Solar panels are normally purchased and installed by solar companies that are certified to deal with and install items from leading manufacturers. The installation is then planned and carried out by these solar specialists.
However, if you’re qualified to do your own solar installation, you can buy solar panels and solar panel kits directly from distributors. When deciding where to buy your panels, keep the following factors in mind.
Choosing an Installer
The great majority of solar panel installations are done by certified solar energy providers. When it comes to selecting a professional solar firm, you have the option of employing a local or national organization.
A local solar installer can usually provide you with more customized service, lower pricing, and a better understanding of local solar incentives and legislation. On the other hand, nationwide installers frequently have access to a wider selection of solar equipment, such as the industry’s most efficient solar panels and greatest solar batteries.
This might provide you with extra alternatives for maximizing your system’s power production and endurance.
There isn’t really a right or wrong answer here, and it’s possible that consulting with two or three installers in your area before making a decision is the best strategy.
DIY Solar Panel Installation
You can save money on labor by installing your own solar panels, and you’ll have more control over the final layout of your home solar system. However, keep in mind that do-it-yourself solar projects might have substantial drawbacks.
For starters, it’s a difficult, technical job that necessitates electrical expertise and a complete understanding of how solar works. Installing solar panels if you’re not skilled or experienced with electricity poses a risk to your safety as well as the structural integrity of your roof and electrical system.
Furthermore, choosing DIY solar panels means foregoing the services of qualified solar designers who can assist you in designing the most energy-generating and cost-effective system. If you decide to buy solar panels and install them yourself, you can do so from the following sources:
Is it possible for me to purchase solar panels and install them myself?
If you’re interested in solar energy, you’re probably aware that it’s beneficial to the environment, national security, and the air we breathe, not to mention your utility cost. And that it’s one of the most effective strategies to lower your household’s carbon footprint. You’ve undoubtedly also heard that adopting solar is less expensive than paying for utility power, and you might be wondering if this is true. In most circumstances, this is correct. It only takes a short period of time for the additional savings to exceed the initial investment (after that, the solar power is free). You can reach this tipping point far faster if you install the solar system yourself in certain situations, in half the time.
That leads to the next big question: Can you truly put your own solar panels up? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yeah, yes You can install your own solar system if you can drive lag bolts and assemble prefabricated parts, and if you’re ready to spend a day or two on your roof (or not, if you’re mounting your panels on the ground). You don’t need to know how to connect the solar panels to your home’s power or the power grid. For the house hookup, you’ll hire an electrician, and the utility provider will take care of the rest, generally for free. The utility provider isn’t involved at all in an entirely off-grid setup.
Unfortunately, because all you need is a nice drill, this job isn’t even a good excuse to buy new power equipment.
So, why do most people hire professional installers if this is such a simple project? To begin with, many people have good reasons to hire out almost everything, from oil maintenance to grocery shopping. (This is unlikely to be you, but even if it is, our book can assist you in planning a solar installation and locating a reputable local contractor.) More than only the installation is handled by solar professionals. They design the system, apply for rebates and credits, place orders for all necessary parts, secure permissions, and pass all inspections. However, if you have a competent consultant and are prepared to obey the laws of the local building authority (where you’ll receive those permits), you can accomplish all of these things yourself.
Solar installations are becoming increasingly simple, and you may be surprised by the amount of do-it-yourself (DIY) assistance available. PVWatts and the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency are two good examples (DSIRE). PVWatts is an online calculator that may help you size a solar-electric system depending on your home’s location and orientation, as well as the angle of your roof. The same easy tool is used by solar professionals, but it is available to everyone for free. DSIRE maintains an up-to-date, complete list of renewable energy rebates, tax breaks, and other financial incentives available in every part of the country. It’s also completely free and simple to use.
Those two tools alone can assist homeowners answer the two most typical questions they have regarding solar power: How big of a system do I need? and What kind of system do I need? What will it cost, and how much will it cost? Solar equipment providers that specialize to DIYers and provide purchasing and technical help, as well as online groups like Build It Solar, are further alternatives. There’s also no law prohibiting homeowners from hiring a solar specialist to assist them with specific areas of their project, such as developing design requirements, selecting equipment, or filing permit applications.
We should also state up front that taking corners while installing solar panels is not a good idea. We don’t want you to install your system without first getting a permit and then hiring an electrician to finish the job. (Even experienced solar installers enlist the help of electricians.) Yes, the permission procedure is inconvenient, but it is in place to ensure that your system is safe, not just for you, but also for emergency responders who may need to operate around your little power plant. Working with the local building department also teaches you about important design considerations unique to your area, such as wind and snow loads.
How much does it cost to buy a solar panel?
Solar panels cost around $16,000 on average, ranging from $3,500 to $35,000 depending on the type and model. While solar panels can help you save money on energy bills, you need be aware of the whole beginning expenses so you can plan a budget.
What is the most efficient way to buy solar panels?
The best option is to purchase your solar electric system outright. It typically costs $15,000 to $20,000 after tax incentives, and depending on the size and orientation of your roof as well as local restrictions, it can lower your electricity bill by 70 to 100 percent. In five to seven years, most systems pay for themselves.
If you need to finance your solar panel purchase, a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit is the most cost-effective option. These choices have low interest rates because your home serves as collateral (currently about 3 to 5 percent). You can deduct the interest you pay on your taxes. The term of most equity loans is 5 to 20 years, with set interest rates. Equity lines have a ten-year term and variable interest rates (so the interest may increase).
