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Your Solar Journey

When investigating your options for installing solar, it’s important to understand the steps throughout the project, from assessment to installation all the way to powering your home with your own energy. 

One detail that is easy to overlook is the type of company you do business with when purchasing your solar system. There are different kinds and it’s important to look into each to determine which strategy helps you get your solar, your way. We’ll be discussing each type and then walking you through each step of what your solar journey might look like when you team up with us.

Types of Solar Companies

Historically, many solar companies have tried to be one stop shops. This has proved very difficult and has caused many to go under or file bankruptcy. There has been a lot of consolidation in the solar industry trying to figure out the best business model. The main business models that have emerged as of now are the following:

Sales groups

Pretty much everyone has encountered a solar salesperson knocking on their door. Solar has quickly become the latest and greatest door-to-door sales job. Literally, everyone is jumping on the band wagon. This is a relatively easy model as sales groups typically work on commission only for their sales reps and don’t do any of the installation process.

While this model has created greater exposure to solar, it has caused a lot of issues as well. Most of these door-to-door sales reps are not very knowledgeable in solar and spread a lot of misinformation and cause confusion. Many of them don’t understand the solar installation process, know how the tax credits work, and will often only compare your monthly power bill to your monthly solar loan payment. These solar loan programs are generally filled with hidden fees, as high as 25% of the system cost. Does this sound like the last time you bought a car? They are also prone to push you into the equipment, financing option, and installer that makes them the most money.

Sales companies work with installation companies where the installation company will give them a “redline” of how much they will charge for a typical install. The sales rep is then incentivized to sell the solar system for as much as possible above that redline. Whatever they sell above that redline is their commission. Many of these reps can make as much as $10,000 or more on a single solar sale.

This is not to say that there are not reputable solar sales companies out there with honest and hard-working sales reps. Unfortunately there are many that have given the solar industry a bad name. It is important to be aware of how they make their money and get multiple quotes to compare.

Installation Groups

Installation groups, also known as EPC contractors (Engineering, Procurement, Construction) typically work with sales groups to find jobs to install.  Sometimes they will have a small “inside sales” teams to field calls from customers, but usually depend on sales groups to feed them solar contracts to install. 

Depending on the arrangement with the sales group, they will engineer/design your solar project, apply for your permit and net meter, buy equipment from manufacturers/distributors and schedule their trained contractors to install the equipment on your house or building. Sometimes they will also apply for state and local solar incentives. 

They determine a price per watt for their EPC services as a redline which includes a markup on equipment purchased, labor, and overhead. The sales group takes this price per watt, adds their own costs and margin, and then comes up with the price of the solar system. Sounds like a lot of mouths to feed, huh?  That’s because it is!

All in one

Working with all-in-one solar companies that try to take care of everything under one roof might sound convenient, but most have a hard time managing everything. Running a construction business and a sales business as one business isn’t easy and has been the cause for many to go under. Those that haven’t, tend to shift their focus to the model they are best at. You’re bound to deal with sales reps who may not always have the most accurate information or your best interest at heart. You also don’t want to share the cost of these solar companies’ large overhead.  

Self Solar Is a New Type of Solar Company

We have been in the solar industry for years. We have seen firsthand the good, the bad, and the ugly. Historically the solar industry has been volatile with a lot of ups and downs. We have seen out of control spending by owners and poorly managed companies by inexperienced leaders. Solar has quickly become a door-to-door sales mecca with a ‘get rich quick’ mentality. Traditional solar companies are pushing the envelope to differentiate themselves by promising long term workmanship warranties and other unreasonable incentives. We have seen huge companies go under and file for bankruptcy, leaving behind a mess for customers and employees alike. For example, if a company goes under in the middle of your solar project (which can take months), any funds or deposits are gone, and customers are left with no solar equipment and money that has already been spent. Customers are also left without support or warranties that they were promised.

This is why we are putting together a new Self Solar business model. Our model mitigates the risk to the customer and puts you in control. We have chosen an ecommerce platform to keep overhead and costs low. This allows us to provide clear and accurate information on our website vs the back-and-forth misinformation and misrepresentation so often provided by the traditional solar companies. We pass along wholesale pricing, direct from manufacturers, and ship it to your door.  This puts the equipment in your possession and allows you to use our tools and resources for the installation method of your choice. This eliminates the possibility of you losing your investment before the solar system is working. 

When you work with Self Solar, we take a traditionally complex product and make things easy and simple for you. Easy to research, easy to evaluate, easy to purchase, and easy to install.

DIY Solar with Us

Doing solar your way means you are in control and make your own decisions through the solar journey. As your solar partner, we handle the difficult aspects of the solar journey for you. This allows you to choose what’s best for you, save money, and mitigate the risks associated with traditional solar. The three major steps with Self Solar are Your Solar Assessment, Purchasing Your Self Solar Kit, and Installation.

Your Solar Assessment

It all starts with a complete Solar Assessment with us. We’ll look at your rooftop designs, reference your utility bills and power needs, and examine any local codes for your area. Once the assessment is through, we’ll advise you on exactly what your solar project needs according to your energy usage and goals before helping you with the design of your very own solar system.

Designing your solar system the right way is crucial to your success. Even though you might have enough space on your roof, some states and utility companies have system size limits depending on how much energy your house consumes annually. Those size limits tend to vary a lot and can be a bit complicated.

We also design your system based on your local fire codes.  These codes determine fire setbacks or the distances that solar panels may not be located in order to provide firefighters with easy access to your roof.

The very first system design we’ll provide to you will usually match your usage. If your utility lets you have a system that generates more than 100% of your yearly electrical usage, then we will accommodate you accordingly. Please note that we’ll require records of your electrical usage over the past 12 months to design your system the right way.

