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Professional Solar Panels vs DIY?

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Jun 10, 2013, 05:10 PM
Professional Solar Panels vs DIY?
Determine if a DIY Solar Panel is Right for You in 3 Steps!
Eco-friendly is the new trend. Cities are incorporating Earth Day into their local festivities and continue to encourage people to recycle on daily basis. Consumers are buying products that are safer for the environment and their family. If you've ever thought of upgrading your home to become more energy efficient, consider installing solar panels. By having solar panels on your roof or in close proximity to your home you can decrease greenhouse gases, save energy and generate a significant amount of electricity.

Before you permanently wreck your bank account, consider a “do it yourself” solar panel. Wash away the preconceived notion of the project being too difficult to construct. With these 3 steps you can make your own conclusion to purchase a professional solar panel or make your own.

Step 1. Research & Calculate
First, conduct the proper research and discover all the federal incentives, rebates and grants that are offered within your city. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency allows for you to identify the incentives and groups to contact within your state. Visit for more information.

Next, break out the pen and paper! Calculate the cost of a professional solar panel by adding the price of the store bought product plus the installation fee, minus the federal grants. A quick google search will indicate that a solar panel kit can cost up to $2,000. According to, a commercialized solar panel can take up to 15 years to receive a return on the expensive investment. The site also provides directions on how you can calculate the exact financial benefit and the time it takes to receive it by including your own factors in the equation.

The preceding step simply involves listing each of the supplies for the DIY project and adding them together. For example, you can purchase chipped and used solar cells from sites like eBay for around $10 to $15. Don’t become discouraged; chipped panels still produce a similar amount of voltage, guaranteed to make a huge difference in the overall energy output compared to new cells. Then appraise the amount of savings generated from the voltage.

Once that number for the price of your homemade solar panel is calculated, compare that price to the finalized amount for professional solar panel.

Step 2. Permits
Often, building codes have certain standards that must be followed to insure safety for your family and neighbors. In certain cases, residences may need a permit to install solar panels.

If you decide on making your own, contact your local power company to determine exactly how you will hook up of the finished product. They often have some restrictions that you will need to become aware of before venturing out and hooking up to the wrong power line.

Step 3: Preparation
Now that you know the residential standards concerning your installation, you must determine the appropriate sized panels for your home. Keep in mind if you choose to make a large panel for the extra voltage, the weight of the panel will become a factor. Many residential homes may not have a roof equipped to handle the increased weight. Smaller cells will produce less power, but you will be able handle them more easily.

After these three steps have been covered, your solar panel decision should be apparent. Either choice will result in a safer environment. Stay tuned for an in depth blog explaining step by step how to construct a solar panel.

Be sure to comment if you've bought or made solar panels!

This message has been edited. Last edited by: JohnV_EP,