Professional solar panel installers live by the phrase “measure twice, cut once,” to avoid waste and get things right the first time. But that may not work for a smart amateur.
A homeowner should probably approach a solar panel installation DIY project by taking the original estimate and factoring in twice as much time and three times as much money if you don’t have support services from your solar kit supplier to get the job done right the first time.
The reason? DIYers without the proper support mess up. These are the most common mistakes a solar panel installation DIYers might make — and how to avoid them.
We’ve been helping DIYers successfully install solar panels Mistakes such as not taking out the required permits, or starting a job without the necessary tools and supplies. Or not properly preparing the job site. Or just failing to get a clue.
So lace up your work boots and read on for tips on how to get professional results installing your solar electric system.
#1- Not taking out the required permits and utility interconnection
Considered a bother at best by many DIYers, permits actually serve a greater purpose than just raising money for the government. People in permitting offices aren’t evil. They’re there to make sure the job is done right and you don’t hurt yourself. Plus, for solar installation, you need proof of the permit or your insurance carrier won’t cover it. This is exactly why our GigaWatt solar kits offered by GoGreenSolar.com offer permitting services which not only provide a full set of customized code complaint plans designed by our professional solar engineers but we provide our DIY customers the support they need to deal with their permitting office plan checkers and inspector’s questions and objections so you get your project done efficiently. Additionally our interconnection services deals with your utility directly so you get permission to operate your newly installed solar electric system as quickly as possible after your permitting office inspects and approves your newly installed solar electric system. Failure to file the correct paperwork with your utility can prevent you from turning your solar electric system on, every day that goes by that your system remains off is money down the drain. The utilities often make the process of filing and receiving permission to operate a difficult one because they know once you flip on the switch to your newly installed solar electric system they will lose revenue from you forever. We’ve filed thousands of utility interconnection applicaitons on behalf of our customers and have learned every trick in the books, when a customer purchases a GigaWatt solar kit our interconnection team deals with all the utility headaches so you can turn on your system faster and start making money when it’s sunny.
#2 – Starting a job without necessary supplies
Nothing slows down a job more than not having the right materials and tools.The reason solar installation professionals can do what they do is that they buy quality tools and have a stock of electrical parts needed to complete a job. You lose time and money if you don’t start the job with all the necessary supplies. So make sure to research the supplies you’ll need in advance of the job. DIYers who purchase GigaWatt solar kits from GoGreenSolar.com are provided a custom tailored shopping list of all the required electrical parts and tools required to complete the job before you start your solar panel installation project. Additionally our solar panel racking and mounting systems are designed to be installed by power tools most DIYers own or can easily get access to.
#3 – Inadequate preparation of the job site
If you decide to take out a loan or pay cash to install solar panels, suppliers will be delivering materials. You don’t want your supplies being delivered out of order or exposed to the severe weather while you are working. Beware of thieves who can make off with your materials if they’re not properly stored. And, if you have a septic tank, make sure you know where it is. If a supplier delivering materials in a heavy truck drives over it, you could be looking at a cracked tank. Yuck! DIYers who purchase GigaWatt solar kits through GoGreenSolar.com receive a single delivery by a professional freight company with a liftgate and will drop your materials curbside. We have also developed installation resources on how to prep job site so when you are ready to start the installation of your solar panels your project can go smoothly and without costly mistakes. When you purchase a GigaWatt solar kit, we individually package each component and label them so you can find them fast. A solar kit consists of a few hundred parts to put together a system. We recommend keeping your kit packaged until you are ready to install so you don’t lose or misplace parts before the day of installation.
#4 – Skimping on materials
We often sees DIYers trying to build their own racking systems. It’s better to go with a pre-engineered roof or ground mounted system that meets all your local building requirements and have detailed engineering reports to satisfy the permitting offices. This not only saves time and money because these systems have been designed to get be installed quickly and have wind and snow load test data to insure your solar panels won’t fly off the roof even in the harshest conditions. All of GigaWatt solar kits sold through GoGreenSolar.com come with pre-engineered racking and mounting systems for all types or roof and ground mount projects.
#5 – Buying the wrong solar components
More than often we see customers buying the cheapest solar components from several different suppliers creating a Frankenstein solar electric system. Not only does the customer have the hassle of coordinating several different freight shipments from suppliers but the compatibility of the different components create a larger problem in successfully installing the solar panels. Installing solar panels requires more than just panels, you need inverters, racking and mounting systems, monitoring and many other parts and pieces to power your life with sunshine using solar panels. All of these parts have to be compatible with each other and if not you will have an expensive box of parts in your garage that can never be installed. I’ve witnessed several customers who thought they were getting a deal of a lifetime by buying the cheapest parts from several suppliers, installing the system on their roof and then not being able to pass final inspection or get utility approval because the parts they purchased are not certified to be used in their area. All our GigaWatt solar kits are designed to be code compliant, certified to utility standards and guaranteed to get a permit from your city to install your solar electric system. Our team has already pre-engineered our solar kits for you so you don’t have worry about it.
#6 – Unsafe job conditions
Let’s say you’ve taken out a loan or have obtained other funding to get the work done. Nothing will diminish the return on your solar investment like a trip to the emergency room.
Wear safety goggles when using power tools and proper fall protection when you are on the working on the roof.
And never wear loose-hanging clothing, especially when using power tools. Protect your hands with gloves when carrying solar panels, racking and other materials. Don’t let an injury erode the financial payback of your solar electric system.
#7 – Inaccuracy
Are you sure you want to cut there? That’s one of the key questions you want to ask yourself again and again during the course of any solar panel installation project.
It’s so important for things such as installing the rails for your racking system and sizing your wires for your home run. If you’re going to err, err on the side of too long. You can always make something shorter; you can’t make it longer.
#8 – Working beyond one’s limits
Are there some parts of the solar installation project you just shouldn’t try to tackle on your own? Everyone has limits.
You might draw the line at working on the roof or working on the electrical.
Here are a couple of good universal restrictions:
- Don’t try to work beyond your reach.
- Don’t stand on the top steps of ladders.
- According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43 percent of all fatal falls involve ladders.
#9 – Failure to get a clue
You don’t want to use your own house as a classroom if you don’t have the right technical support, set of code compliant plant sets and utility interconnection services to install solar panels.
If you have a friend who is a contractor or an experienced DIYer, ask for their assistance on your DIY solar panel installation project
If you can’t install a solar electric system on your own we offer installation services all throughout California and outside of California we can refer you to a contractor who is authorized to install our solar panel kits. Weather you want to DIY solar installation or hire us, we got you covered.