You Can Install Solar Panels Yourself!
So you want to install solar panels on your home yourself. You are pretty sure you can do it. Do-it-yourself (DIY) solar photovoltaic (PV) panels doesn’t seem all that hard, and you are very handy. You’ve done the research. You know what it should cost.
Guess what – you may be right! But there may be just a few things you are uncomfortable doing, you have some questions, or you want to hire professionals for some of the installation. If this sounds like you, you can save money and get a quality solar panel installation. And we’re here to help you do it!
In the past we have strongly recommended against homeowners installing their own solar photovoltaic panels. But the industry has evolved, and much of the installation is plug-and-play now, especially if you select a modular microinverter system. It’s not rocket science. However, the installation is quite strenuous, potentially dangerous, and you need to have some mechanical and electrical skills to get it done.
Most people hire a professional for solar panel installation, but there are great reasons that you may want to do-it-yourself:
- You want to save money.
- You don’t want to get ripped off.
- You want the job done right, and think you will take more care with the installation.
- You want the satisfaction of having done it yourself.
- You are getting a very broad spectrum of confusing recommendations from professionals.
- You don’t like the solar panel buying process.
- You don’t trust the contractors you have spoken to, and feel the industry has too many bad apples.
If any of these reasons sound familiar and you feel you are capable of doing it yourself, continue reading!
Reasons to Hire a Professional
You didn’t come here for us to change your mind, so we will keep this brief. Solar panel installation is hard work and there are real risks. Falling from heights, electrocution, fire hazards, and destroying the waterproof integrity of your roof are all risks. If you are still confident you can do it yourself, continue reading!
We Will Give You a Great Deal
You might be surprised that licensed solar energy contractors don’t make much money, if any, on the materials. Despite what you may think about the buying power of people in the trade, online pricing has leveled the playing field. You can access essentially the same pricing as a small solar contractor.
You might see some impossibly low prices online for complete systems. It’s always too good to be true. They don’t tell you everything that is not included, and often the equipment is inappropriate or lacking for our environment in Florida.
You can rest assured that the price you get from us is right in line with what you can get on your own.
How We Serve the Do-It-Yourself Solar Panel Buyer
We recognized that DIY customers want to get the best price on equipment, but most are missing some of the key information required for a successful, stress-free installation. Our services are best suited to assisting you through the process and installation. We feel it is most appropriate to ask you to pay for this service while helping you get the materials at the best price.
The result is a simple pricing model that includes all of the major costs and components, bundled with our expert support throughout the process, including some on-site guidance. We only sell one modular/expandable microinverter system type to keep things simple. We offer the best products on the market with true personalized support so you can perform a quality DIY installation, done right, at a low price.
What Is Included and Not Included
We don’t just sell you a kit. We provide expert support through the entire process, including available on-site support. If (when) you run into a snag, we will be there to help you through the problem.
The items in black are usually included in kits online (although they may be deficient in quantity or suitability for our area). The items in orange are almost never included in kits. The items in red are never included in kits.
For items not included, we have included the estimated costs you should expect to pay on top of our kit price.
- SolarWorld 285W Monocrystalline Solar Modules
- Enphase M250 Microinverters
- Enphase Engage Cabling System
- Sunfix Mounting System
- Quickmount PV Roof Flashings
- Stainless Steel Roof Fasteners
- Wire Management Clips and Ties
- Roofing Sealants (type depends on roof type, quantity as recommended, does not include tile roof flashing sealants)
- Soladeck roof mounted AC combiner box or pass-through box depending on roof type.
- Enphase AC combiner or Square D AC Combiner Load Center and Breakers appropriate for your home.
- Enphase Envoy-S Data Monitoring Gateway (a $500 value).
- Signed and sealed engineering drawings required for permit (a $700 value).
- Scheduled delivery of equipment to your home on our trucks including offloading and stacking of equipment in your garage or other suitable location.
- Required standard and site-specific, code-required labels.
- Plan view (aerial view) layout drawing and 3D computer rendering.
- Permit application forms completed on your behalf for your jurisdiction.
- Detailed instructions on how to submit and track your permit application.
- Support and resolution of issues during plan review process if required.
- Permit bag.
- On-site installation guidance from our licensed solar contractor (8 total hours maximum during up to two visits during construction). Tailored guidance based on your skills and needs.
- Reasonable phone support for questions that arise during installation.
- Recommendation for licensed electrical contractor to complete AC wiring and interconnection.
- Recommendation for licensed roofer if needed.
- On-site inspection of system prior to building department final inspection by a licensed solar contractor with specific recommendations for remedial action if necessary. Includes our presence during initial system start-up if desired.
- Expert assistance resolving any deficiencies noted by building inspectors.
- Personal assistance with setting up online monitoring system.
- Installation labor (Do-It-Yourself!)
- Wire and conduit from roof mounted junction box to interconnection point. ($100-$400)
- Fusible AC Disconnect and fuses if using supply-side interconnection or circuit breaker(s) if using load-side interconnection. ($20-$200)
- Roof flashing(s)/boot(s) for conduit roof pass-through (if necessary). ($50-$100)
- Cost of permit (paid directly to building department). ($150-$400)
- Cost of electrical subcontractor (highly recommended and required in some jurisdictions). ($500-$1,500)
- Cost of roofing subcontractor (highly recommended for tile roof installations).* ($0-$3,000)
* Note: Guidance and consultation will not be provided by Florida Solar Design Group to homeowners for DIY installation of mounting stand-offs on tile roofs. We strongly caution you against trying this yourself.