DIY Solar: When it is and is not a Good Idea

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects sound like a rewarding and inexpensive alternative to buying a full-price item. But DIY solar rarely falls into this category. We’re not just talking about an upholstered chair or a pair of shorts here. Attempting to DIY your solar system could be extremely costly and dangerous. Not all DIY projects are created equal – and solar is no afternoon project.

When is DIY solar a good idea?

On small projects that aren’t connected to the utility grid, like RV’s or garden fountains. In these cases, it may be more cost-effective to do it on your own rather than hire an installer. These projects can still give you the satisfaction of a job well done and save you some money, without being too time-consuming, unsafe and downright frustrating.

It’s not as simple as buying solar panels, setting them up on your roof, and hooking them up to a meter. A solar installation team consists of experts in different fields who have spent years specializing in their part alone. This is because there are many complex aspects of designing and installing solar:

DIY Solar Safety

Electrical work consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous careers out there. Electrocution is the most common cause of death to electricians; they are also prone to falling off or through roofs. These accidents happen to even the most highly trained electricians, so if you’re not one, leave it to a skilled professional.
And don’t forget about after the installation when faulty wiring in the home could cause you harm at any point.

DIY Solar Design

The most time-consuming part of installing a solar system isn’t even the installation.

You must choose the best panels for your site and know the proper number of panels that will meet your energy needs. After that, you need to calculate the exact placement of these panels for maximum efficiency, making sure they’re compatible with all other necessary pieces of equipment. All of this must fit in with the grid, if you are connected to one. And these are only some aspects of what you will need to account for when designing a system.

You will have to become a solar, electrical, and roof expert. We have a team of experienced solar design specialists using state-of-the-art software for this exact reason.

DIY Solar Quality of Products

DIY solar kits are more prone to fire and shorter lifespans than premium panels installed professionally. While the price of a DIY solar kit may be appealing, remember that they will likely need to be replaced often, may or may not come with a warranty, and could incur serious costs if they damage your roof. A professionally installed system will likely be the only system you’ll need to install during your lifetime.
Our panels come with a warranty of 25 years and can continue producing power for 40+ years. You can learn more about our top-of-the-line solar panels.

DIY Solar Financing

Surprisingly, prices for DIY kits are comparable to professional-grade panels combined with the team to design and install it, plus taking care of all the permits and paperwork. According to EnergySage, there’s only about a 10% difference in price from DIY kits to professionally installed systems, and that 10% is what pays for labor, design, and installation.

In addition, you want to make sure your solar system qualifies for every available incentive – something we do for free. Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union (PSCCU) also offers a zero-down solar financing program that can make your system even more achievable. After incentives, customers pay around the same for solar as they would have for their electricity bill each month.
DIY kits may cost less than professional solar systems, but the upfront cost is greater, and the lifespan is likely half as long. Is it worth that 10%?

A Lifetime of Paperwork

Incentives alone require large amounts of paperwork – if you want to ensure you’re not leaving money unclaimed. But permits and licensing are another ballgame.
Not only is all this paperwork time-consuming, it’s also easy to mess up if you’re not familiar with every aspect.
Artisan Electric covers all fees and permits required for the job. We also complete and submit all required paperwork on your behalf, taking the guesswork out of the process.

Trust us, we understand the feeling of a job well done. But solar is a project that’s best left to the professionals. Save yourself some time, money and frustration, and sign up for a free solar site assessment.

A smarter energy solution is closer than you think. Take the first step today.

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