There are two types of solar loans: unsecured and secured. Your home isn’t used as collateral for an unsecured loan, and the interest isn’t tax deductible. Many solar providers cooperate with solar loan lenders, but you’ll usually get better rates if you check with banks and credit unions directly. Be wary of excessive origination fees. When consumers buy a new home or refinance, Fannie Mae also offers solar system financing through its HomeStyle Energy Mortgage Program.
How can I acquire cheap solar panels?
Frequently Asked Questions about Low-Cost Solar Panels
- Solar panels made of polycrystalline crystals are less expensive (and of inferior quality) than monocrystalline panels.
- Purchasing solar panels in bulk from a distributor is the most cost-effective option.
Why are solar panels a waste of money?
Because solar panels cannot store electricity, their production will be reduced in overcast conditions and will be nil at night. As a result, most home solar systems necessitate the usage of a solar battery. When evaluating if solar panels are worth it for you, keep this additional expense in mind.
To power a home, how many solar panels are required?
If you’re thinking about going solar for your home, you’ll want to figure out how many solar panels you’ll need to suit your household’s energy needs. It depends on the size and quality of the system you choose to install, but the average New Zealand household will require 10-15 solar panels to power their home.
If you’re thinking about going solar for your home, you’ll want to figure out how many solar panels you’ll need to suit your household’s energy needs. It depends on the size and quality of the system you choose to install, but the average New Zealand household will require 15-20 solar panels to power their home.
When we talk about the capacity of a solar system, we’re talking about the kW rating, which is the highest amount of energy the system can produce at its peak output. This would typically be a system with a maximum output of 5kW for households, and systems with a maximum output of 6kW or more for commercial operations.
A 2kW solar panel system typically consists of 6-8 solar panels (depending on panel quality) and has a surface area of 10-15m2. A 3kW system typically consists of 8-12 solar panels and covers a surface area of 15-20m2. Because a 5kW system typically consists of 15-20 panels, the total rooftop space required for a 5kW system is between 25 and 35m2. A 10kW system typically requires 30-40 solar panels, which equates to 55-70m2 of floor space. Because modern, high-quality panels are more efficient, you’ll need less to power a home.
Your system’s capacity should closely match your electricity usage in order to get the most out of it. In New Zealand, the buy-back rates from exporting your extra energy to the electrical grid are not high enough to completely offset the expense of investing in a system that is considerably larger than you require.
To power appliances, electric vehicles, or spa pools, how many solar panels are required?
You may wish to consider your future energy needs while establishing a solar power system.
If you intend on installing a second refrigerator or purchasing an electric car in the near future, you may wish to increase the capacity of your system. Here are some common products and how much solar energy they consume on a yearly basis.
Our solar energy experts can examine your needs during a free at-home consultation to ensure you get the most out of your system. To estimate how many solar panels are ideal for your home, we take into account your present and projected energy use, as well as the times of day you consume it, the size of your roof, and your budget. Get in touch with us today to begin your solar energy journey!
When it comes to solar panels, how long do they last?
Photovoltaic (PV) panels, commonly known as solar panels, are designed to last for more than 25 years. Many solar panels that were placed as early as the 1980s are still operating at full power. 1 Solar panels are not only incredibly dependable, but their lifespan has risen substantially in the previous 20 years. 2 Many solar manufacturers back their equipment with performance guarantees in their warranties, in addition to decades of successful performance. 1
Keep in mind that just because your solar panels are predicted to last a couple of decades doesn’t imply they’ll stop producing electricity. It simply implies that their energy production will be reduced by the amount that solar panel manufacturers believe is necessary to meet the energy needs of the ordinary American family.
The cost of purchasing a solar system is relatively expensive at first. Solar panels, inverters, batteries, wiring, and installation are all included in this cost. Nonetheless, because solar technology is continually improving, it’s realistic to predict that prices will continue to fall in the future.
Although solar energy can be collected during overcast and rainy days, the solar system’s efficiency is reduced. Solar panels must be exposed to sunlight in order to collect solar energy. As a result, a couple of overcast, rainy days can have a significant impact on the energy system. It’s also important to remember that solar energy cannot be collected at night.
Thermodynamic panels, on the other hand, are an option to consider if you need your water heating solution to work at night or during the winter.
Check out our video for a breakdown of how effective solar panels are in the winter:
How long do solar panels take to pay for themselves?
- Solar panels pay for themselves over time by lowering your utility bill and, in certain cases, earning you money through continuous incentive payments.
- In the United States, the payback time for solar panels ranges from 5 to 15 years, depending on where you live.
- The amount you paid, the price of electricity from your provider, and potential upfront and ongoing incentives all influence how quickly your solar panels pay for themselves.
How many solar panels are required to power an off-grid home?
Let’s pretend we have some 300 watt solar panels and you’re looking for a way to power your home. Because you don’t have access to the grid, off-grid solar is your best alternative for meeting your energy needs.
Assume that each panel on your rooftop receives about 8 hours of sunlight per day. A 300 watt panel exposed to the sun for 8 hours each day will create around 2.5 kilowatt-hours per day. We can acquire a solar output of roughly 900 kilowatt-hours per year if we multiply this by 365 days per year. In a nutshell, each solar panel will generate 900 kilowatt-hours each year.
How much electricity does your house consume? According to most estimates, a typical American home (2,000 square feet) uses about 11,000 kilowatt-hours each year. When we divide our entire consumption by the estimated production of one solar panel, we discover that around thirteen solar panels of this size would be sufficient to power a home of this size. Your energy consumption will be substantially lower if you have a smaller home or are running an RV, and you’ll need fewer panels.