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Solar Power Is Not A DIY Project

By Kristy Hoare on in How Solar Power Works

Solar Power Is Not A DIY Project

Installing solar power will tempt savvy DIY enthusiasts, it’s the kiwi way.  But DIY’ers be warned, self-installing a solar power system can be a dangerous, non-compliant, warranty-voiding escapade. Therefore, it is not a recommended practice in New Zealand.

An additional, albeit small cost, is having professional solar installers complete the solar power system set up – they are well versed in all things solar, so it only makes sense to have them tackle the job, plus the install and workmanship will be warranted. So, to reiterate, we really can’t recommend it enough - purchasing a complete system installed from a quality solar installation company is vital for the longevity of your system.

DIY Home Solar Power is Dangerous

There are many “danger zone” moments DIYer’s may come up against; falling from heights (i.e. the roof), electrocution and fire, to name but a few.

Without the correct safety equipment and applicable training, falling from the roof while installing a solar power system is a real probability.  Even falling from a single-story house can lead to serious injury – it just isn’t worth the risk.

Electrocution is a constant possibility when working with electrical equipment, and especially when connecting wires.  A solar panel produces electricity as it is exposed to sunlight; any exposed wires connected to the panels have the ability to electrocute the installer. Again, this type of work needs to be done by a professional.

If a solar power system installation is faulty, there is a risk of it catching on fire.  Many examples exist of solar panel systems going up in flames and destroying homes, such was the case in Australia before certain standards were introduced.  If a solar power system is incorrectly installed, both the solar power system and the home is at risk of serious damage and at worse, going up in flames.

Solar Panel Fire In Australia

The Paper Work for Solar Installations Is Not Easy (Or Fun)

Lines companies and select councils may require consent forms to be filled out, so that’s another reason for professional help. They fill in the forms that might otherwise be confusing, time consuming and headache inducing. The installers have the whole process streamlined. 

Technical details are often required by lines companies before a system’s install.  For the casual punter this can be overwhelming, and they risk being declined if the systems information isn’t correct.

A small number of councils around New Zealand will require consent, and again the technical specifications can be an onerous task depending on which council you fall under, so best be in touch with the professionals.

Electrical Codes and Standards

All components of a solar power system will need to meet certain Australia/New Zealand electrical standards. Qualified tradespeople know these standards like the back of their hand.  Dozens of components go into installing a solar power system; from solar panels to solar cable, mounting rails and clamps.  Anyone pursuing a DIY solar project will have a lot of homework to do to ensure the solar components are compliant with New Zealand’s electrical and safety standards.

Inverter Compliance

An inverter used in a grid connected solar power system must meet the standards AS/NZS 3000 and AS 4777.1. Installing a grid connected solar inverter is categorised as high-risk prescribed electrical work (PEW) and requires certification and a record of inspection.  Learn more about this from Worksafe NZ.

Solar inverter installation in garage

The Inverter Warranty Will Be Void

If the system is not installed to the original manufacturer’s instructions, then the warranty will be voided. To find out if an inverters manufacturer has a requirement for the inverter’s installation (and who installs it), the information will be found in the warranty document, which can often be found online.

When Is DIY Solar A Good Idea?

We never recommend DIY for a solar power system on a home or building.  There could be a few scenarios where buying a ‘plug and play’ solar power kit would be advisable, such as solar kits for RV’s or camping.  The Goal Zero range, for example, offers foolproof ‘plug and play’ solar gear.

In most cases however, DIY solar is not a good idea, leave it to the professionals to save you time, money and your own safety.  My Solar Quotes can help you find quality solar professionals to install solar power on your home or building, by filling in our online form we will get 3 quality solar professionals to provide you with quotes for your solar power system request.

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