Self Solar uses advanced solar design software and will generate an exact image of your project site with aerial images. This lets the designers position your solar panels strategically and advantageously depending on irradiance—the amount of light striking any given area of a surface. Our designers will also consider time-of-use net metering rates and optimize your solar system. You can rely on our expertise to help you make sure your solar panels’ design is ideal.

At the moment, we offer three main Self Solar kits displayed in the chart below. Each line item within a kit will have 2 or 3 manufacturer options depending on supply chain, availability, and pricing.

If you would like to know the specific components and manufacturers for your kit, please complete a Solar Assessment here.

You can choose between one of the three Self Solar kits we’re currently offering!

Purchasing Your Self Solar Kit

1. Economic

It’s built around the price without affecting the quality. We find the best products at the most competitive prices.

In fact, many of the major components we include in our Economic kit are used by traditional solar companies and trusted by many customers around the world today. Most solar panel and component warranties and efficiencies will be similar to the Standard Kit.

2. Standard

It provides the latest products without the premium price. This is your middle-of-the-road, the best bang for your buck kit.

It includes Tier 1 solar panels and name-brand solar equipment with ample features, industry-standard warranties, more stable manufacturing companies, and customer service. The solar panels are highly efficient, but not usually the latest release, as the pricing for newly released solar panels are usually the most expensive (much like cell phones). It’s still great equipment and value for your money!

3. Premium

The Premium kit is all about the latest and greatest in technology, efficiencies, warranties, customer support, and the manufacturing company’s financial stability. This is for customers who are willing and able to pay a premium price for the top-of-the-line equipment.

Each Self Solar kit optimally integrates all the equipment you need in a specific price range.

If there are any specific components or pieces of equipment you would like to add to your kit, please let us know at Please note that this may result in a change of the overall price for your kit. We are always here to empower you to go solar your way.

Self Solar strives to stay ahead of the market and assist our customers in the best way possible.

Permit Sets with Every Kit

Depending on location, you may need a building permit, an electrical permit, or both. You’ll also require a permit for connecting your solar panels to the grid. This is an exciting time to check with your utility about which billing agreement (net metering, feed in tariff, or net billing) is available in your area.  Contact your utility for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding billing agreements and the application process.

As a part of every kit, Self Solar offers a full permit set that you will turn in to your local jurisdiction. The permit set includes stamped, if required, electrical engineering drawings, stamped structural engineering drawings, and free revisions if requested by the municipality.

1. Electrical engineering (stamped, if required)

Electrical engineering of your solar system ensures that your wiring is up to code and meets all the safety requirements and regulations. For example, it includes such factors as grounding equipment, which provides a well-defined, low-resistance path from your system to the ground to save it from current surges that may occur from lightning strikes or equipment malfunctions. It also stabilizes voltages and provides a common reference point.

2. Structural engineering (stamped)

This is a very important step that includes following the code requirements, avoiding building system failures, assessing the condition of the roof structure, integrity inspection, proper loading for solar panels and weather conditions, mechanics of materials, effects of roof slope, etc. With Self Solar, you’re always in good hands!

3. Free revisions

Please note that six months of unlimited free revisions to electrical and structural engineering are included in each kit. We will adjust various factors based on your utility’s policies, your own requirements, and discoveries, as many times as it takes to satisfy the local jurisdiction issuing your permit.

After receiving the stamped permit set, the next step is to fill out the permit application and submit it. Please contact your municipality for the most up-to-date process.  Have complete peace of mind and confidence in your solar journey, thanks to our expertise.


You are in complete control of the installation method you use.  When you don’t want to deal with installation yourself, Self Solar will give you access to a comprehensive database to find the best installers in your area that are certified for your specific solar equipment.

If you feel comfortable installing part of your solar system, like the roof portion of the install but not the electrical tie-in, you can complete that part of the project and use our resources to help you find and hire a pro for the rest.

If you’re up for a full DIY installation, you can use our various tools and resources to feel confident in completing your project your way.

The best part is when you work with Self Solar, whether you choose to have a professional install all of it, some of it, or none of it, you will still save money.

Other Methods of Saving Costs

When you buy your solar, your way, there are tasks you can opt to do in order to save money. If you feel comfortable taking charge and working on phases of the project yourself, that choice is yours to make. If you find yourself stuck at any particular step, there are resources and experts you can lean on to continue the installation.

Applying for Permits – Self Solar provides you with a full permit set that you will turn in to your local jurisdiction. Never worry about the proper solar documentation again! You will need to contact your local jurisdiction to double check where and how to deliver these as well as to find out how long it will take for them to approve your permits. This is typically done through an online process.

Apply for Net Meter Agreements – After applying for a permit from your local jurisdiction, you will want to complete and apply for a net meter, feed in tariff, or net billing agreement.  The majority of these can be done online, but every utility company will have a different process, steps, and documentation to get started.  You will need to contact your utility for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding the application process.

Arrange for final inspection – After your solar system is installed, you will need to have an inspection to receive permission to turn your system on. Once you have a passed inspection from your local municipality, you can turn your system on! The final touch is to set up your solar monitoring through your inverter monitoring system. We will provide instructions from your inverter manufacturer to make this process simple.

Finishing Your Solar Journey

By this point, you’ll know everything there is about your unique solar system and how it fits in your budget and on your grid. Not only will you have saved money throughout the process, but you will have accomplished a project that few solar customers get their hands on. With Self Solar, we want you informed and enabled to find the best solution to your solar needs—and then pursue it with all the support you require.

Already know what you need? Ready to get started?
Order your Self Solar Kit today.