Do It Yourself Roof Top Solar

Roof top solar system were once the stuff of science fiction novels. Now these systems are appearing all over the world, from mansions in North America to tiny homes in Africa. While the value of this systems is irrefutable, the question remains whether installing solar panels is just a Do It Yourself project or whether it is a project that requires a certified contractor.

Benefits and Risk of a DIY Solar Installation

The most obvious benefit of DIY Solar Installation is the possibility of saving money. During the installation of a solar panel system a considerable amount of money is going towards labour and project management. For example, on a $30,000 installation about $6000 is going to the labour involved in the installation. In a perfect scenario, a homeowner could save 25% on their solar panel system with a DIY Solar Installation

On the other hand, with any DIY project, there is more involved then just the opportunity to save money. If a homeowner decides to do a DIY Solar Installation there is a real sense of ownership that comes with accomplishing the job. For homeowners that have the end goal of going off grid, a DIY Solar Installation creates the feeling of autonomy and Independence

The big downside of a DIY Solar Installation is that in practice, it can be risky. While most people might have enough knowledge to change the spark plugs in their car or put up dry wall in their basement, doing a solar panels installation is far more difficult. Only a liscenced contractor with experience in roofing and electrical work should consider doing a solar install. Even in that case, a homeowner would still need expensive training to accomplish an solar panels installation.  

 Photo by ebobeldijk/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by ebobeldijk/iStock / Getty Images


Benefits and Risk of going to a licensed contractor

On the other hand, the benefits of going with a licenced contractor is numerous. When you go with a professional to do any job, you really get the peace of mind that everything will be taken care of in a timely and correct manner. With Solar installations, this is especially important since there are so many steps involved. Consider the initial design for the arrangement of solar panels on the roof top. On a DIY level this involves a lot of guess work, but a licenced contractor can use satellite mapping software to determine the amount of sunlight in your region, design the most effective system and give a homeowner an accurate evaluation of how much energy a system can generate. This is just one of the benefits of hiring some that is specializes in solar installations. The installation itself is straight forward, but hiring someone ensures you get the most out of the system.

In a perfect world going with a licenced solar installer would always lead to the best results, but in reality, there are bad contractors. One of the biggest problems in the solar industry is unqualified, poorly trained installers. One notable case was an installation that was done without a properly installed critter guard. Animals were able to enter and form a nest under the panels themselves. While this is a clear example of a bad install, another more pressing concern is the long-term viability of an installer. If the installer you choose to go with is out off business in three or four years you will have a warranty on your equipment, but no warranty on your workmanship.



Matthew Griffin