The Complete Manual to DIY Solar System: Navigating the Pros & Cons

May 11, 2023

Environmental sustainability stands as one of the most popular discussion topics. Society is becoming more conscious of the importance of alternative energy and saving natural resources.

Companies that care about their image actively implement initiatives to reduce emissions and use renewable resources.

People, in general, have changed their views on the consumer approach: understand → restore → improve.

The IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2023 predicts a substantial global increase in the capacity of solar photovoltaic systems and storage batteries by 2030. Their benefits are enormous, and the NZE scenario forecasts a 30% reduction in energy emissions within the next seven years.

Solar panels for homes are gaining popularity — they not only serve as a source of clean energy but also represent a savvy investment. Forbes reports that an average American family without solar panels incurs an approximate monthly electricity cost of $125.

Thanks to the solar installation, homeowners can:

  • Reduce electricity costs (up to $1,500 per year)
  • Be independent of traditional sources of energy in their state
  • Generate income by selling excess energy

USA Facts statistics show that small-scale solar capacity (for instance, solar installations in homes, businesses, and non-community industrial facilities) increased by 20% in the United States in 2022 compared to the previous year.

The Complete Manual to DIY Solar System_ Navigating the Pros & Cons

Source: USA Facts

If you’re keen on both saving money and preserving natural resources, there are two avenues for setting up a solar kit:

  1. Contact a specialized company. This involves engaging a professional service for installation.
  • Install the solar power station yourself. While requiring a certain level of knowledge and skill, DIY installation is an option.

If you wonder how to make solar panels and install them, it is important to overview the advantages and disadvantages of this process.

Is DIY Solar Installation Worthwhile?

To begin with, the residential cost of solar panels in the United States varies between $10,290 to $20,580. But before embarking on this DIY solar installation journey, consider checking state laws, which often imply obtaining a permit from the municipal building office and, potentially, contacting your electric company.

However, the annual report from the EIA revealed an increase in the supply of photovoltaic modules, reaching a record 28.8 million kW in 2021.

The Complete Manual to DIY Solar System_ Navigating the Pros & Cons

Source: EIA

Stats show: No DIY skills? No problem. Order solar panels and save on installation. Here’s what you need for success and safety:

  • Check out building intricacies
  • Explore roof strength
  • Discover the process of connecting and configuring panels
  • Calculate the optimal orientation and tilt of panels for maximum solar energy collection
  • Carefully plan the budget
  • Be ready for potential risks, e.g., technical issues or unforeseen expenses
  • Train to work at heights

Although those suggestions might seem daunting, numerous Americans have successfully installed solar panels themselves. Mastering DIY skills demands practice and a genuine eagerness to learn. And success often stems from the combination of these factors.

Pros and Cons of Solar Panels

The Complete Manual to DIY Solar System_ Navigating the Pros & Cons

“Are solar panels worth it?” — a question that resonates with all homeowners seeking to make informed decisions. In a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2022, the most common motivations for Americans who decide to install solar panels are identified.

The Complete Manual to DIY Solar System_ Navigating the Pros & Cons

Source: Pew Research Center

Understanding the intended use of solar panels, whether as solar heating or the primary electricity source, is essential. This will help you determine the ideal size, setup of the panels, and requirements for additional equipment like inverters or batteries.

If you plan to craft a DIY solar panel, you need the following aspects to consider:

Advantages of Solar Panels

Solar energy stands out as an abundant and free resource, with the sun’s rays consistently available in substantial quantities — a significant advantage in itself. There can be even more benefits, for instance:

1. Saving Money

Creating and installing a DIY home solar system will reduce the overall cost of the project by:

  • Purchasing materials at lower prices
  • Avoiding overcharges from a specialized service
  • Using secondary resources

The cost to install solar panels can be substantial. According to CNET, prices depend on panel type, size, and application. So, by doing solar installation yourself, you will also save on hiring a professional.

2. Learning and Self-Development

In the process, you will acquire new technical skills, gain experience in the field of renewable energy, and independently solve technical tasks, which will increase your self-confidence.

You will also have the opportunity to interact with other enthusiasts, joining communities to exchange experiences, advice, or even resources.

3. Quality Control

By installing a solar panel kit without external help, you will have full control over the work. You can choose the best materials by price, as well as compare different manufacturers with reputable and high ratings.

Quality materials, in turn, will extend the life of the solar installation.

4. Individualization of DIY Solar Kits

A self-made solar panel installation lets you:

  • Adjust parameters according to your preferences
  • Adapt to local conditions such as climate, roof inclination, and shading
  • Modify the system as your energy demands expand

This way, the solar panel will precisely meet your energy requirements.

5. Environmental Cleanliness

As both the manager and executor of the project, you will:

  • Dive into energy-saving issues for conscious energy use in daily life
  • Make a personal contribution to solving climate change issues

Producing your own solar energy is a step toward environmental health.

By the way, we don’t recommend making DIY solar system kits into a huge complex at once. Why? The answer is simple: large batteries are unbearable and dangerous because their surface works like a sail, and strong winds will put considerable pressure on the fixing elements. This may lead to damage or breakage of the entire solar panel system.

Therefore, it is significant to make a test set to begin with and expand it gradually.

