What is the First Step in Installing Solar on My Home?
The hardest part of any home improvement project is taking the first step. Installing solar on your home is no different.
So you want to install solar – but don’t know where to start. Today, we’re explaining how to take the first step when installing solar on your home.
Decide Whether You’re Installing Panels Yourself or Buying from a Contractor
Solar panel installation companies can be found all over the world. It’s one of the fastest growing industries. With a quick Google Search, you’ll find a solar panel installation company serving your area.
However, some people prefer to install solar panels on their own. A solar panel installation project doesn’t have to involve building a massive array in your backyard: it could be as simple as connecting a single panel to your electrical grid.
Whether you’re going the DIY route or working with a local installation company, we’ll explain the first step to take next.
Step 1) Request a Quote from a Local Solar Panel Company
The easiest step to take is to request a quote from a local solar panel installation company. Even if you live in a small town, you should find at least one contractor servicing your area. In big cities, you might be choosing from dozens of different companies.
Fortunately for you, all of these companies offer free, no obligations quotes. You can call them or request a quote online. Sometimes, they’ll give you an approximate quote over the phone. In other cases, they’ll come to your house and perform a complete inspection of your property.
If you want to be extra careful, request three quotes from local solar panel companies. The general rule is that you should take the quote with the middle price. The contractor that offers the lowest quote might be cutting corners or installing low-quality panels. The contractor with the highest quote might be over-charging you. The one in the middle is just right.
Obviously, you need to take other factors into account as well. Read reviews online. Ask for references from previous customers. Talk to your neighbors or local friends to discover their experience with solar panel companies, or see if they have any recommendations.
Step 1 for DIY Installers) Buy Photovoltaic Panels, Bury Conduit, and Build a Platform
You don’t need to buy solar panels from local installation companies. Instead, you can install a completely functional solar panel array on your own. The DIY route may be cheaper – especially if you have basic electrical skills and construction experience.
Alternatively, some people buy solar panels and build the basic infrastructure on their own, and then work with professional installers to complete the build.
Your first step is to buy solar panels. Hardware stores like Home Depot sell a variety of solar panels. You can choose from a wide variety of brands, and pick the solar panels that suit your unique needs.
You can choose cheap and small solar panels – say, if you’re just trying to power outdoor lighting. Or, you can install multiple high-power solar panels if you’re trying to provide electricity for your entire home.
If you don’t want to buy from hardware stores, or if you’re buying a lot of panels, then you may be able to work with a wholesaler in your area. Some solar panel installation companies also provide wholesale panel sales. You can buy the panels without paying for the installation.
In any case, there are a wide range of solar panel manufacturers, prices, and options available at your local hardware store. Do your research online before you buy. Or, the hardware store might have a knowledgeable salesperson on-hand to assist you.
The general rule with solar panels is that cheaper solar panels are less efficient and less durable than the more expensive panels.
You might pay less per-panel by buying cheaper panels, but you’ll need more panels to produce the same amount of energy. If you want your solar panels to last as long as possible, buy high-efficiency solar panels from reputable manufacturers.
Bury Conduit and Build the Platform
Before you buy solar panels, you may want to build your solar panel infrastructure first. If you’re leading a DIY solar installation project, then your first step is to bury conduit between your house or building to the area where the solar panel array will be placed.
Once the conduit is in place, it’s time to start building your platform. Create a platform to support your solar panel array. Most contractors use concrete pillars and 4x4s to build a secure platform.
Conclusion: Ready to Get Started?
Remember: the hardest part of installing solar panels is taking the first step. Installing solar panels can be a bit of work (and a lot of money), but most homeowners agree the cost is worth it in the end.