You can still save money and use professional installer.
Posted on Tue, 05/17/2011 - 10:53 PM by Bryan Nisperos
viewed 15705 times
The age of the internet has also ushered in a new wave of DIY thinking. Where in the past, information was a precious resource, today you can learn how to do just about anything with a couple strategic Google searches. Just because you can learn how to do something, however, doesn't mean you should, and when it comes to installing a solar power system, or anything heavy you plan on putting on your roof, it's a good idea to always use the services of a professional installer.
An Electrician and a Carpenter
While the voltage coming off of the panels is fairly low and won't hurt any more than licking a 9v battery, solar power systems will tie to a power inverter (which turns the low volt DC into high voltage, 120v AC power) and then connect to either the electric grid or a series of batteries. Hooking it all up and running the wires can be a pretty complex job when you consider the fire and safety codes required whenever you are running power lines. It's something that you can do yourself, but if you're at all intimidated by swapping out a breaker in your electrical panel, then wiring a solar power system will be far outside your comfort zone.
Beyond the electrical wiring, installing solar panels means that you will be placing several heavy panels on top of your roof. Knowing how to properly install anything on your roof is a bit of an art form, and the hardest part is that you really only have one shot to do it right, because once you drill that first hole into your roof, there's no turning back. If you're considering a self-install, do plenty of research on the type of roof you have, it's max load capacity, and measure 3 or 4 times to make sure you're going into the right joist before you drill the first hole.
In addition to the technical expertise required to install a solar power system, you'll also need quite a few tools including ladders and a good power drill. If you're starting from scratch, buying all the required equipment will often cost more than a professional installation.
Lastly, don't be fooled by websites that offer easy DIY instructions. These sites are often (conveniently) the same people that are selling you the equipment and they benefit greatly from selling directly to the end user, rather than selling to the installer at wholesale prices. These DIY instructions will often gloss over some of the important details, leaving you with a faulty or potentially hazardous install.
You can still save money and use professional installer. Try to find an installer that will come install a system that you purchase yourself. This will allow you to get the best deal and do your own research so that you don't buy more than you need. Additionally, talk with your homeowner's insurance agent and your roof installer to make sure that if you do choose to DIY, you won't void your roof's warranty or jeopardize your insurance coverage.
SOLAR ENERGY ARTICLES