Should You DIY Solar with a Solar Panel Kit?


should you DIY solar?

Going solar has major financial benefits: it reduces your monthly electricity costs and can even increase the value of your home. Incentives like the federal tax credit for solar can reduce your net cost by 30 percent or more, but solar is still a big investment, and the price tag can result in sticker shock. To save money, it’s no surprise that many homeowners are considering DIY solar panel kits when they decide to go solar. Below, we break down the top things you need to know about DIY solar before making a decision.

DIY Solar Can Be Less Expensive, but Your Options are Limited

According to data from the EnergySage Solar Marketplace, the average gross cost of going solar for homeowners (meaning your costs before incentives and rebates are applied) was $29,225. Of that amount, design and installation labor costs contribute about 10 percent of the total bill – this ten percent is all that DIY solar saves you, since you’ll still have the buy the equipment yourself. Regardless, it’s still tempting to look into a DIY solar installation to save money and be in full control of your project.

Your solar energy system should continue to generate electricity for 20 to 30 years, so it’s crucial that you consider both the upfront costs and the relative financial benefits for all of your solar options. If you buy a home solar kit like the ones for sale at Costco or Home Depot, it may be less expensive per watt, but you aren’t getting the same quality equipment that solar installers are able to offer you. For the most part, solar installers buy from equipment distributors that don’t sell to the general public – and they’re often getting lower prices because they’re able to buy in bulk.

DIY Solar Works for Small Off-Grid Projects

Most home solar kits are designed for off-grid use, which means you can’t use them and remain connected to your utility. If you’re an average homeowner, going off-grid is probably not in your best interest – being able to access utility-generated electricity is important if your solar energy system doesn’t produce enough electricity to meet your needs at all times of the day throughout the year.

However, home solar kits can be a good solution if you’re not trying to power your entire home. RVs, boats, and the increasingly popular tiny houses are all opportunities to explore DIY solar, because they are already off-grid and mobile.

10/15/2017 1:08:36 PM

No concrete useful info. You may not be able to get what a contractor buys, but who says his equipment is best. If you really desire to do solar on your own and do the homework from sources with real information, there is plenty of product out there to buy. You would have to have a knowledgeable Electrician to complete the connection with the power company as well as their buy in and what ever equipment they deem necessary to install, which you will probably have to pay for. My comment is unless you have a lot of money you do not know what to do with and power is available solar is not a good buy. You would have to plan to stay in your current house for at least 20 years to realize a payback. Off grid power is where the real savings is, but you need to be off grid. A true off grid system would use solar and a small wind turbine to be most effective and a number of very expensive batteries. True solar batteries are $200 to $500 dollars apiece if you expect them to last for a while, because of constant charge / discharge cycles. Mother Earth's best articles are ones written by those who have actually done what they are talking about. We need more of these on every topic.

10/11/2017 5:29:28 PM

The title should also mention this is an AD, I'm plugging my own company!!

10/11/2017 5:28:08 PM

It's always great when you quote your own companies data and research!!

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