Building a DIY Solar Power System
The idea of building your own DIY solar power system raises many questions, the first of which being “is it even possible?” The short answer is “yes, it is possible.” The long answer takes into account the many considerations involved in building your own system.
- Benefits of DIY
- Choosing a System
- Installing the System
Benefits of DIY
If you’re going to do anything yourself, especially something as potentially complex as solar installation, you’re going to want a good reason to put forth the effort, as opposed to hiring a contractor. If you’re willing to put in the work, you can save quite a bit of money by not hiring a contractor for the whole process. DIY Solar power system gives you more freedom in choosing components and setup, as well as complete control of how much money you want to spend, etc. There is also the great feeling of accomplishment associated with completing any task with your own hands.
Choosing a System
The first step in actually building a DIY solar power system is determining what size system you will need. Then you will select the components, and decide how you would like them installed. If you have lots of open space where shade is not an issue, you may want to consider installing the panels on the ground, where self-installation and maintenance will be significantly easier. Now, do you want mono-crystalline or poly-crystalline panels? The choice of what type of panel you get will affect the cost and efficiency of your system. If you live in a sunny area, the less efficient, but cheaper poly-crystalline panels will serve you just fine. Small solar panel kits may also just be right for you. However, if efficiency is necessary for the time when the sun is out the increased efficiency of the mono-crystalline panels may prove worth the extra cost. There are some exceptions to this rule, so research your panels before you buy.
For a DIY solar power system, you will need to consider the solar modules (the panels), a power inverter, etc. And you’ll have to decide how you wish to mount all of the components.
You will also have to decide whether you want a grid-tie system or an off grid system. A grid-tie system is connected to the utility power and will augment whatever power you are receiving from the grid. These systems are simpler to install, though there is more regulation on a grid-tie system. Off grid system is exactly what it sounds like, there’s no connection to the grid utility. This system is for the independently minded, or if you want to build a system that is out of reach of the grid.
Installing the DIY Solar Power System
The installation itself is likely going to be the most challenging part of building your own DIY solar power system. Before you begin make sure you contact your local state office and acquire all the necessary permits and that you check up on the regulations and policies for building solar in your state. Most DIY solar power system builders hire a professional electrician to do the wiring of the system, and this is likely the best choice for anyone who is not an electrician themselves.
The considerations outlined above should give you a taste of what a DIY solar energy system will require in prep and installation. It is quite possible to build your own solar power system, but it is important to research and know exactly what you’re getting into. Solar energy is an exciting field, and building your own solar power system is a phenomenal way to join the growing numbers of people relying on clean energy sources.
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