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DIY Solar

DIY SOLAR

What to Expect

DIY solar is an approach many people are taking today, drawing people in with the huge amount of savings it offers. Solar is not cheap, and you can save thousands of dollars with DIY; many people boast of cutting their overall price in HALF. However, solar installation is also not a piece of cake. There are many factors that need to be assessed to determine if DIY solar is the right option for you. In this guide, we are going to tell you what you should realistically expect with a DIY solar installation project. 

We are going to cover the following areas in this guide:

Cost

What to expect: Savings

What they say is true, DIY solar saves you money…a lot of money. Although there are some additional costs that come with DIY solar (in detail below), the amount you save still greatly exceeds those costs.

Additional Costs

Hired Electrician

Hiring a local certified electrician is highly recommended and sometimes required for certain projects. The average labor rate for this type of job is $0.50/watt. That would equate to $2,500 for a 5.5kw system.

Specialized Equipment

If you are installing a ground mount system, you may need to rent a trencher. The average cost is $400/day and would be used for 1-2 days.

Time

Time is money. We predict that it will take a healthy, experienced DIYer around 10 days to complete an installation in optimal weather conditions.

Savings

No Professional Installer

Professional installations cost an average of $2-$3/watt, that would be $11,000 - $16,500 for a 5.5 kw system. Travel fees may also be applied with a professional installation.

Faster Payback

Your payback time can be 2-3 times faster when you consider your savings!

Gross Savings: $7,700 – $14,000 for 5.5kw system

Use our calculator to compare your costs for a DIY vs professional install with Practical Preppers

Process

What to expect: Help

A DIY solar installation can be intimidating. Even experienced DIYers have a lot of questions going into a solar installation project. See what the process of initiating a DIY solar project with Practical Preppers looks like below.

1. Consultation

Schedule a consultation with us, and we will plan and design your system according to your preferences, budget, location, etc. Our consultation fees are not applied to customers who purchase a full system.

2. Documentation

We will provide one-line electrical diagrams to assist your electrician, and walk you through drawings, logistics, and manuals for references. Our diagrams are essentially permit packages that will save you a lot of time and hassle when obtaining permits. We also provide 3D models of the system in your space to help you visualize and plan where to install electrical components. Our goal is to prep you to have zero surprises when it's time to install.

3. Gathering Materials

We will gather a comprehensive list of materials you will need. We will order the “big” items that can’t be sourced locally for you. Other materials, such as wiring, minor hardware, etc. are more cost effective to source locally.

4. Installation

As mentioned above, a professional electrician is highly recommended for wiring (and is often a state requirement for grid-tie installs). The next section of this guide details what to expect during the installation phase. We will remain readily available to assist you or your electrician throughout your install.

5. Support

As you sit back and enjoy possibly the most rewarding DIY project you’ve ever done, our team will still be available to assist you with any questions you have at any point after your install.

Start a conversation with us about your DIY solar project

Installation

What to expect: Plan Ahead and Work Hard!

If a company is telling you that DIY solar is a piece of cake, they are covering up some dirty details. DIY solar is not easy and requires a lot of planning ahead. There are some serious considerations you will need to take to make sure its right for you. We care about our customers, so we have put together a list of things to consider before making your decision.

Permits and Wiring

You will need to obtain permits and pass a solar inspection (and sometimes a building inspection) when installing solar. An electrician is highly recommended to complete your electrical work to ensure that everything is handled safely and installed to code.

  • Find a local electrician with a reasonable day rate
  • We provide permit packages that will help you obtain permits in your state

Ground Mounts

While there are several advantages to ground mounts, they will require more upfront costs and labor during the installation. Listed below are installation options and things to consider:

  • Digging holes and pouring concrete vs. pile driver vs. earth anchor. Find out which one is right for you!
  • Make sure your soil type is optimal for ground mount
  • Know your property lines
  • Understand that you will need to dig a trench according to your state’s codes to wire to your electrical components.

Roof Mounts

These large, fragile panels are going to have to make their way to your rooftop if you are opting for a roof mount system. You need to have a safe plan for transporting these panels, which should involve an extra set of hands.

  • Learn how to tie yourself off on a roof
  • Use cougar paw steel walker boots on metal roofs
  • Make sure your body weight will not damage your roof
  • Be aware of weather conditions and how they might affect your ability to work on your roof
  • Look into creative ways to transport panels such as building a custom ladder trolly or a raised platform to hold panels during the install.

The lists above are not comprehensive, but cover the major areas to consider and plan for with DIY solar. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any further questions!

DIY with Practical Preppers

When you purchase your DIY system with us, you’ll have everything you need coming from one place.

Not to mention the invaluable advice you’ll receive from a company that has been doing this all over the United States for years! We know the in’s and out’s of this business and will be with you every step of the way.

  • Professional System Design
  • Permit Package
  • 3D Modeling
  • Purchase and Shipping Logistics
  • Technical Support

Ready to Get Started?

Contact us with any remaining questions about our process or skip below to request a consultation

Consultation Request Form

Fill out our quick consultation request form below and we will be back in touch shortly!

  1. Contact Info
  2. Location
  3. Area of Interest
  4. Final Comments

Phone Consultation

Phone consultations are $200/hour with no minimum time and will include a site-evaluation using google earth. This charge will NOT apply to customers who purchase a system from us and do not need to be collected to submit this form.

On-Site Consultation

On-site evaluations are $200/hour plus travel fees with a 3 hour minimum. This will include a physical on-site evaluation of your property. Charges do not need to be collected to submit this form.

Contact Information

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