Since the prices of PV panels have been falling precipitously over the past few years, a bigger portion of the cost of going solar is “balance of system” costs (system components and installation). Some homeowners choose to find out how to make solar panels themselves.
Advantages of Building Your Own Solar Panels
Proponents of complete DIY solar panel systems cite the cost of buying PV panels and paying for installation as a primary motivation to do it yourself. If you do choose to build your own solar panels, you can save money on installation and parts.
Building solar panels can be a fun and fulfilling project and many people may have the requisite skills to competently build and install a full home solar system.
To be successful, we recommend purchasing video instructions from trained professionals to help guide your DIY project. We have heard good reviews of this video instructional guide to DIY solar panel construction and installation. We also like that this course provides a 60 day money back guarantee–this allows you to see if you’re up to the challenge with no risk. Viewing instructional videos is about the best way to get a sense of what’s involved in this DIY project. If it looks too demanding, just return the video lessons and get your money back.
Disadvantages of Building Your Own Solar Panels
Many websites sell DIY instructional guides that claim you need “little knowledge and only a few basic tools” to build and install a home solar panel system. But to build solar panels, you will need to do a lot of soldering and other delicate tasks, so the process is not as simple as it may sound.
If your system doesn’t work, you may have difficulty diagnosing the precise problem and knowing how to repair it. The individual parts may not have a warranty, so if you do not correctly set up your system from the start, you may end up spending more on replacements than if you bought a ready-made system.
Regarding cost, some say that taking the conventional route can cost up to $40,000, but such claims are simply inaccurate. Aside from the drop in cost of panels in the past few years, there are also now a variety of ways to pay for solar such as solar leasing.
Finally, if you are mounting the panels on your roof, be wary of the actual installation process: working on the roof can be dangerous.
Some firms like Westinghouse have developed “all-in-one” rooftop solar kits that include PV panels and all necessary components. Proponents claim that these systems take less time to install — so fewer labor hours mean lower installation costs. But as mentioned above, there are now many ways to pay for solar that avoids a high up-front payment.