Home Solar System – Do It Yourself Or Outsource?

Have you ever thought of using a renewable energy source such as solar power for your home? When I did my personal financial planning, I realized that my largest monthly household expense is the power utility bill.

It used to be the bank mortgage on the house. Since I have paid off the housing loan, the next biggest expense is the electricity bill.

Is it the same for your household?

There has been a lot of write ups mentioning the benefits of a home solar power system. There is a chance we can reduce our monthly power consumption by drawing energy from a solar system.

Now I have been thinking. There are generally 2 approaches we can take if we want to install a solar array on our roof.

We can build it on our own via a Do It Yourself (DIY) approach or we can engage a professional solar contractor.

I did more thinking and came up with 6 points on the subject.

1) Cost of the project

If we were to construct the solar array via DIY, obviously we will be able to save cost on the project.

If we use a contractor, we will be paying more because he will mark up all the parts and components. Not to mention the higher labor cost.

2) System problems

There are multiple components in a residential solar power system and each part has to work in conjunction with another part.

What happens when there is a problem or the system wouldn’t work?

If we did the project on our own, we have to fix it. If we outsourced it, the contractor will fix all the bugs in the system.

3) Safety risk

I don’t know about you, but I am not comfortable climbing on to the roof.

I have a height phobia.

Climbing on a ladder while carrying heavy solar modules and heavy tools strapped to my waist sounds like a very dangerous thing to do.

For a professional contractor, he may have a lot of experience climbing on to roofs and know how to keep himself safe.

I give safety issue a heavier weighting on the project.

4) Warranties and insurance

Some home solar kit has a clause on their system. If you are not qualified and install the system on your own, their warranty may not apply.

A similar issue with your home insurance. If there are damages or your house caught fire because of the homemade solar system, the insurance company might not cover you.

If we were to engage a contractor, at least they can get the system certified.

5) Tax incentives

Some tax incentives only apply when the home solar system is installed by a qualified and licensed contractor. If we were to build the system ourselves, we will be missing out on this portion.

6) District codes

Some districts have strict codes on home improvement projects. A DIY project may be against the law.

After going through the 6 points above, I realized it is a much better idea to engage a professional solar contractor to construct a residential solar system.

As a home owner, what should we do?

My guess is, we should at least get some basic knowledge on the science of a residential solar energy system.

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