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DIY Solar: Is It Worth It? Pros and Cons

DIY Solar/
DIY solar installation

Guest post by Jeff Haas of GoGreenSolar

Are you thinking about taking the DIY route with your solar installation? If so, you might be wondering: are DIY solar panels worth it?

Like many things in life, the best answer may be “it depends.” You can certainly save a significant amount of money compared to working with a professional installation company — we’re talking at least 45 to 60% depending on installation costs in your area, which can translate to $8,000 to $12,500 savings for an average 7.5 kW system.

Ultimately, if you’re deciding if DIY solar is worth it, that all depends on who you are, what resources you have, what your goals and preferences are, and how you plan to go about the process.

DIY Solar Panel Pros and Cons

First, let’s assess the general advantages and disadvantages of a DIY solar project.


  • Big savings. The bigger the system, the bigger the savings. Many DIY solar installers can save $10,000 or more depending on system size.
  • More control over your project. You get to call the shots on equipment, design, and timeline for your project.
  • You’ll still receive tax credits. Tax credits will still apply for the equipment and hardware you use and any professional installation services that you might utilize.
  • It’s fun, and you’ll be proud of the results. Many DIYers enjoy the process of solar installation. They get to apply their skills or learn new skills and take a lot of pride in a successful installation.


  • Requires time and energy. However you approach it, your DIY solar installation will take more time and energy than a professional installation.
  • Safety risks. When you work on a roof, you need to take the appropriate precautions. Make sure you have the right tools and gear (and helping hands if possible).
  • You may create a roof leak if you’re not careful. If you don’t drill accurately and fail to seal holes effectively, this can cause a leaky roof. Alternatively, if a professional installer causes damage, you can hold them responsible. A careful approach to drilling and remedying any mistakes will prevent this problem.

How to Determine If DIY Solar is Right For You

A DIY solar project is an excellent fit for:

  • Those with a background in contracting or building trades
  • Those who are handy with tools, can read and work from plans, diagrams and instructions
  • Those who like to do things on their own or have a desire to learn new skills
  • Those who are great at managing projects.

Keep in mind that you can also do a “hybrid” DIY installation. If you only want to do some but not all of the installation, the DIY route can still work. You can purchase a DIY solar kit and ask for professional help when you need it.

6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Going DIY

In my experience, here are the most important things to consider if you’re contemplating whether DIY solar is worth it.

  1. If you’re planning a roof mount solar installation, will you be comfortable climbing and working on a roof?
  2. Do you have someone who is physically able who can help you with the installation? If not, are you prepared to tackle the project on your own?
  3. Take an honest inventory of your skills, available time and energy, and preferences. Is this DIY installation going to be a fun project that you’re capable of managing (with or without help)? Or would you rather have some or all of it done professionally?
  4. Take an honest inventory of the DIY process. Which parts would you want to handle yourself, with or without professional support? Do you have the technical support readily available to assist you in the process? (I’ve found that many homeowners perform the entire installation themselves and feel great about it, especially when receiving support from a company like GoGreenSolar that designs the system and supplies the equipment.)
  5. How important are the cost savings vs. the time and energy you will need to invest in a DIY solar project?
  6. Will your local authorities allow for DIY solar installation? Most do, but some don’t. Contact your local permitting authority to find out.

Read more: DIY Solar FAQs

My Two Cents on Whether DIY Solar Is Worth It

There are different ways to approach a DIY solar project. Will you:

  1. Go it alone
  2. Do most of the project yourself but get some help in some areas, or
  3. Use your management skills to oversee others?

I’ve come across many customer stories based on my experience working in the solar industry. Some know nothing about solar but choose to educate themselves on every aspect of the design process and installation process. They draw their own plans, source equipment and install it on their own without guidance or support. Some of those stories don’t always end so well, with poor design planning, wrong or incompatible equipment, and improper installation guidance. These poor folks wound up wasting their time, money and energy.

I respect those who have the ability, time and energy to educate themselves enough to design a system and complete every step correctly, without help. However, I don’t recommend that route for most of us.

If you don't want to spend countless hours learning solar design and installation basics but feel you can tackle a DIY project with support, I strongly suggest working with a leading DIY solar brand like GoGreenSolar. And if you want to take the hybrid route — partial or complete professional installation — GoGreenSolar can design and sell your system and find an installer to assist you.

GoGreenSolar’s solar panel kits are designed for DIYers, and their team is available to assess your needs and build a custom system that meets your configurations. For example, if you’re looking to add batteries for grid-tie backup, this adds another level of complexity that requires professional advice and guidance.

solar layout for DIY solar installation
Sample system design layout from GoGreenSolar

As you go through your DIY process, you will need a permit, and if your installation ties to the grid, you’ll need interconnection approval from the utility. GoGreenSolar offers the plan sets you need for the permitting process. They also provide professional interconnection service to help you with this process.

Depending on the company, the level of installation support can differ. Some provide a generic installation manual that you have to figure out. GoGreenSolar prepares a custom installation guide specific to your home and equipment. They even include a supply list of hardware that you’ll need to buy locally to complete your installation.

plan set for permitting
Sample page from a plan set for permitting from GoGreenSolar

When you’re choosing a company to work with on your DIY solar project, be sure to understand what level of support they offer. A well-designed and well-supported DIY installation can take months to complete, from assessment and design to permitting. Still, you can complete the installation itself within a weekend or two!

Learn more: Why Choose GoGreenSolar?


If you’re confident about moving forward with a DIY solar installation, then yes — it’s definitely worth it! In addition to reducing or eliminating your electric bill, taking advantage of local, state and federal tax credits, and reducing your carbon footprint, saving thousands of dollars through your installation is a cherry on top.

I’ll end with one final question to ask yourself: How proud and satisfied will you feel about installing your own working solar energy system?

About the author, Jeff Haas: Jeff is the VP of Sales for GoGreenSolar. He raised a family off-grid in Northern California, and has worked in the solar industry since 2006. “I am a true believer in renewable energy and I am glad to be part of a company that helps people go solar on their own terms!”

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