DIY SOLAR KITS!
Aug 16, 2013. By Frieda Watt.
When I say “do-it-yourself” what images come to your mind? Are you like me and think of afternoons spent in craft maker’s heaven ending the day by showing my husband all the wonderful treasures I made with bits from around the house. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Or are you like my mother who envisions months of dry wall dust tracked through the house, family possessions strewn all over, chaos and stressed out, cranky husbands as an unfortunate way of life.
When it comes to big do-it-yourself projects for the home a lot of us have at least one memory of some terrible reno project that took too long, cost too much, was incredibly stressful and swore us off the whole idea at least for a while. For some of us that’s all we know when it comes to do it yourself projects.
However, it doesn’t always have to be that way. The solar market in Ontario is big right now. The Ontario Power Authority started the MicroFit program in 2009. Since then over 1 000 MW have been installed across the province creating clean, green and renewable energy for all.
The price of a 10 kW array, which is typically what is installed on residential homes, has come down drastically over the past four years. In 2009, when the program was first implemented, a 10 kW had the price tag of $100 000. Today, in 2013 the same system costs only $30 000 completely installed by an installation company. This price also includes the engineering report, ESA inspection and the building permit. The only thing it does not include is the connection fee.
That’s a huge price drop. The popularity of solar panels not only in Canada but around the world have increased, dropping the price so that it is no longer the same as a small home in some cities.
It’s an exciting concept. Solar panels generating power for the province of Ontario that the government of Ontario will pay you for. This price now makes it more affordable than ever to undertake.
I speak now to the Do-It-Yourselfers. You know who you are. Those who never need an over-priced professional to come and tinker around for a few hours. You can do it yourself. There are books, youtube videos, trial and error. Why pay for labour for something that you can do by yourself (or with the boys) in a weekend?
Do not fear that just because you want solar panels on your roof you are not perfectly capable of installing them yourself.
For less than $20k a complete 10 kW DIY solar Kit is available to you. The kit includes everything that isn’t at your local hardware store. The specific solar panels, racking, inverters, grounding wire, extension cables and grounding lugs that you need for your project will be delivered to you free of charge. You must provide your own ladder though. Make sure it’s big. Also, there’s something called Fall Safety Training. I would at least look into it.
Before you go ahead and attach solar panels to your roof, you will need a building permit and you will need an electrician to come out to your site two weeks before install, and on the day of connection. The electrician will provide you with a new meter base and disconnect switches. You will also have to pay a connection fee to your local hydro company when they come and install your new meter.
By yourself a DIY solar installation should take between 4 or 5 days. With some buddies, it would take up most of a weekend.
You can do it; all by yourself. Be the next solar energy producer in Ontario and show us all how handy you really are.
DIY Solar Kit