Considering going solar, but unsure of where to start?  DIY Solar Panel Kits are a great way to get all of the equipment you need quickly.  There is no hassle trying to put together all of the bits and pieces you need for the system since in a do it yourself solar kit the parts and components have already been specified for you.  While not everyone may benefit from a “do it yourself solar kit” for many consumers this a hassle free solution that many are gravitating toward.  

Save Money By Installing Your Own DIY Solar Panel Kit

Another reason that many consumers are finding themselves looking into whether to install their own do it yourself solar panels is due to cost.  According to a study conducted by Yale University, one of the largest driving factors for the DIY solar panel kit market are the upfront costs associated with someone installing a system for you.  The average installation cost is 1.00 – 1.25 p/w.  This is about ¾ of the cost for the materials themselves.  With costs like this, it is no wonder that more and more people are looking towards installing their own DIY Solar panel system.  

Rooftop solar is no longer being adopted just by the wealthy, but heavily by the middle class.  In fact, the majority of residential solar systems are being deployed in neighborhoods where the median income ranges from $40,000 – $90,000 per year.   Solar energy production accounts for only .64% of all of the power generated in the United States.  With less than 1% currently on the grid, solar growth is imminent.  The utility companies in California however have increased the Tier 1 and Tier 2 rate kWh by an average of 14.5% and about 3.4% for Tier 3 and Tier 4.  Under Edison’s proposed restructuring, the Tier 1 electricity rate would increase an additional 8.7 percent, to 16.2 cents per kilowatt-hour, by 2018. The current tiers 2, 3, and 4 would be folded into a single tier, which would be billed at 19.5 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2018.  With the rising costs being implemented from California utility companies, it is no wonder why more and more homeowners are exploring do it yourself solar panel kits.  

DIY Solar Panel Kits  – Choosing the Right One

There are several solutions on the market, so how can you determine the best one for your home?  First, you want to size your home for solar.  One simple way to do this is to review your kWh usage for the past year (the past two years is even better!) and determine what your average household kWh usage is.  Once you have this average usage number, you can begin sizing the right do it yourself solar kit for you.  Use the PV Watts tool to run a solar system sizing.  This tool is easy to use and has one of the most trusted databases for solar irradiance in the United States. Simply enter your address at the top of the page to populate the solar irradiance data for your area.  Then click the “Go to System Info” arrow link on the right side of the page.  The next page will give you some a few down fields pertaining to your PV system.  For the module “type”, most solar panels will be “standard”.  For the array type, most homeowners will select roof mount, but if you have the option to select from a ground mount or even a top of pole mount.  The azimuth is important to accurately calculate your system size.  Is your roof facing south?  Or perhaps West?  Adjust this number accordingly.  For the DC System Size, keep the default of 4kW initially so you can see the results and match them against your own.  Dependent on the results, you may have to increase the DC system size or reduce the number.  

Where Can I Buy a DIY Solar Panel Kit?

Once you have found out the size system that you need, one of the next steps is to determine where to buy it!  There are several options for purchasing a do it yourself solar panel kit and one of them is through an online reseller.  You can call consultative sales specialist and have a custom kit put together for you, or purchase one that is already sized, ready to go.  Companies such as Unbound Solar, EcoDirect, Inc. and Arizona Wind and Sun specialize in residential solar and can help consumers put together custom solar panel kits.  You could also walk into a Home Depot or Lowes to purchase your own solar panel kit.  At Lowes, you can purchase a 10kW PV system kit for 28,705.88.  That system might be on the larger side, but there are several do it yourself kits available and you can always call a online reseller for assistance.

What Happens If I Need Some Help with the Installation?

If you thought that you wanted to do it yourself solar, but then you realized it would save you personally time and money to hire someone, have no fear!  If you live in the state of California, you can find a list of active solar contractors in your area, by visiting California Solar Statistics. This site lets you search for installers by ZIP code, city, county, utility or statewide. The list you receive will provide you with the contractor’s name, address, phone number, website, number of installs in the chosen area and average price per watt.  You can also search sites such as White Pages, Angies List or Yelp to find an installer in your area.  

Should I Go Solar?

In short, installing solar modules on your home or business is a way to invest in your future energy production.  If you plan on continuing to use electricity to power your lights, refrigerators and water pumps, then you are going to continue to pay out of pocket every month to the utility companies.  To offset increasing kWh charges and fees from the utility companies, installing solar panels will increase your energy independence and off-set your overall energy payments.  This is the day in age where do it yourself solar kits and innovative installation practices are now prevalent in the marketplace which is contributing to one of the fastest growing overall markets in the U.S. – Solar Energy.