Top 10 Things to Know if You are Working on DIY Solar Projects

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  1. Try to avoid buying separate parts

You can very easily purchase entire kits that your contractor should be able to install without any problem. Being designed as an entire unit means less chance of failure and better post-installation support. Between two contractors giving you quotes, choose one who favors a reliable kit.

  1. Always ask for quotes

Even if you’re a great DIY person, it’s sensible to ask around. Sometimes a professional contractor can complete a project for a cheaper amount than you can, or at least close enough. Even if you’re resolved to do it yourself, you’ll be able to estimate the costs of your project more reliably.

  1. Three quotes are better than one

Three different quotes may have very large differences, giving you not only have a better chance of getting a good deal, but also providing you with a firmer grasp of the growing solar market. With growing markets, you should always be aware of the fluctuations.

  1. The lowest isn’t necessarily the best

Make sure you look carefully at the quote and ask a lot of questions. Does the contractor have good feedback from previous clients? References who can vouch for their work? What you don’t want is a newbie who makes costly errors despite best intentions.

  1. Use a professional to connect to the grid

This is something that should only be done by someone who really, truly understands what they’re doing. You’ll be hooked up to the public utility grid so you’ll need to be appropriately qualified and licensed. Utility company lawyers will pounce on you if you’re not careful.

  1. Don’t do anything yourself when it comes to dealing with high voltage

When dealing with high voltages and fiddly plumbing it’s better to have experience under your belt rather than relying on books or Youtube videos. Serious physical dangers abound, and small mistakes can escalate into catastrophic ones that will cost you far more than what you saved by DIY.

  1. Know the standards

If you’re doing it yourself, you need to ensure your work meets minimum standards set by local or national building authorities. Your insurance company might raise your premium if it’s not done correctly. An inspector may deem it insufficient and you won’t be able to sell until it’s changed.

  1. Be careful

Statistically speaking, you’re most at risk of injury when you’re on the roof during an installation. Have a sturdy ladder and maybe someone to help with heavy lifting. Solar panels aren’t exactly light or easy to carry up a ladder by yourself. Don’t forget the wind makes things harder sometimes.

  1. Do the calculations

You might think that the water heater is perfectly within the limits of what your supports can take, but what about a tank full of water? If you don’t know, best to ask an engineer, which may cost you but at least you won’t have a collapsed roof.

  1. Batteries are not just for toys

You can get seriously injured if you’re not careful with the high currents passing between your batteries and any connected systems. Short circuits can cause arcing, and unmaintained batteries can start leaking toxic chemicals. Unsealed batteries can produce poisonous fumes. A full kit including batteries can mitigate risks.

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