A solar panel roof installation is something you can definitely pull off as a DIY project. Many homeowners have already done it and some have gone as far as producing their own panels. These DIY projects have shown different levels of success and that is mostly due to the different approaches taken up to achieve the same goal.
Purchasing a solar kit with everything you may need and investing time to properly install the whole system on your roof seems like one of the most sensible DIY approaches.
When discussing a solar power roof solution for your home, we are mainly thinking of PV systems. Granted, a solar water heater can also be placed on the roof, but most people are interested in producing some electricity to lower their bills.
A solar PV system is composed of PV panels, an inverter and a lot of supporting components. To find out more about these components, you can always visit our article that describes how solar power actually works.
Your solar panel roof solution can vary a lot in size and in price depending on your design and location. However, there are some calculations that can help you estimate an average cost per installed watt. Of course, the advantage of the DIY approach is that you can get better numbers per installed watt by cutting down on soft costs.
The soft costs of solar take up a large part of the whole price. In many cases, installation is 20% of the total costs. There's a lot to be saved by doing it on your own, but installing on your own can be a challenge.
Before deciding to take up a DIY project of this type, make sure you are ready to face all challenges. A solar kit usually has everything you need, except an experienced installer to lend a helping hand. Common challenges faced include:
Trouble starts with the solar panel roof mounts. Locating the rafters to drill holes and secure the mounts can be challenging if you are going in blind. A stud finder can help out, but that piece of equipment is too expensive to purchase for a single roof installation. Examining the roof from both sides before drilling will definitely lower the number of trials and errors. Once you find one rafter from the top, you can find the rest with good measurements.
As a general rule of thumb, solar panels with installation weigh about 2-4 pounds per square foot. Even if we take the solar panel roof mounts out of the total mass, that is still a considerable load to carry up and down a ladder. This makes the solar installation at least a two man job including a pulley system that will gently lift the panels to the roof.
Adjusting the panels right and connecting everything together can be a breeze for somebody with an engineering background, but it might prove difficult for others. After you assemble everything, call a professional to check and approve your installation.
Make sure to finish up by using sealant around all the holes made during the installation on your roof. Leaving even the smallest gap will lead to a leaky roof when it starts raining.
Saving money on your energy bill with solar is not always a sure thing. You need to do precise calculations and make as few assumptions as possible.
Luckily, Luminext is here to help out. Our consultants are ready to discuss going solar at length and we can help you create the perfect solution for your roof. Consultations are free of charge and our advice is always impartial.