Building your own solar panel can be a fun and educational experience. However, there are a few things you should consider before you embark on a DIY solar panel project:
Solar Panel Certification
The main drawback of DIY solar panels is that you need to have them certified. Having a solar panel UL listed takes several months and thousands of dollars. You run into a couple of major issues if your solar panel does not carry a UL mark:
- You cannot legally grid-tie your solar system, which means net metering is out of the question.
- You are probably violating your home insurance.
- Proper certification is required to reap in the benefits of state and federal incentives.
There are also several other reasons why you should stick to pre-manufactured solar panels:
- DIY solar panels are usually only suitable for small-scale electronics.
- The solar panel will typically degrade faster. Professional solar panels come with 25-year performance guarantees.
- A poorly built solar panel can be a fire hazard. You should know what you`re doing if you decide to go the DIY route.
Beware of Scams
There`s a lot of shady companies around that want to sell you their DIY solar panel kits. Some of the people behind these products are not experts on solar panels, but experts on Internet marketing. Look out for their highly questionable marketing tactics – Eliminating your electricity bill for under $200 is simply not possible. If something seems to good to be true, it probably is.