DIY Residential Solar
The big advantage of installing DIY solar panels is cost saving. Usually it is possible to purchase solar panel kits, using reasonable quality equipment for around $2.00 per watt. When this is compared to the average cost of solar panels installed by solar companies of around $4.00 per watt this can be a saving of $10, 000 on an average 5 kW residential solar power system.
However, you are going to have to pay a licensed contractor to install the system and much of this savings may go to them. Because most licensed and experienced solar electricians work for solar companies they will often charge quite a lot for installation because they perceive they have lost the ability to make any margin on equipment. This may change over time but currently this is a big factor in why it is very difficult to save much money from a DIY solar project.
A licensed electrician will most likely charge you $3-5, 000 to install your solar panels and so this would reduce you cost savings quite a bit.
So after installation we are probably down to a saving of $3, 000-$5, 000 by doing a DIY install of your solar panels for an average sized house. However, this is before the 30% solar tax credit comes into play.
The savings is reduced by the value of this credit (provided you pay federal income tax) and so net you are likely to save in the range of $2, 100 to $4, 500 by organizing installation of solar panels for your home yourself.
There is a lot that can go wrong with installing DIY solar panels (and it is not something I would do) but this is clearly the prize if you can do it all correctly.