DIY Solar Panel System Cost



SolarDave: Please tell me about your solar panel system and how you saved some money?

Adam Stevenson: The total of the system and materials was $22K. I ended up spending about another $1,800 in permit fees and a structural engineer and $400 for an electrician, several hundred dollars for a guy to come help me out for the two afternoons he spent with me.

Xcel (Energy) gave me $16,538 rebate. Fix cost based on the number of kilowatts you are installing and has nothing to do with how much you pay the permit office or the electrician.

My final cost after rebate was $7,237. (SolarDave note: that is cheap!)

I started my research in solar probably about a year before I actually installed it went and got a couple of bids from some of the local solar people both from contractors that my friends have used as well as just searching the internet and while talking to one of the guys I find of developed a good feeling from him, and I asked the question “Would it be possible to do some of the work myself” and kind of learn along the way he said “Sure I absolutely support the do-it-yourself-er (DIY) so I said why don’t you throw me bids, what it would cost just come home and have solar one day and what it would cost to have it done where I do some or all the work myself. And throw them both to me and I said let’s try the second one.

The guys name is Steve Cross from Sun Spot Solar.

I gave him my electric bills and said this is how much I think I need to generate and he said I agree and lets do these types of panels 180 watts each, you will need some where around 19 to 22 we figured out 21 fit pretty well.

So I went and got all the permit information from Golden (Colorado), filled it out. He came by 1/2 hour one day he type all the Xcel application on the internet and I kind of ran the process and when I had a question I would just send him an email and he helped me out.

I think in parallel we order the equipment – he dropped off in my driveway. Then one of his installers came out and helped me for two afternoons and I pretty much myself put in the whole rack system on the roof and the installer came out and helped me kind of a two man job carrying the panels up, putting the panels down and bracketing them down.

I think we sketch out on the side of one of the solar panel boxes how they are all going to wire together so that we get three rows of series – 7 series strings so the amperage works out.

I let his installer run the conduit because that is pretty much a one person job and then I paid an electrician to plug it all in for me.