Can you install solar panels yourself?

photovoltaic panels

Solar equipment has gotten more and more standardized. It seems like with “plug and play” equipment, you should be able to save a lot of money by installing a solar project yourself. But is that a smart move? Here are the five reasons why you will be better off hiring a professional solar installer in Ontario:

  1. You get a Warranty. Any reputable solar installer will offer a warranty on workmanship. If anything goes wrong due to improper installation, the installer is on the hook to fix it. If you do it yourself, you only have yourself to blame if an expensive piece of equipment is damaged because it wasn’t installed properly.
    LG-solar-panels_warrantyFurthermore, most of the solar equipment manufacturers (solar modules, inverters, etc.) will not honor their warranty in this case.
  1. The paperwork. There is A LOT of paperwork involved with installing a microFIT or NetMetering solar project in Ontario. If you have never done it before, in can be daunting. Applications, Request for Connection forms, ESA approvals, specs submittals, codes, permitting, connection agreements, wiring diagrams, solar rebate application forms, etc, etc, etc…. an experienced installation company will walk you through all of this, our even better, do it for you. In some cases, you may even be REQUIRED to use a professional installer to qualify for interconnection or rebates. For example, wiring and connection of your solar photovoltaic array must be done by an Electrical Contractor licensed by the Electrical Contractor Registration Agency of the Electrical Safety Authority (ECRA/ESA) in Ontario. Many companies will prep all of the paperwork, and all you need to do is review it and sign your name on the bottom line.
  1. Pros are FAST. Ok, we get that, you can do it yourself. You have the knowledge and the skills. But do you have the time? DIY solar projects can stretch from one weekend to months to…. Remember, it’s not just screwing a rack to the roof and plugging a few wires together. Running ground wire, mounting disconnects, and all of the other BOS or “balance of system” components are where the real time gets burned up. A pro can make quick work of projects that take a do-it-yourselfer hours or even days.
Man installing rails for solar panels on residential house roof

Installation of solar panels racking system

  1. Lower materials costs. Yes, a pro is charging you profit on the materials. BUT- that does not mean you can get them cheaper yourself. Shipping costs on racks and panels are just one area where using a pro will save you money. They buy panels by the pallet, mounting clips by the case, and in the case of long rails, a commercial shipping company may not even deliver to your residence. Not to mention all of the standard electrical connectors, conduit, and wire that pros buy in bulk. You can spend hours running to the supply house for a connector that a pro carries on their truck.
  1. Protecting your investment. If you are selling electricity back to your hydro under the microFIT program, you want to make sure your system is working properly for 20 years! Otherwise you will be losing money every day…month…year and increasing your payback period. There are a whole lot of things that can go wrong if a solar project is not done right. Just walking on the shingles can take years off of the like of your roof if you don’t know what you are doing. Mounts must be properly installed and sealed to prevent leaks and water damage. Proper grounding requires finesse and skill. Each step of the installation process needs to be done right to assure the safety of your home and your family, not to mention maximizing your electrical production. You have a lot of money invested in your home- make sure you do your solar project right!

Solar panel technician with drill installing solar panels on roof

A final note about certification. Almost any licensed electrician will tell you that they can install your solar for you. They may be able to, but that doesn’t mean they have experience with solar. Day-to-day AC residential wiring is not the same as solar DC, and some electricians may not have worked with DC since school. They may not be familiar with codes governing solar. Look for an installer that has had special training in solar, holds certification from a professional training program, or at the least, has several solar projects under their belt with good references from satisfied customers.

If you are looking for a professional advice, or would like to receive FREE quotes for your solar panels installation, simply fill out a form, and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours. Asking for a second opinion never hurts, and can save you a lot of money!

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