People keep asking about solar kits



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.