Solar tax credit.
09 AUG

DIY Solar Installation VS A Contractor Installed Solar System

By Ron Miller Read 119 times Tagged under Solar Tax Credit Expiration

Solar has become one of the most sought after home improvements in 2018 and in an effort to save money and enhance their return on investment, many homeowners lately are researching the option of “diy solar panels” – in other words, the concept of installing a solar panel system by yourself or with the help of others. Of course, some may say that there is a lot involved in a solar installation but with the right help, nothing could be further from the truth. In actuality a do-it-yourself solar project can be pretty straight forward.

Installing a grid tied or grid tie battery backup solar system offers several major financial benefits: These systems can reduce or even eliminate your expensive, monthly electricity costs and can even increase the value of your home. Incentives like the federal solar tax credit can reduce the net cost of your solar system by 30 %. State and utility company incentives where available, can further reduce the net cost of installing a solar system.

On the surface, solar may seem like a big investment, especially when a contractor is involved but by performing the installation yourself and eliminating the contractor, the sticker shock experienced from a contractor installed solar system can be reduced to a much more manageable level. Below, I break down the top pros and cons that you need to be aware of whether you are pursuing a DIY installation or a contractor installation before making your decision.

The 5 step process to DIY solar panels

1. Your DIY solar dealer will design your system and assist you with the permitting process.

2. Purchase your solar equipment (solar panels, inverter and panel mounting racks).

3. Install the mounting racks, solar panels and inverter.

4. Have the system inspected by the local municipality and the utility company.

5. Activate your solar system and begin saving on your electric bill.

The cost of DIY solar has dropped dramatically over the past 6 years. See prices for DIY solar in your area and get a free solar quote on the Discount Solar Supply website. Do it yourself solar panel installation can save you up to 50% or more and there are many options. According to pricing on the Discount Solar Supply website, the average gross cost of materials for going solar for homeowners (in other words, your costs before incentives and rebates are applied) is approximately $8,500. Compare this amount to the average cost of $18,800 for a contractor installed solar system and you can quickly see how dramatic the savings can be when choosing a DIY installed solar system versus the cost of a contractor installed solar system. The cost for a contractor installed solar system in this example can be nearly $10,000 higher than a DIY installed solar system.. Not only can a DIY solar installation save you a tremendous amount of money, you'll also be in full control of your solar project.

Modern solar systems are capable of continuing to generate electricity for 25 to 30 years, so it’s crucial that you consider both the performance and the manufacturer that is backing the warranty of your solar system. Contractors will come and go taking their warranties with them, so it is important to choose solar components from name brand manufacturers. For the most part, DIY solar dealers buy from equipment distributors that don’t sell to the general public – so they are often getting much lower prices because they’re able to buy in bulk.

Do it yourself solar works for any type of grid tie or off grid project, large or small. Most DIY solar kits are designed for residential as well as grid tie battery backup use, which means that you can use them for projects that allow you connect to your utility. If you’re an average homeowner, installing a grid tie battery backup system makes perfect sense when you consider our worsening climate. Battery backup grid tie solar systems allow you to automatically access utility-generated electricity when your solar energy system isn't producing enough electricity to meet your needs.

Small solar kits can be a good choice if you’re not trying to power your entire home. Recreational vehicles (RVs), boats, and increasingly popular tiny houses are all opportunities to explore for DIY solar kits as well.

If you decide to install a DIY solar project, be sure to compare pricing and options before making a decision. Pricing and services can vary dramatically from dealer to dealer. Installing a DIY solar system is not complicated,. You'll be joining the ranks of tens of thousands of homeowners across the country who have successfully installed their own DIY solar system.

When you are shopping for a DIY solar power system, remember that you get what you pay for. Always compare the specifications of the solar panels and inverters. Ask you DIY solar dealer to help you in making a comparison. If the dealer is unable to or unwilling, find another dealer who will.

Keep this in mind especially if you decide to go with a contractor installed system. Never settle for a contractor's "house brand", if a contractor is not willing to assist you with a comparison, again find a contractor that will. When it comes to installing a solar system on your property, finding a DIY solar dealer who knows what they’re doing can actually save you both time and money in the long run.

Some of the best DIY solar dealers have been in the business for decades – some with experience that very few solar contractors on the market possess. Your DIY solar dealer should also help you complete the electrical plans, permits and applications that you need to submit to get your solar energy system up and running.

Also be sure that your DIY solar dealer has a strong understanding of the financial incentives that are available in your area, an experienced DIY solar dealer might even be able to help you save more money by finding an incentive that you may have overlooked. Lastly, it is important to note that it is simply a myth that equipment manufacturers will only honor their warranties if a qualified installer installed their equipment. Read the instruction manuals for the inverter and solar panels that you are installing and you will find NO reference that supports this myth.

Another myth that seems to be making its way through the Internet is that you won't qualify for the 30% federal solar tax credit if you perform a DIY solar installation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Tens of thousands of consumers across the country have successfully installed their own residential solar system and have qualfield for the tax credit.

There is no better way to save money (lots of money) on your solar installation Homeowners who get multiple quotes can easily save thousands of dollars from one dealer to the next. As with any big ticket item, shopping for a DIY solar panel installation can take research and consideration, including a thorough review of the companies that serve your area. A recent report by NREL recommends that consumers compare as many solar options as possible to avoid paying inflated prices . You can receive free quotes from companies like

Remember, the smaller local installers typically don’t offer the best price due to their limited buying power. And the bigger installers aren't always better because they have so much overhead. For this reason, we strongly encourage homeowners to shop as many DIY solar dealers as well as contractors and always compare pricing, performance and warranties. A word of warning though, if you decide to go with a solar contractor. Beware of solar referral services. Many of the solar referral companies that promise multiple quotes from competing solar dealers tend to charge those dealers a high fee for referring your information. This places these contractors in a position of having to add the referral company's fees into the quotes that they provide to their customers which increases your final cost. If you decide to go with a contractor, deal directly with the contractor and bypass the middleman solar referral company.

By comparing multiple solar quotes, you can compare costs and savings based on the different equipment packages available to you. There are various specifications to consider when seeking out the best solar products for your particular installation. Again ask your DIY solar dealer for help in this area. With pricing for solar having dropped to historically low levels, it is now possible to buy very high efficiency and PTC rated solar panels at prices never before seen on the market. The only way to find the ideal solar system quote for your residential DIY solar installation is to compare quotes from various dealers offering different equipment and financing options. if you would like a free, no obligation, ballpark quote for a DIY solar system visit



Installing Your Own DIY Solar System Can Save You Thousands !