Can You Install Solar Panels Yourself? Written by Josh Jackman Updated on 5 June 2023 ✔ DIY solar panel installations cost around £3,000 more than hiring a professional✔ Installing your own panels can lead to inferior results, or even injury✔ Fill in the form above for solar panel quotes from trusted specialistsWe understand why you want to buy solar panels. They can reduce your monthly energy bills by nearly 50%, the cost of solar panels has fallen by an enormous 70% since 2010, and you’d be helping to fight climate change.And installing them yourself makes sense too, at first. After all, it must be cheaper, right?No. In fact, it’s generally more expensive – and it could be dangerous. Just like brain surgery, rhythmic gymnastics, and climbing Everest without oxygen, solar panel installation should only be attempted by experienced professionals.So if you want trusted experts to provide you with free, bespoke quotes for your solar system, just complete this form. Where do you want to install solar panels? Roof Ground Both Other / not sure Get started What's on this page? 01 Can you make your own solar panels? 02 Can you install solar panels yourself? 03 The cost of installing your own solar panels 04 Pros and cons of DIY solar panels 05 Is making your own solar panel system ever a good idea? 06 Solar panel installation: 7 reasons to go professional 07 Summary Can you make your own solar panels?Technically, yes. But if you haven’t been trained in electrical engineering, it’s a long, complicated, expensive process – which could still end with you hiring an expert to do it anyway. Can you install solar panels yourself?Yes – but not to the standard you’d ideally want, and probably not to the standard expected by the government for beneficiaries of the Smart Export Guarantee.Meanwhile, the dangers of setting up your own solar panel system are clear and present. 17% of people who attempt DIY projects cause themselves injuries, according to a MyJobQuote survey – and when you’re high up on a ladder or roof, carrying a cumbersome 40lb solar panel, the risks facing an untrained engineer are too high for comfort. Step-by-step guideAssuming you’re completely sure you want to embark on this project, you’ll need to first decide what kind of solar panel system you want. If you’re planning on living off the grid, you’ll need an off-grid system – which makes sense, really.This requires you to buy a solar charge controller (to prevent overcharging and the current flowing backwards), a battery bank, two DC disconnects, an off-grid inverter, and a backup generator (to guard against power shortages).Otherwise, your best choice is to set up a grid-tie system, which is the most common kind. This means you’ll still be connected to the national grid, allowing you to draw power from it when needed, and sell your surplus energy during the summer months.To go down this path, you’ll need a grid-tie solar inverter to convert direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC), micro inverters or a string inverter to power your own home, and a meter to measure how much energy goes to and from the grid.Next, decide the quantity and size of the solar panels you want (or can afford). You’ll generally need around 12-16 solar panels – which equates to a 3.5 kWh system – to power a three-bedroom house.Then all you have to do is set up the circuitry. This should ideally be carried out by a trained electrician, or you’ll risk electrocuting yourself and doing damage to your home’s wiring.Next, you’ll have to carry your panels up a ladder and mount them – an extremely dangerous process which involves hoisting long, 40lb blocks. Imagine lifting a microwave over your head while a dozen metres above the ground, balancing on a ladder.All that’s left after that is to install the inverter and disconnects.Even if you’re able to do this all yourself, you’ll still need to ask an electrician to check your work – before getting a Microgeneration Certification Scheme-accredited engineer to do the same – so you can qualify for the Smart Export Guarantee.And with 69% of people telling our latest National Home Energy Survey that they're likely or very likely to buy or rent a property with solar panels, we're sure to see more people attempting to install their own solar panels. Where do you want to install solar panels? Roof Ground Both Other / not sure Get started The cost of installing your own solar panelsBuying your own materials for a grid-tied system – the type you’ll want, unless you’re abandoning society for a life in the woods – will cost around £10,828.This is an expensive outlay, especially when you consider that the goods you buy may not be up to scratch if you get them from unreliable sources.Piece of equipmentPrice14 solar panels£7,58814 micro inverters£2,660Grid-tie solar inverter£500Meter£402 disconnects/circuit breakers£40It doesn’t help that, as with any technical field, the world of solar power is a difficult area to learn about as you go. This increases the chances of making costly mistakes.The costs above don’t include your