To do or not to do…to vaguely reference a famous poet who touched on so many deep, human questions. And speaking of deep questions, you’ve probably been brewing over whether you should install solar panels yourself or to use a professional.
Both are possible, and could be good choices depending on your personal experience, knowledge, and budget.
Here are a few things to consider before you make your final decision on how you’re going solar.
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DIY—I Have The Know Hows
DIY solar can save you money and fit a tighter budget for going solar.
You can buy a solar kit and then install those panels yourself. Of course, while this will save you the most money, it also requires a lot of knowledge, research, and work in electrical, roofing, and solar and sometimes even plumbing. You can usually buy quality solar equipment for somewhere around $2/watt instead of $4/watt, which is the usual cost of solar panels installed by professionals. In addition, you can save money with state and federal tax incentives (you can save around 30% with the Solar Investment Tax Credit—ITC).
You can purchase the solar kit, and then contract with a professional to do the actual installation. This can also save you some money. However, most of your savings on buying your own panels will go to the professionals you hire. They will charge more, as they won’t be making money off your equipment. And you should consider the cost of an electrician (around $3-5,000 on a solar panel system) which also takes some of the savings away from buying your own panels.
So really, after you consider the solar tax credit, you’re only going to be saving around $2-4,500 on a DIY solar project.
It’s up to you. Going DIY could be a great thing if you really know everything that goes into it. And if you’re a professional yourself.
You’d have to weigh out if a few thousand in savings is worth not having a warranty, not knowing if things are done completely right, not being able to rely on a company when things go wrong, and of course potentially damaging your expensive equipment during installation.
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Professional—I Want To Save Time And Money
If you don’t have the qualifications to DIY solar, you’re probably leaning towards hiring professionals. This is a great course of action if you don’t have knowledge or experience with solar (including electric, roofing, and even plumbing).
The perks of hiring a professional are pretty obvious.
First of all, you have a company backing you up and giving you a warranty on their parts and labor. If something goes wrong in the installation or if they damage equipment, it’s on them and their dime.
Second, they have all the permits ready and know how to meet the state and federal regulations for solar.
Third, they know of all the tax incentives and rebates and can help you save money on your solar system.
Fourth, they already have subcontractors, like an electrician or plumber, included in your installation costs.
Fifth, they have all the experience and knowledge and can probably get your system up in a day.
Going with a solar professional can save you a lot in time, and maybe even money if things go wrong in your installation, or if your system doesn’t last as long as it should. Having that warranty on parts and labor, and a professional ready for your call if your panels have issues, might be worth the extra cost to you.
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