*Solar panel savings by location, solar panel manufacturer, system size and the amount of electricity your home uses. Cost of the professionally installed system shown after ITC tax credit, cost of kit shown before ITC tax credit
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Obviously, each of the different types of solar kits described above will include different equipment. However, regardless of whether the kit is a Renogy solar starter kit for camping or a high efficiency top end kit for a large home there are other differences between kits websites that are worth being aware to compare them. Notably:
A DIY solar installation is when you buy a solar panel kit and then organize the installation, permitting and inspections by the city and your utility yourself. It is more difficult than simply buying a solar panel system from a full service solar company who does everything.
However, it can be up to $1 per watt cheaper than the cost of getting a solar company to organize the installation of solar panels for your home.
However, be warned, industry experts say that 90% of people should not do a DIY solar installation on their home.
At the risk of sounding dramatic, there are some genuine dangers associated with self installation. You run the risk of hurting yourself if you are not safe on a roof, causing an electrical fire if your wiring work is not up to code, or making costly mistakes in the permitting process with the utility and the city. If you contract a skilled installer for you to do this work these risks can be reduced. However, installers will charge you around 70 cents per watt to do this making your net savings from going DIY quite small.
Perhaps the most serious long term concern with DIY solar projects is that you face owning a system for 25 years where no-one will help you with a warranty claim. Solar manufacturers are simply not set up to deal with individual warranty claims from consumers and these are usually handled by their local dealers.
A further issue for DIY solar projects is that solar qualified electricians often charge DIY customers an extravagant amount for installation, eroding the savings that were the original reason that the customer chose the DIY path.
SolarReviews only recommends DIY installations to people who are skilled roof workers or who have a friend who is a solar qualified electrician. For those that are dead set on going DIY we also recommend that you get at least one quote from a full service solar company to ensure you are at least going to save some money. You can see current local prices on installed solar systems on this page.