planning permission application, which you may have to pay for – and if your time is money, you should take into account the hours you’ll be spending on research, decision-making, and installing your DIY solar panels. Pros and cons of DIY solar panels Pros Initially cheaper to install – if everything goes perfectly Cons You’ll still need an engineer to get your panels certified for the Smart Export Guarantee More likely to need repairs and replacement Any mistakes can be expensive DIY solar panels often won’t last 25 years, and therefore won’t benefit you as much The weight, height, and electrical nature of the work makes installation very dangerous When incorrectly installed, panels can burn your home down or fall through the roof No warranty if you get it wrong Is making your own solar panel system ever a good idea?If you’re an electrical engineer, or a specialist in the field of solar energy, and you’re intimately familiar with everything we’ve discussed above, then you may be well-positioned to embark on your DIY solar panel journey.Otherwise, if you’re simply a homeowner wondering (understandably) if you can save a bit of cash by hooking up your own power supply, you’d be best suited to hire a trusted specialist to do it for you.After all, the cost of buying the solar system and setting it up is, on average, around £3,000 more expensive if you do it yourself. Expert quote The design and installation of solar PV systems require a high level of skill and expertise. If you try to do it yourself, there’s a high risk you could injure yourself or others, especially if you're working at height. You could even burn your house down and invalidate your home insurance. Chris Roberts Co-founder of the MCS Chris was a member of the original management team that then developed and launched MCS, and has been heavily involved in MCS ever since as Chair of several technical working groups, as representative of the Solar Trade Association on the Steering Group, and more recently as a Director of the MCS Service Company Ltd. Solar panel installation: 7 reasons to go professional1. Significantly cheaper2. Only way to guarantee quality3. Much less dangerous4. You could qualify for the Smart Export Guarantee5. Less likely to spend £ on repairs and replacements6. You’ll need a professional to check your work anyway7. Higher quality equipment SummaryWith a professional installation, you’re likely to get better and cheaper materials, a quicker process, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing your panels are safely attached.Nothing puts a dampener on your green revolution like 40lb slabs of silicon falling through your roof in the middle of the night.All these benefits should also make your solar panels cheaper in the long run, as they’ll be more effective and less in need of replacement or repair – and if they do need maintenance, you should have a warranty to fall back on.If you’d like to receive bespoke quotes from one of these trusted solar specialists, fill in this form.FAQs Can I legally install solar panels myself? Yes, you can legally install solar panels on your roof. However, we wouldn’t recommend it, as it’ll be riskier to carry out the installation for both yourself and your property. The key reason why installers have to undergo lots of training before becoming qualified is because it involves a lot of expert knowledge. Without this level of expertise, the installation could be done poorly – and without safety knowledge, you could end up injuring yourself. If you’re still determined to give DIY solar panels a go, it’s worth reaching out to MCS-accredited engineers in your area to see if any are willing to certify your DIY installation. But bear in mind that most will be reluctant to do so. What permission do I need to install solar panels UK? Most homeowners won’t need to apply for any planning permission when installing solar panels. However, you might need to apply for some permissions if you want to install solar panels on a block of flats or a listed property. You’ll also need to apply for planning permission to install a solar panel system that protrudes more than 20cm from the external surface of the wall or roof. How many solar panels does it take to power a house? The number of solar panels a homeowner will need depends on the size of the property and the amount of electricity the household consumes. For context, the average one-bedroom house needs six solar panels, whilst a typical three-bedroom house requires 10 panels.It’s worth noting that solar panels will produce enough electricity to cover 46% of an average household's annual usage – or more if you pair them with a battery.You can find out more about this in our helpful guide: How Many Solar Panels Do I Need For My Home? Written by: Josh Jackman Lead Writer Josh has written about eco-friendly home improvements and climate change for the past four years. His work has been displayed on the front page of the Financial Times, he's been interviewed by BBC One's Rip-Off Britain, and he regularly features in The Telegraph and on BBC Radio.