diy solar system for home
Now that we can all just search the internet for wholesale solar panel prices, there is an understandable temptation to think that we could save big on our dream solar installation, if we could just do it as a cheap solar DIY (Do it Yourself) project.
Intuitively it makes sense that DIY solar panels would be cheaper. We already know that DIY is a cheaper way to do many other projects around the house from tiling a floor to building a deck. So it is tempting to go down this same path with solar when you decide to go solar.
Many sites offer whole solar panel kits nowadays, with what looks like good quality racking and inverters to round out a purchase of solar panels at $2 a Watt and under. That could mean saving $10, 000 on a 5 kW solar system if an installer in your area charges $4 a watt to install.
Buying diy solar panels at Home Depot – not really DIY
You can also pick up a solar system at Home Depot, but they actually do offer an installation service as part of the deal, similar to if you buy a kitchen at IKEA, so it is more of a marketing difference.
You might imagine that you just pick up your panels at the store and then pop them up yourself, but what might look like buying panels at Home Depot is actually just like contacting any other solar installer to do the job. That is because Home Depot’s solar is not actually DIY, but more just giving a solar installation company and in-store consumer friendly interface.
You can talk to an expert in the store, and order your installation. Just like if you order blinds from Home Depot and expect that someone will come to your home and measure. Home Depot has simply expanded those sorts of familiar custom home decorating services to solar. From a marketing point of view, this makes sense as familiarity does reduce customers fear of the unknown.
If you are like many people, when you walk into a store and ask to speak to the solar salesperson, you feel you have charge of the situation.
What if I buy DIY solar panels and hire an installer?
But another way to go semi-DIY that could make sense from a cost-cutting POV would be to buy the panels at wholesale yourself – and then hire an experienced installer to handle the permitting and installation. With the fast dropping prices of even reputable panels, this is an option that many will find tempting. You are going to be smart and pay a licensed contractor to install them.