Solar panels have increased drastically in popularity, as more people want to self-sustain their household with the electricity demands. As a result, many solar panel salesmen are now trying to sell these products to individuals. The businesses invest a lot of money into buying new equipment that will be used for generating or converting solar energy. There are actually many reasons for wanting to build your own solar panels. Some people have a DIY mind that loves the challenge, others just want to save money, and some people want to try it just because they can. If you take on this project yourself, you will find that building your own solar panels is a great learning experience, and much cheaper than buying pre-made ones.
Can I Build Solar Panels on my Own?
Yes, technically, you can build your own solar panels, or at least partially, depending on the craftsmanship of each person. Like any other project, building a solar panel system requires a lot knowledge and skills.
Installing your own solar panels is possible, but it is a time-consuming process that requires the unique electrical expertise of a professional.
Is It a Good Idea to Use DIY Solar Panels?
It’s unlikely that any solar panel system will generate enough electricity for all your energy demand all year so DIY kits are usually used as back-ups and for smaller applications. Plug-in Solar offers a number of suitable DIY solar kits that can be fitted alongside your usual electricity supply.
While they may be a good option for small projects, solar kits are often less cost-effective and harder to maintain than grid-tied systems.
Things to Consider If You Want to Use DIY Solar Panels
When installing solar panels on your own, it’s very important to consider the safety of not only yourself, but also of those around you. If you do not feel confident doing this part on your own, it is highly recommended to hire a certified electrician.
When determining the size of the solar system needed for your home, you need to take into consideration how much electricity your household uses on a daily basis. A larger household with more appliances and electronics will require a larger solar system to power everything plus run your hot water heater and pool pump.
Installing a grid-tie solar system is the first step in going green. A grid-tie system can easily be expanded, depending on your household’s needs. It’s recommended to have a licensed electrician or contractor do the final wiring hook-up.
Installing off-grid solar energy systems take a certain level of technical expertise. For your own safety, it is recommended that you hire a certified solar installer to install your system. In some areas, rebates and tax incentives can reduce the overall cost of purchasing and installing your solar system.
There are many challenges to building solar panels, such as the high cost of manufacturing. Currently, there isn’t a way to manufacture highly efficient solar cells in large quantities.
What Are The Downsides of DIY Solar Panels?
Although it sounds like an attractive prospect, there are many problems that arise if you choose to go ahead with DIY solar panels. A big downside is that you will not be eligible for the government incentives given for using solar power. Solar panels certified by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme are required for many energy companies. Licensed energy suppliers will only install MCS-certified panels as they offer the Smart Export Guarantee meaning that you can export your excess solar power and earn money with every unit of power sold! There’s never been a better time to make the switch to renewables.
The biggest risk with DIY solar panels is fire, which is caused by incorrect installation of the panels or using materials that are not appropriate. Many DIY tutorials will suggest that you solder panels together yourself, and even back them with wood. This is especially dangerous because the temperature of the panels can reach more than 250 degrees Fahrenheit, and poor wiring can actually blow up the inverter and cause a fire in your home.
Before investing in solar you should always consider if your roof is structurally able to hold panels. The biggest part of this is ensuring that your roof is structurally able to hold panels and if it will need strengthening. They’ll also be able to analyze your roof to see if a solar system would be effective and spot any issues, such as shading or obstructions.
Finding a designer for your solar panel installation is just as important as finding someone you can trust. Most importantly, MCS certified (or equivalent) installers have passed an official assessment to make sure they’ve got the right skills.
Installing a solar panel system yourself is an option and maybe less costly upfront than calling in a professional. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll get a high-quality product that will last for 20 – 30 years (which is covered by some warranties for professionally installed equipment). A cheap deal now could end up costing you more over the long run in repairs or breakdowns. DIY installations at home are likely to see a shorter life span and can be costly to replace without a warranty.