Home solar power kits are excellent projects for people who enjoy do-it-yourself (DIY) jobs. All kits have the same basic configuration which includes a solar panel, charge controller, batteries & an optional inverter. However, the size of the bits and pieces will determine the amount of assembly necessary.
Solar power kits vary in the amount of assembly that is required, which in turn affects the price. In general, the more construction that is required by the end-customer, the cheaper the price. What you save in equipment costs will be made up for in installation time. If owners have the aptitude and can keep their frustration in check, kits are a good way to help reduce the up-front cost of solar power systems for homes.
Basic kits are less configurable and are the easiest to install. All major pieces come pre-assembled and the DIY-er just has to install and connect the large pieces. The panels come already weatherized and the charge controller is rated appropriately for the given kit but may limit the expansion capabilities in the future. Batteries are usually sold separately as these heavy loads are expensive to ship.
The advanced kits usually require more planning and assembly but are highly configurable for homes. The solar power system can be specifically tailored to the application and built to meet the estimated power requirement. Assembly of these kits may involve soldering electrical connections to solar cells and connecting multiple charge controllers to maximize power output. This work is usually done in the factory but customers can save money by doing these tedious tasks themselves.
If you have decided to go ahead with solar power, consider the following before purchasing a kit:
Home solar power kits can save the homeowner money by allowing the owner to do more of the assembly and installation. Fitting the pieces together is not hard for an regular do-it-yourselfer, and does not require one to be a trained technician. But having some mechanical aptitude and confidence will help homeowners construct a solar power system at a lower price.