Roof mounted solar

Thinking of Making Solar Your Next DIY Project? Think Twice!

8 Reasons To Hire a Qualified Solar Installer in Illinois vs. Do-It-Yourself (DIY)

Many homeowners prefer to tackle home improvement projects with a “Do-it-Yourself”, or DIY approach: bathroom remodels, kitchen upgrades, plumbing work, wiring up a light fixture, etc. However, when it comes to solar, ask yourself, “do I really want to do this myself?” In limited situations, Tick Tock Energy has worked with a DIY homeowner, but it is not something that we recommend.

While the idea of saving money is a big appeal of a DIY approach, there are many pitfalls that could cost you much more in the long run than if you elected to go with a professional solar installer. Solar arrays are long-term power generating assets. Getting it right up-front is the key to long-term operating success. We have listed our top 8 reasons for electing to go solar with a DG-Certified Solar Installer like Tick Tock Energy over doing it yourself.

  1. Solar System Design Experience is Invaluable – Unlike a household electrical wiring project, a residential solar panel system involves specialized knowledge of photovoltaics, AC and DC electricity, proper grounding, fire and life safety codes, structural and electrical engineering, and more. Getting just one of these things wrong can lead to costly mistakes on your system’s performance and lead to electrical and fire hazards.
  1. Navigating the Solar Interconnection Process Is An Important Step of the Process – Solar arrays are a small power plant. Although they are interconnected on the customer’s side of the utility meter and can backfeed the local utility. The utility interconnection process requires providing the local utility company with technical documentation about your system along with a single-line diagram prepared by an electrical engineer or qualified solar designer. For more about the interconnection process, see our web page on interconnection and netmetering.
  1. Leave the Building Permits to the Solar Contractor – Similar to the process for filing your interconnection application with a utility company, electrical/structural plans and permit applications filed with your local permitting body will also be required. Compliance with local codes is of utmost importance and most do-it-yourselfers may not have the time, patience, or experience needed to correctly file these applications.
  1. Without DG Certification, a Solar Project Will Not Be Eligible for the Illinois SREC Incentive – The Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) program, also known as Illinois Shines, is a lucrative state incentive helping to recoup a significant percentage of Illinoisans’ solar installation cost. To qualify for the SREC program, your solar panel system must be installed by a DG-certified solar installer. Distributed Generation (DG) refers to smaller scale generation devices, like solar, located on a consumer’s property. Gaining the DG license requires showing a sufficient level of proficiency by a solar installer. Learn more about the SREC incentive.
  1. Trust the Expertise Provided by an Experienced Solar Design Crew – When placing solar on a rooftop, ground mount, or elsewhere, optimizing the energy production is the name of the game. When you work with a solar professional that has experience designing all different kinds of solar systems, you can expect a long-lasting, and high-performing installation that has been customized to your unique needs.
  1. Solar Companies Utilize Cost Effective Solar Equipment Purchasing – A solar contractor can usually purchase solar equipment at much lower price than the common consumer is seeing online. A DIY approach may seem like a cost-saver, but professional solar contractors are buying their equipment at wholesale rates while you buy them at retail. Shipping a small quantity of equipment can also get expensive.
  1. Adding Solar Emergency Battery Gets Tricky – Leave It To The Pros – If you’re considering adding battery backup to your project now or in the future, leave it to the solar professionals to design a battery system that suits your needs. Introducing batteries to your solar array creates more complexity, costs, and operating considerations. More complexity means greater potential for errors, cost overruns or mistakes if you don’t have the experience a qualified solar contractor can offer.
  2. Established Solar Providers Offer Solar Service & Maintenance – There will be times for occasional maintenance on your solar system. Technical issues can leave your array non-functioning for short periods. By having an array installed by a professional solar company with a solar service department, you can expect professional maintenance and support for your solar investment without having to diagnose and fix the issue yourself.

In conclusion – While DIY solar installations can seem like an appealing way to save money, that approach can often end up more expensive and a bigger hassle than hiring a qualified solar contractor. A well-installed solar array should last 30 plus years with proper care and service, why take the chance on not getting it right the first time?

Are you interested in starting your path towards energy independence and peace of mind with a long-lasting solar installation? Time is ticking away, take action today! Get a free custom solar quote for your farm, home, or business by calling Tick Tock Energy at (217) 994-9020.

Read our previous blog post: Solar Panels as a Home Improvement Project in Illinois