Solar from Full-Service Company, from Scratch, or from a Kit

July 29, 2023

Despite what door-to-door sales reps might say, you have options when it comes to choosing how you do your solar and who you do it with.

One of our core beliefs here at DIY Solar is that you deserve transparency and control when it comes to how you power your home.

Control your solar energy
Provided by Giphy

Hence, the purpose of this article is to show you your options as it relates to how you can install solar, including the pros and cons to each.

These options include: 1) Going with a traditional full-service solar company, 2) Building from scratch, or 3) Doing it yourself from a kit.

Let’s walk through these.

Solar From a Full-Service Company

You’re probably familiar with what this looks like.

It usually starts with a door-to-door sales rep knocking on your door and telling you about the benefits of installing solar.

They then set up a follow-up meeting for you to get a quote and ask any questions you might have.

With that quote in hand, it’s then on you to pull the trigger and move forward in the process.

They will do a site inspection, do a preliminary design with you, get the engineering set, work on permitting with the city, and sourcing the items for the install.

Then, of course, it is wrapped up with an install crew spending a few days installing and setting up your system properly.

And voila! You’re now running on green energy.

Minimal involvement on your part, but a fairly big bill to pay.

Since there are a lot of these types of companies out there, make sure to shop around, get multiple quotes, and understand how well rated they are.


  • Minimal involvement
  • Install done by professionals
  • Up and live in short amount of time


  • Big expense with lots of middlemen
  • Little control or transparency
  • Not given a chance to see other options

Solar From Scratch

This is on the other side of the spectrum from a full-service company.

We’re talking about forging the solar panels with your bare hands.

Making solar panels yourself
Image Provided by Giphy

Just kidding, that’s not what we are talking about and it’s not that intense.

But it will require you doing a lot of research and selecting your items by hand. This includes sourcing the panels, the inverters, the racking, combiner boxes, and all the other nuts and bolts needed to pull the whole thing together.

It will also entail you finding a designer and an engineer to get the plan set, working with the city to get the permits, and doing the final install yourself.

It’s a lot of work, but you get ultimate control and the satisfaction of having built it yourself.


  • Control over the process and materials
  • Cheapest option available
  • Satisfaction of having done it yourself


  • Time intensive, both for research and sourcing
  • Labor intensive for install
  • Could lead to major headaches if not done right

Solar From a Kit

This is an option you probably haven’t heard much about.

A few companies, including DIY Solar, offer you the ability to install solar from a kit.

This process entails you finding the kit company online, getting a quote, submitting some site pictures, working on a city permit, and installing once it arrives.

The kit company will usually provide the engineering and design as well as the materials needed to get all set up. There is often some educational content for install as well. Note though, that you might need to get some materials on your own.

There are also some kit providers out there that have a long list of kits on their website, but don’t help you know how to pick and size your system properly and leave you on your own when it comes to engineering and design.

No matter who you go with though, it will require you to have some basic handyman skills and will take a bit more work on your part than a full-service company, but you save some big money along the way.


  • Half the price of a full-service company
  • Reduces the need to source materials yourself
  • Control and satisfaction that comes from building it yourself


  • Will require some skill and a few days of labor
  • You have to take care of city permitting
  • Will take about one month from purchase before the system is live

About DIY Solar

As mentioned, and as our name suggests, we help you do solar yourself!

Not from scratch, but from a kit.

We provide you the materials, engineering, and design necessary to get your system up and running.

And along the way, you save $1,000’s (about $15,000 on average!) by cutting out the middlemen involved in traditional full-service companies.

As we mentioned earlier though, some kit companies don’t provide ALL the things you need to get your system running, and we are one of those companies (i.e., there are some things you will need to source yourself).

We tell you this because 1) transparency is important to us, and 2) we want you to understand why.

The reason why is because it ends up being cheaper and faster for you, our beloved customer.

We love our customers
Provided by Giphy

If we sourced and packed all the long-tail of items you need, it would make our operations much more complex and would cause us to need to push on higher costs to you; higher than what it would cost for you to swing by Home Depot and pick up the items yourself. It would also run the risk of us being out of stock for one specific part and then delaying your shipment by a few weeks.

You will find that this is the same with most solar kit companies, but they will never tell you why.

One thing you’ll also notice about other solar kit companies is that despite their claim of doing solar yourself, they will always push you to get install done by one of their partners! This only serves to line their pockets by them getting referral fees.

Our default is to always have you install yourself, keeping the savings and the satisfaction of building with your own two hands.

If you are interested, we would encourage you to get a free solar quote from us, read our other articles, and contact us with any questions!

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