The rationale for do-it-yourself solar panel installations is easy to understand. After all, buying inexpensive solar kits and installing solar panels yourself seems like a great way to save money. But DIY solar panels are actually significantly more expensive in the long run. Let’s explore why.
The True Cost of DIY Solar Panels in Maryland, DC
Although DIY solar panels have low upfront costs , the long-term cost is substantially higher for 3 important reasons:
1) DIY Solar Panels Don’t Qualify for Maryland, DC Incentives
Maryland, DC has some of the most generous green incentives in the country — tax credits and rebates that can dramatically reduce your solar installation costs.
But in order to qualify for many of these generous incentives, a licensed professional must install your system. Should you decide to install DIY solar panels, be prepared to pay the entire cost of your installation 100% out-of-pocket.
2) DIY Solar Panels Don’t Qualify for Grid Connectivity
Like most states, Maryland, DC offers net metering a program in which you’re allowed to sell excess solar electricity to the utility company at a profit.
If you sell more electricity than you consume, it’s possible to have $0 or even negative utility bills every month.
This is why the average payback period for a Maryland, DC solar installation is so short. With lower electricity bills and monthly utility credits, you can fully recoup your installation costs in as little as 7 years.
But like Maryland, DC’s incentives, the state’s net metering program is only available for systems installed by licensed solar contractors and electricians. If you install the system yourself, you’re not allowed to connect your panels to the utility grid.
3) DIY Solar Panels Offer Lower Returns
Solar is an investment — one that delivers both environmental and financial dividends for the next several decades. To receive the highest returns from your installation, you want to ensure it delivers the most power per square meter possible — for as long as possible.
Even the slightest improvements in power output can translate to tens of thousands of dollars in electricity bill savings over the next 25 to 40 years. This is where experience truly matters. All things being equal, panels installed by a licensed professional will:
- deliver more power (i.e. savings)
- with less maintenance (i.e. costs)
- and with fewer repairs (i.e. costs)
Allowing you to derive optimal returns from your solar investment.
Higher Costs Aren’t the Only Disadvantage of DIY Solar Panels
Professionally installed solar panels are not only cheaper in the long run. They’re also safer. After all, you’re still working with high voltage electrical equipment. For most people, this added risk isn’t worth it — especially given the higher price tag of DIY solar technology.
If your ultimate goal is to protect the planet and reduce your carbon footprint, it really doesn’t matter who handles your installation. But if you’re looking to install panels as affordably and as safely as possible, you’re better off hiring a licensed contractor.
Learn more about installing solar panels in Maryland, DC.