More and more solar “kits” are showing up at home improvement stores and on Internet web sites, and we regularly get questions about them. Here’s an example:
We’re seeing a number of solar kits being offered for sale at the local home improvement stores at what look to be pretty good prices. Are these kits a good deal, and do you install them?
They’re not, and we don’t. Here’s why:
- Those “pretty good prices” result from two primary factors, both of which can cost you, short-term and in the long run.
- The first major reason for the pricing is that typical solar kits are missing many of the components you need for a complete, code-compliant, turn-key solar system – components like racking, disconnects, different types of wire, and all kinds of what are called Balance of System components. To turn this solar kit into a solar system, you will have to buy those components, and know what the right components are to be code compliant. (Solar system configurations are specialized). And hopefully hire a professional installer to install everything.
- Another reason is that the components the kits contain are products that we would never recommend. We design systems using best-of-class components that feature industry-leading warranties and exceptional independent lab test results. A residential solar system is a 25-year home improvement. Over that time span, the cost difference per year becomes marginal.
- One kit can’t fit all buildings. The variables are many. Roof type, roof material, pitch, truss or rafter composition and spans, etc. While a professional solar evaluation of your home or commercial building can tell you what kind of system best fits your needs, a generic kit can’t possibly do that. “One size fits all” usually doesn’t.