- JerryRigEverything is a great tech review pro, but he is no solar professional.
- The fact that he stands and walks on solar panels clearly suggests he has no idea how fragile the solar cells in those panels are.
- No one in the video is wearing fall arrest gear. Do they think the roof is too low they can't fall? Just terrible!
JerryRigEverything is a great tech review pro, but he is no solar professional.
The fact that he stands and walks on solar panels, with his full weight, clearly suggests he has no idea how fragile the panels are. In another part of the video (around 9:31), you can clearly see another guy kneeling on the panels.
Solar cells crack easily when you walk or kneel on them. But when they’re packaged in the module, it can be impossible to see this damage. Learn more in this video from NREL.
Also, no one in the video is wearing fall arrest gear. Maybe they think the roof is too low they can’t fall!
With the necessary criticism of the chaotic DIY installation process out of the way, let’s look at the numbers.
Jerry says he installed an 8.06kw solar panel system. It cost him $13,300 (before incentives). With the federal incentive for 2020 (26% tax credit) and his state tax credit ($1600) it brought the cost down to $8,243.
His energy costs are approx $0.11 per kWh on average. Using a solar calculator he was able to project that the system will generate about 12,000 kWh per year. Which is about $1,319 worth of energy. His system will ‘pay itself off‘ in about 6.2 years with incentives, which would have been 10 years without the incentives.
Over 30 years, the panels will generate around $35,000 dollars worth of energy—that is, if they haven’t already been damaged with all standing and kneeling.
Yes, he definitely will be introduced to micro-cracks and snail trails in the future. Wholesale Solar must of forgot to include the handling and installation guid from Next Energy Alliance, or he didn’t read it. Other points:
-Looks like the microinverter plugs and the module plugs are mismatched. That’s a no no.
-Some modules are mounted upside down. No wire ever should enter from the top of an outdoor Jbox, this includes modules. Seen many filled with water. Sideways or Jbox on top ONLY, EVER.
-Also does not understand the difference between the module warranty and retained future generation. Although after thoroughly walking on all of them he will likely get down to as low as 70% in a few years.
Solar Wholesale out to be embarrassed by this affiliation…….
Maybe an attempt at explaining the chaos is the thought that the panels are his and the roof is his. You wouldn’t walk on someone else’s solar panels and you wouldn’t want to fall off of someone’s else roof–but your own? Eh…!
Ok, yes the criticisms are warranted to a point, but the arguments are flawed.
So let us look at the two complaints in the article.
Walking on the solar panels. Yes, one should heavily avoid walking or putting any undo weight on the panels even new ones (the video in one of the comments is 100 years ago in solar development). There are solar panels specifically built to be walked on. If I was a betting man though and in the documentation there is a line about not walking on the panels, I would say somewhere along the deal someone told him something like: “these new panels are so strong you can walk on them”. Extra money that it was a sales rep. The cardinal sin trusting a sales rep’s word. Sadly, we tend to trust people words, but if have dealt with enough of them you realize they will expand upon the truth to get the sale. Always get things in writing before you begin to trust them. But we also can’t write off that Next Energy Alliance Panels cannot be walked on.
Not using fall arrest gear. This is just funny. I wanted to argue more on behalf for this, but the mongering in the article was just too much. Sure using PPE on the roof isn’t a horrible idea and is a safe idea, but in this situation it is not required. He (as a home owner) nor the people he had helping him (independent contractors) are required to use them and do so at their own risk. He even mentions in the first part of the video to be careful at your own risk as he had even fallen of the same roof earlier putting up Christmas lights. Basically this boils down to a choice. Welcome to do it yourself.
In conclusion neither argument stands as a reason to say solar must only be installed by a professional. Both just make the point that education is important and ultimately you can choose. I get a sense that the author was looking for criticisms and really had to dig. Personally I have found myself to be highly competent and love learning how to something myself. I am looking at solar being installed for me at $47k. $25k if I do it. I wonder what I will choose as I get the tax credits either way and my states doesn’t care as long as I go through the permit process.