50 per month savings in 2016 can turn into a $200 per month saving in 2026. Installing solar insulates you and your family from the effects of rising power prices which is something few people have properly taken into consideration.

Building solar panels can be a fun and interesting project, however, it’s important to understand what you are dealing with. DIY solar panels are usually used for smaller applications such as providing light for a shed, powering electronics, etc. If you want to build high wattage/current solar panels in an attempt to provide electricity to your home or a bigger project, this is not recommended. This calculator tool might be a useful guide.

The decision to install your own Photovoltaic, or PV, system shouldn’t be taken lightly. This is the system that encompasses everything you need to supply solar power to your home, and includes things such as solar panels and a solar inverter. There are plenty of reasons why professional installation is the right choice for most people - perhaps the biggest being safely.

You also need to take into consideration the long term quality of the installation, the need for a licensed electrician to inspect the work, and issues surrounding warranties and insurances.

Not getting multiple quotes is a big mistake when it comes to solar. Solar Reviews provides a free service that calculates how many panels you’ll need, what it might cost, how much you can save, plus quotes to compare from local installers. It is critical to get multiple quotes wherever possible, with anything, not just solar. Having multiple companies give you a breakdown on how much solar will cost you, or more accurately, save you, gives you a better understanding of whether solar is right for your budget and whether or not you are being ripped off in price or quality.

Another mistake people can make comes from their (mis)understanding of how the solar incentives, rebates, and tax credits work. This is explained in greater detail here.

Finally, not knowing what size system is right for your home can be easy to solve. Most reputable solar installers will sit you down and do a full analysis of your electricity usage habits before they provide you with an estimate. They will ask you what your financial goals are and how much you’re willing to spend in order to accomplish those goals - because it’s not as simple as purchasing a solar system size that matches your energy use.

So there you have it! If you are considering installing solar panels for your home or business, can help you get estimates from high quality installers quickly and easily.