5 Reasons Why DIY Solar Panels Are a Bad Idea

Man holiding tools to do home diy solar panels

Building and installing your own DIY solar panel system can seem like an attractive way to generate cheap renewable energy. What many homeowners don’t realise are the risks involved with making your own solar PV array. From serious safety hazards to the permanent damage you could do to your roof, there are plenty of problems that could arise. Here are 5 of the top reasons why it really doesn’t pay to do solar yourself.

1. You might not be qualified to install solar

Installing solar panels is not an easy process, and without undergoing the same training as a professional installer there is a lot that could go wrong. Lifting heavy panels, wiring electrical equipment and simply working up high on a roof are just some of the safety hazards you face. If you aren’t confident in working with this kind of specialised equipment, then homemade solar panel installation may be too advanced for your skill level.

As an example, if you’ve just spent a few hours Googling how to build a solar panel and watching You Tube videos – then you’re probably not ready to start building your own diy solar power system.

The technical side of solar PV installation can also be tricky and doing it yourself often results in systems being connected and fitted incorrectly. Even if you have electrical experience there are still many elements of solar installation that differ greatly to traditional jobs and should be left to a professional.

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2. You can’t get the Feed-in Tariff with DIY solar system

In order to benefit from the government’s Feed-in Tariff (FiT) your solar panels need to be installed by someone who is MCS certified. Receiving the Feed-in Tariff means you not only get paid for generating renewable energy but also benefit from selling any excess energy to your utility company. This makes it much easier to make back what you invested in a solar system and even earn an income over time.

Our FiT calculator can help you calculate the potential payback you could receive from professionally installed solar.

3. DIY solar panel kits are a safety risk

The biggest risk with DIY solar power is fire. Generally this is caused by using the wrong materials or because the installation was not executed properly. Many DIY tutorials will recommend soldering panels together yourself or even using wood to back them – this is especially dangerous considering the temperature panels can reach. Poor wiring is another big problem as it can actually lead the inverter to blow up and cause a fire in your home.

4. You can damage your roof with DIY solar panels

Before investing in solar you should always consider if your roof is suitable for solar panels. The biggest part of this is ensuring that your roof is structurally able to hold panels and if it will need strengthening. A certified installer should carry out a structural analysis before work even begins and missing this crucial step could result in disaster. They will also be able to analyse your roof to see how effective a solar system could be and spot any issues to work around such as shading or obstructions.

5. The panels may have a shorter life span

Solar panels installed by professionals should last for around 20 to 25 years and many will come with a manufacturer’s warranty. DIY installations, especially where the panels themselves have been constructed at home, will likely see a shorter life span and can be costly to replace without a warranty. It’s also important to be wary of ‘scams’ in the form of paid for DIY tutorials and even the sale of panels which are not up to standard.

Whilst DIY solar can sound like a great idea, the risks to both your safety and home really can outweigh the benefits. The cost of solar panels and installation in 2017 is the cheapest it has ever been, so if you are looking to go solar now is a great time to do it professionally.

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