The Drawbacks of DIY Solar Installations

11 February of 2011 by

 The Drawbacks of DIY Solar InstallationsMaking an investment in solar power is a smart decision, but installing it yourself could be a bigmistake.  Most DIYers, who want to take on a solar project, may do itfor the learning experience or to save money.  I think it is great thatindividuals want to get educated about how solar works, but I don’t think they should do that at the expense of their ownsafety.  Here are a few reasons why you may change your mind about a DIYsolar installation:

  1. Electrical Work is Dangerous – With the wiring involved in solar electric installations, there is always the risk of electrocution if precautions aren’t taken.  I’m not sure about regulations in other states, but Massachusetts requires that solar electrical work be done by electricians. 
  2. DIY Solar May Not Qualify for State Incentives –Most people take on a do-it-yourself solar project because of the costsavings.  They don’t think about the rebates they may be sacrificing ifthey execute the project by themselves.  States, such as Massachusetts and Connecticut, require that a licensed installer do the work in order to qualify for rebates.
  3. DIY Solar May be Ineligible for Grid Interconnection – Most utilities allow renewable energy systems to interconnect to thegrid, but impose standards on system design.  A grid-connected PV system allows you to draw power from the grid at night when you are notgenerating solar energy.  It also allows you to push excess solar power back to the grid during the day if you are generating more than you need.
  4. Solar Should be Built to Last – DIYers may not have access to the same high-quality components (panels, inverters, mounting equipment) or the techniques that solar installers generally use.  Systems are designed to be on your roof for 25 or 30years so quality of the installation and the durability of the equipment are especially important.   
  5. An Installer Can Customize Solar for your Needs – Distributors now offer packaged self-installation kits.  These kits don’t offer much flexibility with the design and could offer limited power output.  Ifyou contract the work, the contractor can customize the installation tomaximize your roof space for power production. 

Before you proceed with a do-it-yourself solar installation, I recommend you contact a local solar installer in your area.  They can talk about the differences that you expect with DIY project versus a contracted solar installation.  Brightstar Solaris a licensed solar installer that will work with our customers to navigate the installation process, maximize incentives, and manage the rebate and permitting paperworkinvolved.  If you have a home or business in Massachusetts or Connecticut and are interested in solar power, please contact us for a free evaluation.


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