Are you ready to take advantage of these benefits?

Disadvantages of Solar Panels

The drawbacks of DIY Solar Panels for home should also be considered as they are essential.

1. Time and Resource Expenses

With a limited schedule and little experience, doing everything yourself will be a challenge because you need to:

  • Keep track of technical innovations
  • Be open to acknowledge and correct mistakes
  • Allocate ample time for work, considering limitations posed by darkness or unfavorable weather conditions

Without factoring in these aspects, the process could extend over several months or even years.

2. Equipment Requirement

To make a solar panel, special tools, and equipment are needed which may not be in the arsenal of an ordinary homeowner, such as:

  • Materials for the frame and mounting — aluminum profiles, fasteners, and sealants
  • Inverter, batteries, soldering iron, multimeter, saw, etc.
  • Insulating material
  • Additional equipment to protect the system from overvoltage

The productivity and reliability of your solar panels for homes will depend on the adequacy of material selection.

3. Lack of Warranty and Insurance Issues

In the case of self-installation, there is a risk of:

  • Losing the equipment warranty, as manufacturers often issue it only if their company performed the installation
  • Facing refusal from the insurance company

Furthermore, you may lack the technical support that professional installation personnel could provide.

4. Good Physical Shape and Adherence to Safety Rules

Working with heavy and bulky equipment requires endurance and a high level of physical fitness, and incorrect handling of electrical connections or the use of faulty tools can lead to injuries or electric shock.

Effective management of these challenges will require additional efforts, personal responsibility for the process, and careful attention to eliminating dangers in the process of installing DIY solar panels kits.

DIY Solar: How To Install

Solar panels are becoming the most important element of modern alternative energy thanks to constant development and improvement.

Making a solar panel will not be easy, especially for beginners. Therefore, you should first analyze all the pros and cons of this process, read specialized articles, and build a concept of work.

In fact, there are many videos on the web in which ordinary people tell and show their experiences of creating or installing solar kits. This only proves that you need to give yourself a chance and try to do it on your own!

Simplifying the creation of a basic solar energy system can be facilitated through careful planning. Here are a few steps you can base your project on:

Planning and Licensing
  1. Choose a suitable type of panel.
  2. Determine the amount of required energy and batteries.
  3. Select a location for solar panel installation.
  4. Obtain approvals before starting the work.
Preparation Gather the necessary equipment, for instance:
  • Photovoltaic modules
  • Batteries
  • An inverter for converting direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC)
  • An energy storage battery
  • Support racks
  • A charge controller
  1. Construct a framework for installing solar panels (for example, roof or wall mounting).
  2. Connect the panels to the inverter via cables.
  3. Attach the inverter to the batteries using a controller.
  1. Ensure the correctness of connections.
  2. Check the system’s efficiency using measuring instruments.
Monitoring and Optimization
  1. Consider ways to monitor panel performance to detect issues promptly.
  2. Optimize efficiency if needed, for example, through a cleaning system.

If you are unsure of your skills, it might be better to consult with an expert on various aspects before starting the project. This ensures the accuracy of your work and prevents unexpected situations later on.

How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

Based on the technical specifications of a solar panel, its lifespan typically ranges from 25 to 30 years, as indicated by scientific research.

The service life of homemade solar panels may be less predictable. It depends on such factors:

  • The technical skills of the manufacturer
  • The quality of the materials used
  • The quality of the installation techniques

The other determining factor is the climatic favorability of your region — extreme temperatures, humidity, and pollution. Nevertheless, a solar panel is the easiest to repair after various disasters. For example, according to TIME, Tesla was able to build solar stations in a few weeks after the hurricanes in Puerto Rico.

Under ideal conditions and with proper manufacturing, a DIY panel can also serve up to 30 years. Maintenance will help extend its life. Even the best DIY solar panels need systematic cleaning from precipitation and dirt.

Epilogue: Is It Worth It?

The efficiency in harnessing solar energy and the resilience to environmental influences make solar kits for home a key component in addressing today’s energy challenges.

Therefore, if you plan to make and install them yourself, first learn about the specifics of solar panels, pros and cons. Remember to adhere to technical standards and coordinate legislative matters.

Frequently Asked Questions


How to determine the size of a DIY solar panel

To determine the size of a battery, you need to calculate the available space area, average daily energy consumption, the number of sunlight hours in the region, and the required power of solar panels.

What key components are needed for a DIY solar system?

Each element for a solar installation system plays an important role in harnessing and utilizing solar energy and includes:
– A panel kit
– Inverter
– Charge controller
– Batteries (optional)
– Accumulator
– Racks
– Mounting equipment.

What are the reasons to install a solar system yourself?

DIY solar systems contribute to economic savings, self-development, and the ability to have complete control over and personalize the working process.

Are there any difficulties associated with DIY solar installations?

The potential complexities with DIY solar may include:
– Time and resource consumption
– Technical problems
– Issues with warranties
– Insurance
– Legal agreements in your region
– The need to be in good physical shape

Jed Hilton
Jed Hilton

Jed Hilton, our Founder and CEO, has over a decade of experience in the solar industry. His innovative leadership and expertise in solar technologies guide our company's vision and strategy.

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