Should you DIY a Solar Installation

cow_ranchercow_rancher Posts: 104Solar Expert ✭✭✭
It appears that Mother Earth News thinks the Solar installation industry does not add much to the cost of a solar system.
What are your thoughts?

https://www.motherearthnews.com/renewable-energy/diy-solar-with-a-solar-panel-kit-zbcz1601

10%    Really?


Rancher

Comments

  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,838Registered Users ✭✭✭✭✭
    That article really doesn't say much at all.  10% might be about right if I bought panels etc at a box store vs getting something installed, but it's really apples and oranges.  I saw $3/watt on sale at Canadian Tire recently.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • cow_ranchercow_rancher Posts: 104Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Tire stores install Solar Systems?

    Rancher
  • mcgivormcgivor Posts: 2,203Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2017 #4
    They do sell tires but are actually stores like Target and Walmart, with an automotive shop attached.
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 

  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,838Registered Users ✭✭✭✭✭
    Home Depot also sells pv online.  $514CAD for a 150w panel.  $2770CAD for a 400w DIY kit.  Like CT, they don't install and mainly sell small 12v systems.  At those prices, installed prices from a solar specialist are likely close, but it's apples and oranges. 

    I priced out gear locally from a specialist when I did my system about 3 years ago.  It was  nearly double (not including labour) versus what I paid NAWS.  CAD/USD is lower now, so I expect it's still roughly the same.  On top of the extra cost for the local specialist, I wouldn't have had to do all the reading and planning I did, so there would probably also have been the cost of murdering at least one battery bank in the learning curve.

    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,008Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    The local brick and mortar solar business is over twice my price. I unfairly compete as I teach the user how to install by text or e-mail Outback or Schneider.

    They do a great job of going to these remote rural locations and doing the work. They are great for people who do not have basic handyman skills. I require that and pass on the bid to them. They have alot of stock and a wharehouse. I have few spare 24 and 48v inverters and a cc or two. My stock all comes from two of the largest warehouses in the Americas.  I don't change the price but rather charge a flat fee anywhere in the world.

    I am what the financial guys call critical mass. I like the work and the people, but if they get weird, I go outside and enjoy my life offgrid!
    Plenty to do here for 25 years now  :)
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Posts: 751Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    That mother earth article could be accurate if you used $10 to $20 per watt panels prices.
    Only then could the install price be considered insignificant.

    What I have found is the installers mark up the hardware to almost double it's original cost, then double that number again to install it.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

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