The do it yourself community has many tutorials and instruction on how to make solar panels by yourself. The process seems easy and the components are available online, but is it feasible for your home?
Here is everything you need to know before you start a do it yourself solar project.
KEEP IT SMALL
Small solar projects are great for all ages and can teach you a lot about how solar panels function. Solar kits are available online and range from simple children’s play sets to large scale kits. Solar panel kits are available for large scale projects and can be purchased in bulk, but large-scale projects come with issues.
The problem with do it yourself solar is due to the many components that either do not have a warranty or which have strict warranty rules. Some warranties may be voided if a solar panel installation is not done by a licensed professional and other warranties do not cover the scope of most issues.
A solar panel business will be able to consult you on the various solar panels on the market and the warranties that come with the systems. At CAM Solar we have years of experience in the solar industry and know which companies offer the best solar panel warranties for the price.
If you are purchasing a do it yourself kit, be sure to check what the warranties cover the following:
RAPID EFFICIENCY LOSS
All solar cells have a loss in efficiency after a period of time. Some solar cells may have factory defects that cause the solar cell to lose efficiency at a more rapid rate. Look for a solar provider that will validate warranties for efficiency loss. You will also need to find a solar provider that offers protection for a long period of time. 5-year warranty plans may be great to cover some initial issues that may arise in your system, but it may not cover the rapid efficiency loss.
Look for plans that are 15 or 25 years long which will give your solar panels enough time to test and ensure that they are performing accurately. Rapid efficiency loss can be tested by monitoring the output of your solar panels and comparing it to the expected output that your solar panel manufacturer provided with you.
It is important to find a solar panel manufacturer that offers coverage of factory defects. Issues like cracked silicon cells or improper internal wiring can greatly decrease the efficiency of your solar cells. Factory defects are often covered in solar panel warranties, but some companies do not include this in their wholesale prices. Find a company that assures to replace panels with factory defects before you purchase.
Storm damage like hail and wind is sometimes covered in your solar panel warranty. Depending on where you live and how common severe weather is, you may want to consider finding a solar panel provider that covers hail damage. All solar panels on the market are required to withstand an impact from a one-inch piece of hail traveling at 50 miles per hour without any damage.
DIY SOLAR INSTALLATION
Installing a solar panel system can be easy if it is for a small project, but larger roof-mounted systems or solar tracking solar panels require a lot of planning and permitting. Solar panel installers will be able to complete the project quickly and will be able to fix any mistakes or issues that come up. When it comes to larger solar panel systems you will need to ensure that the wiring is done correct and that the system is safely installed into your home’s circuit.
Depending on the specific zoning laws and regulation in your state, you will need to obtain the proper permits before you install a solar panel system. If you do not get the correct permits you could be fined and asked to remove the system. Having the proper permits to install a system is important and you will need to have a design to submit to the permitting office.
A design will include what work you intend to do and the scope of the solar panel system. You will need to include what the output of the system is, and how it will be integrated into your home. An inspection will also need to be held after you are finished installing the solar panel system. The inspection will check the safety of the install and whether everything is up to code.
A solar panel installer like CAM Solar will be able to handle all of the permitting, zoning and installing for you to ensure that everything is up to code. The installation process is streamlined when you use a licensed solar panel installer, and will make the whole project easier.