• Do your homework. Study Home Power articles, books, websites, manufacturer literature, etc. Take courses and workshops. Find others who have installed their own PV systems and study their designs, successes, and failures.
• Build a quality team. Find the expertise you need to support your DIY effort. Your equipment supplier will be a key part of this team. You also may lean on industry consultants, teachers, colleagues, friends, neighbors, and solar groups.
• Take your time. Tackling a one-time project is risky, and it’s more dangerous if you’re in a hurry. The many DIY projects we’ve done have taught us that mistakes on slower and longer projects allow time for learning. Mistakes on quickly planned and implemented projects tend to multiply, because you don’t have time to reflect on them, correct them while they are small, and learn from them.
• Document. Keep track of your design, the component specs and warranties, and installation progress and details. This will set you up for any troubleshooting needed, and will also give you information and expertise to share with others who may be interested in copying your success.
The more you understand about your PV system’s design and operation, the better, whether you choose to go it alone, enlist the help of a pro at some level, or sit back and let the masters take care of things.