DIY Solar Installation: The Pros and Cons

So you’re thinking about going solar. Excellent!

Going solar is a rare opportunity for homeowners to benefit economically from an investment that also contributes to protecting our environment. Between the 26% federal tax credit for solar equipment placed into service in 2022 and a reliable return on investment, it looks strong financially. One of the most common questions we get from customers is how they can lower their upfront costs. If you’re looking to do the same, we can help.

One way to do it is to purchase your solar equipment through an online marketplace rather than an installer. Cost may not be the only factor in your solar journey, so we have put together a list of pros and cons to help you decide whether to use an installer or DIY it.

Pros of DIY Solar Installation

1. Skipping the installer saves you money

If cost is the most critical factor to you, we have found that our customers save 25%- 40% of what they would pay when going through a solar installer by purchasing from us. Why? Like any business owner, installers need to make a profit! They are buying their solar equipment from suppliers and marking it up as part of your installation package. You eliminate that markup by purchasing your equipment directly from a supplier like us.

2. You can choose your own equipment

Installers typically have exclusive relationships with a limited amount of manufacturers, so they may be limited to a handful of options when it comes to equipment. As a marketplace for all things solar, Sunhub carries 40 different lines, which gives you more flexibility when you design your solar system with us. If you believe that one of those manufacturers is a better fit for your home, you can consult with one of our specialists to confirm. Considering that a solar system is a long-term investment and a part of your home, you deserve to get the solar equipment you want!

3. You handle the installation

Are you a DIYer? Do you find light construction projects to be rewarding and enjoyable? Do you love it when a plan comes together? If you’ve flipped houses and feel right at home on top of your roof, installing a solar system may be something you can do in your sleep. Well, not literally! We can’t have you dozing off and tumbling onto the ground. If you or a friend or two are proficient with power tools and electrical work, a solar installation is a rewarding long-term project that may be a good fit for you. If you complete a DIY solar install, please send us pictures of your before and after so that we can share your hard work with the world!

Cons of DIY Solar Installation:

1. You take on the risk

If you or a good friend aren’t a DIY’er, you should keep in mind that you take on some risks by climbing up on your roof for a solar installation. Risks include:

  • a fall from height
  • roof leaks if panels are attached incorrectly
  • fire hazards
  • you may void the roof and equipment warranties

Before bypassing an installer, it makes sense to do some risk-reward analysis.

2. You handle permitting

If you elect not to go with an installer, you will be required to handle permitting for your solar installation project. If you’re a DIYer, you’ll be familiar with this process. Here is where DIY becomes less installation-only and more end-to-end project management. You will need to assess your building, determine all necessary permissions and pull permits. If you have experience or do the proper research, you should not run into issues here. However, slip-ups at this stage can unnecessarily delay your solar installation project or result in code violations.

3. The project is time and labor-intensive

You will need to draw up a solar installation plan in advance, and you will need help. It’s a time- intensive project that will require some heavy-lifting, problem-solving, and patience. Not every roof or home electrical system is the same, and you’ll have to account for weather and plan around your personal life.

So what’s right for you?

It’s a personal decision!

You have the basic qualifications to install a solar system if:

  • you are knowledgeable about light construction and electric
  • you are comfortable with power tools
  • you have a couple of reliable friends who can help

Then it’s a matter of pulling permits, planning out your project, and getting started.

If upfront savings and managing your solar install end to end sounds exciting, we can help you decide if a DIY solar install makes sense!

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