If you’re finally about to go solar, you might be looking at the different costs of having an installer coming in to put the panels up and of doing it yourself. You could cut your costs by up to $3,000 by installing your own array, which seems like a brilliant saving, but is it actually worth the effort and – possibly – the risks?
The advantages of DIY solar panels
The biggest advantage of doing your own installation is the cost saving. The average price of a 7kW solar system in Brisbane is $6,760, but the installation costs alone can bump this up to nearer $10,000. What’s more, during peak seasons, these costs may be even higher as companies can end up essentially working overtime to get everything done.
Panels may be cheaper, but people aren’t
While the cost of the equipment may have fallen in recent years, the expertise of the installers is still worth the same – if not more, with recent advances in battery tech and so on – and so it must be factored into the overall calculations.
The other advantage of doing it yourself is that the reduced costs mean a shorter payback time for your initial investment.
You have more flexibility
If you do have the electrical know-how to do your own installation then this can work out really well for smaller, off-grid installations, such as on a barn, outhouse or an RV. In these circumstances, the savings ratio of doing it yourself is much higher than it would be for a 5kW-plus installation on a house.
The disadvantages of installing your own solar panels
Installing a solar array is a very intricate job and not one to be undertaken by anyone without electrical experience. If you do have this experience, then proceed with caution. There are lots of things that can go wrong with a solar installation and remember, it’s meant to be in place for 25 years or more, so it needs to be done right.
You’ll need to spend quite a bit of time researching and preparing to make the installation and this effort and time could outweigh the savings, especially if you already have a busy life.
By doing the installation yourself you may well have no recourse if anything goes wrong with the array down the line. In addition to this, not having a licensed installer do the job could void any warranties that you may have had otherwise. There are still manufacturer’s warranties, of course, but you may not be able to prove it’s a manufacturing fault by yourself.
It can be dangerous
Above all, installing your own solar panels is potentially dangerous, especially if you’re not used to working at heights or with electricity. You might find that buying or hiring the necessary safety equipment eats into the savings you’re making and so ultimately, DIY isn’t worth it.
A stitch in time…
It’s also possible that if you do make a mistake in the installation, there could be a malfunction or a fire. Your panels will be there for a long time, so any tiny problem has a long time in which to become a bigger issue.
You may need to have the installation performed by a licensed team in order to claim or collect rebates or incentives.