Cut solar panel costs down by half with a DIY installation

Last updated on November 2nd, 2017 at 06:04 am

“Anyone who has dealt with electricians or plumbers will know that costs can be very high when employing these tradesmen.”

Self-installed evacuated tube installation.

Self-installed evacuated tube installation.

Those who may have qualifications and experience in plumbing or electrical practices are literally half way there to being able to install their own solar panels.

The costs of both types of solar heating panels, i.e. Evacuated tubes and (Photovoltaic) PV solar panels, can be greatly reduced by installing them yourself. Be warned though that you will not be able to claim the feed-in tariffs which are currently available.

However, the savings made on the installation charges will far outweigh the benefits of the tariff scheme, which was only introduced to counter the high cost of installation.

The original idea of the Government’s feed-in tariff scheme was to compensate the adopters of this technology by purchasing the electricity produced by the panels whether it was used by the householder or surplus to requirements.

As the popularity of the scheme grew, the government incentive to kick-start this solar revolution had to be reduced over the last 12 months.

The tariffs, which now stand at 15.44 pence per kWh for electric and 17 pence per kWh for heating, will still give the adopters a bank- beating 6-9% return on their investment and this doesn’t include any future savings on bills.

Someone who has installed their system themselves will not receive this tariff, but the savings on the installation costs will far exceed the rate of return on investment over the systems 25-30 year lifespan.

Forecasting the energy weather

Predicting the weather is an important aspect for solar installers when working on roofs.

With solid scaffolding and the correct roofing equipment/expertise, most installers can and do work in most weather conditions. I doff my cap to these hard-working individuals.

However, because trying to predict global oil and energy prices is similar to trying to predict the weather and climate, the future will always be uncertain. That’s why a solar installation is going to become an increasing necessity for us. Like a rain jacket, you know you are not going to use it every day, but you’d rather have it than not have it, once the outlook looks gloomy.

The fantastic thing about solar panels and the reason I have spent the last seven years singing their praises is that of their usefulness and technological longevity.

No one can predict the prices of basic energy in five years, let alone ten or even twenty years, but whatever the future outlook, with a self-installed system, you can rest assured that your energy costs will be comparable to those in the 1980s and will be weatherproofed for the longer term.

DIY solar panels and kits can be viewed here >>


"Feel the pride."
October 1, 2012
Founder of Power My Home.

  • Hi Steve

    The article was aimed at both solar heating and electric technologies. As article says, this was only aimed at already skilled plumbers or electricians. I would never encourage anyone without the correct qualifications to start installing such a system without the correct skills or supervision.

  • Stevetlowe9999

    The suggestion that a self-install will far outweigh the benefits of the FIT at current rate is untrue. And the reason that the Government FIT only applies to installs with MCS accreditation is to avoid unqualified playing with DC electricity.

    Some 50% of the costs of a PV install are the materials. So if you assume no labour costs you have just halved the total cost. A saving of perhaps £3,000.

    Through the FIT you are getting paid 16p for each kWh generated plus another 4.5p for 50% of generation (deemed export). So effectively 18.25p per kWh. Generate 3000 kWh and its an extra £547.50 income a year. 

    So you would get a return on the extra £3,000 in under 6 years and from there it is clear profit….without the hassle of installing yourself and the risk in playing around with DC.