I'm new to stack exchange, so ... feel free to ask for clarification, as many posters seem to be rather vague on their questions, from what I've seen.

A little background: I'm a recent graduate in Electronics Engineering, just got my master's straight out of undergrad school... Aka I have no experience outside of academia. In case that's useless info ignore it :)

My question is... Given that I have some background in electrical engineering (80% similar courses in college as an undergrad), and the fact that I have a desire to install a photovoltaic generation system in my own home, would it be realistic for me to learn how to and design it myself,granted I have no background experience with such systems, but wouldn't mind studying them? If so, could someone give me guidance as how to proceed? I'm actually familiar both with the load characteristics and the bloody characteristics of inverters and such.... Power electronics systems

Reasoning:recently the electricity prices have been soaring... M hence any form of generation is welcome,.... But companies charge for electrical engineer's man hours... Well, I AM an ee, even if I'm not an experienced one... So... Could I install it myself, or at least design it myself and have some electricians help. Me implement it? (and maybe lower the costs)

Or am I just tripping?

In case implementing my own design is actually a realistic way to save money, on my case, what sort of reading / can I courses would you recommend? Otherwise, can I ask what is the cheapest way to get some clean energy generation at home right now? Also, how do I proceed about acquiring such a generation system?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I really doubt you could do it cheaper yourself. Not because you design it yourself but because mass production is the one thing that really reduces the costs. So even as experienced EE engineer I would use my knowledge to analyse the marker and see which commercial system I would buy and install. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oldfart
    Mar 14, 2020 at 10:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Besides the difficulty of designing and building it yourself, your finished system won't be UL listed (or whatever standards your country uses.) That'll be a problem when getting home owner's insurance - or, worse, getting the insurance to pay out if something happens to your house. \$\endgroup\$
    – JRE
    Mar 14, 2020 at 11:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ You trippin. Supposing you remember eveything they threw your way in college, you still gotta meet code. That's the rules that the electricians play by. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jasen
    Mar 14, 2020 at 11:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Concentrate on your most profitable skills to earn money to pay for something that you’d spend far too long at when you could be earning the dollar to pay for it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Mar 14, 2020 at 11:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Does your degree qualify you to sign off on the safety of a power system? In the US it absolutely doesn't. I believe in some other countries it could, or that you would only need to take one additional exam to have that qualification. \$\endgroup\$
    – The Photon
    Mar 14, 2020 at 15:51

1 Answer 1


It depends what level of 'design' you want to go for.

If you want to design the circuits of the inverters, then it would be an interesting and long learning exercise for you, and the result, in a year or two's time, would be more expensive and almost certainly inferior to anything you could buy.

If you want to choose panels, inverters etc from a catalogue, install them and wire them together, then you may achieve a cost saving over having professionals do it, but not a time saving. Make sure you understand the specifications of what you want to buy very thoroughly.

Although your completed system could then run your house, you would be unlikely to be able to sell any surplus power to the grid. Your grid connection supplier would only agree to pay you for power if the equipment was to a certain code, and the metering installation had been done by approved vendors. With most people, the principal payback of a home solar system is sale of surplus power, not replacement of imported power, so you'd be missing out out on a sizeable chunk of any revenue if you went DIY. You might find an agreeable and qualified solar installer who is happy to let you do some of the installation yourself, but you can't expect too much discount, as their workload and risk increases through having to verify your work.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not only that, but solar trips a whole pile of the 'add more regulations' rules in most countries. It involves: mains voltage wiring, generation (backfeeding etc.), mains parallel generation (islanding issues), PV (isolation issues), non-ELV DC (arcing concerns), PV again (zero fault current so protection won't operate) etc. Even an off-the-shelf system is something of a regulatory pain. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 14, 2020 at 11:57

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