I get this question a lot, can you install your own solar panels? In this post, I am going to answer this question and give you my opinion if you should or should not install your own solar panels.
Can You Install Your Own Solar Panels?
Yes, you can install your own solar panels. But to be honest with you, I will not recommend it to most people. Even if you are an electrician but you are not a certified solar panel installer.
The de decision will depend on the rules of the local building authority (most likely your city, county, township, or state) or your utility provider.
Is installing your own solar panels illegal?
No, installing your own solar panels is not illegal, but you will need to get permission from local authorities, your utility company (to connect to their network), and the homeowners association, to make sure that your installation meet established standards.
If you are living in a historical location probably you will need to check if you can do that (there are places where you can never install solar panels).
They do this because they need to preserve the historical value of that location. Some states and countries will make you take a test to make sure that you have the right knowledge to install your own solar panels.
6 steps to install your own solar panels
After all those warnings and if you still want to install your own solar panels, here are these 6 steps you need to follow.
Step 1: Verify if your roof can support solar panels
Not all roofs are made equal, and you can not install solar panels in any of them, make sure your roof is ideal for solar panels.
Asphalt is the most common type of shingle used on housing and is also the best roof for solar panels.
If you have a metal roof with standing seams, it’s a perfect candidate for solar panel installation.
If you are not going to install solar panels on the roof, then you can skip this step and go to the next one.
Step 2: Get the required permissions
Now you know that your roof can support solar panels, you need to seek permission from local authorities, these can be the tourist zone department, historical district standards, or your homeowner’s association.
Step 3: Check for amateur installation requirements
If you are not a professional solar installer, Some authorities require nonprofessionals to pass tests demonstrating basic knowledge of electrical and other household systems, but such tests may not be extensive.
Step 4: Prepare yourself for some real work
Installing solar panels is not an easy task, it might take several hours and maybe you might need someone to assist you.
So, the question to ask yourself here is, are you ok with several hours of physical rooftop work? If the answer is no, hire someone.
Step 5: Find someone to commission your system
Before enabling your solar panel system, someone needs to check it everything was installed due to regulations and to make it transparent it needs to be a third party.
So, you will need to hire an independent company or person to perform the tests on your solar system and then sign off, this will demonstrate to the authorities and your utility company that your system is ready.
Step 6: Get your PTO
Now after a great job installing solar panels, and after the tedious inspections, your solar panel system is ready.
Now you need to get your permission to operate (PTO) letter from the utility company, turn on your solar panel system and enjoy free energy for the next 30 years.
Do I need to tell my electricity supplier I have solar panels?
Yes, if you have solar panels you need to tell your electricity supplier, also you need to ask them for permission to connect to their grid.
5 reasons why I do not recommend installing your own solar panels
Installing solar panels on your own can save you a lot of money, but for most people, I would still not recommend it, here are my 5 reasons why I would not recommend installing your own solar panels.
It is hard to get permission
Getting permission is one of the most difficult steps of solar panel installations. Most governments official all not honest and there is a lot of bureaucracy in obtaining those permissions, in my experience, just this step can take between 1 to 3 months, you will have to pay them 3 to 6 visits to get those permissions and it can be very fluctuating.
You might need to hire an architecture
You will need to design the support structure where you will put your solar panels, this is not that difficult but if you do not have experience, it can be a complex task, and you might end up hiring someone like a structural engineer or architecture you help you with the design.
You might need to hire an electrician
Before installing your solar panels, you will need to calculate how many of them you need, this can be done in a very easy way, but there are some electrical calculations and wiring that will need someone who is an electrician if you are not one you might end up hiring one.
You need to follow a local building code
Most states have their own local fire and building codes, these are codes that every homeowner must follow in order to ensure the security and protection of human and material belongings.
If you do not know them, you will need to take a course on them and present yourself for an exam and pass it, this can be a big hurdle for most people.
It can be very dangerous
As they say, electricity is a very good servant but a cruel master. You need to be very careful when it comes to solar panel installations.
Solar panel systems are inherently dangerous and potentially deadly. If you are going to install your own solar panels, you must understand, respect, and mitigate the risks involved with all installation and maintenance tasks.
Pay special attention to safety warnings as well as all requirements in the local building and electrical codes and equipment instruction manuals.
That is it, in this post we answered the question can you install your own solar panels? and the answer is yes, you can install your own solar panels.
Also, I shared my 5 reasons why I do not recommend installing your own solar panels, also we went through 6 steps to install your own solar panels, thank you for reading.