Why Not Just Install Solar Panels Myself
Updated: Apr 13
California's soaring energy costs have prompted residents to seek cheaper alternatives, such as solar power. EnergySage is reporting that the state's average annual electricity bill of $2,500. That is significantly higher than the national average of $2,324 due to the state's electric rates of approximately .30 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). California energy rates have historically increased by 7% per annum over the past 30 years.
But before attempting a DIY solar panel installation in California, weighing the pros and cons is critical. This article can assist you in assessing whether it is a suitable option for your specific circumstances or if it would be best to consider the services of a professional licensed Solar Contractor.
Going Green and Saving Green: Pros of Installing Solar Panels Yourself
One major advantage of a DIY solar installation is the potential to save on costs. Since you are doing the work yourself, you can avoid paying for the labor costs of hiring a professional PV installer. DIY can result in significant savings, which is particularly beneficial for homeowners with a limited budget.
Flexibility, Control, and Customization
Take charge of your energy independence! DIY solar panel installation lets you control every aspect of the project, from PV module selection (Mono or Poly) to installation location, angle, and electrical connections. It's a great option for those wanting to take a hands-on approach to home improvements.
Sense of accomplishment
A certain sense of satisfaction comes from completing a DIY project. By installing solar panels yourself, you can take pride in the fact that you can accomplish this task on your own.
Assessing the Perils of Installing PV Panels Without a Professional
Lack of expertise and knowledge
Unless you have experience in electrical wiring and structural engineering, you may not have the knowledge to install solar panels correctly. For instance, if you don't understand the proper weight distribution of the panels, you could put too much stress on your roof and cause it to collapse.
Installing solar panels requires working at heights, which can be dangerous.
Risk of falls and serious injuries due to lack of safety equipment (harness and safety line).
Handling electrical components without proper knowledge and training can lead to electric shock or electrical fires.
Improperly secured PV modules can pose a hazard in high winds or storms.
Potential for errors and damage
DIY Solar isn't free from errors!
If you don't properly seal the roof penetrations for the wiring and mounting hardware, water could seep into your roof and cause rot or mold. Additionally, if you don't properly ground the panels, you could risk electrical damage to your home or your solar panels.
No warranties or guarantees
Solar panel manufacturers typically offer warranties and guarantees for their products, but these warranties may not apply if you install the panels yourself. For example, if you accidentally damage a panel during installation, you may not be able to get it replaced under warranty.
The Challenge of Obtaining City Permits
Getting city permits for solar panel installations in California can be challenging since the process varies among cities. Some cities, like San Francisco and San Diego, have simpler procedures, but others may have more intricate and time-consuming application processes.
Potential roadblocks to permitting:
Building codes and local regulations
High permit costs/Self-submission of forms
Backlog of applications
Limited availability for city staff to review applications.
California Automated Permit Processing Program (CalAPP)
The California Energy Commission has introduced CalAPP, a grant program to help cities and counties automate solar energy permitting. The program offers $20 million in funding and is non-competitive.
To apply, follow these two easy steps:
Visit the city's permit center to start the automated permitting process.
The Role of a Solar Developer in Speeding up Permits and Approvals
Homeowners may face roadblocks in the utility interconnection process due to a lack of knowledge or experience; this is where a solar contractor can help expedite the process.
A solar contractor typically has experience navigating the interconnection process with the utility company and can help ensure all necessary documents and permits are submitted accurately and on time. They also have established relationships with utility companies, which can help speed up the approval process.
Don't compromise your safety just to save a few bucks. Trust the experts when it comes to installing solar panels in your home.
So, why risk it? Hire a professional and enjoy the benefits of long-term energy efficiency and sustainability.
Contact Planet Solar today to receive a complimentary analysis and proposal for solar energy for your home in the greater Coachella Valley or Fresno areas.