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Looking for solar panel roof top installer - Marin County, California

Captain Kirk

New Member
Joined
May 13, 2023
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Marin County, California
Hi,

I've tried with two local solar companies for this, but the project is too small and they are not interested. Yay, they are busy and this is good all the way around, right?....boo, I'm physically unable to do this myself and in limbo.

I do not have the panels yet, so I'm open for the installer to acquire and install and run wires all the way to a j-box. Looking to install about 1700 watts and run to a Victron 250V/60A MPPT that I haven't bought yet as well. Hoping to keep it simple and run panels in series. This is for an off grid system.

Thanks!
Kirk
 
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That sounds par for the course for the Bay Area if you're a homeowner and not a solar installer with a rolodex of subcontractors. If you go through a company that does turnkey residential systems they REALLY don't want to do projects the way as you described.

I have 25 panels coming in this week and plans in review. If I can't do the install myself I plan to contact something like Project Solar or asking around to learn how subcontractor brokers work to try to get access to people working on this.

Another approach (legally kosher in California) is to get yourself set up with worker's comp / other stuff necessary to be a owner builder GC, and then somehow directly hire workers from solar companies.
 
Did you try SunWorks non-profit? They will do pretty small systems though having gone through their training the hardware would not be standard for them. They seem to need to optimize for simplicity etc to make their organization work.

You can also get owner builder workers comp & liability insurance and hire helpers as employees. This is a super common way of setting up for remodeling as a homeowner in the Bay Area so asking on Nextdoor or at your work should net a lot of help on how to do that.
 
Did you try SunWorks non-profit? They will do pretty small systems though having gone through their training the hardware would not be standard for them. They seem to need to optimize for simplicity etc to make their organization work.

You can also get owner builder workers comp & liability insurance and hire helpers as employees. This is a super common way of setting up for remodeling as a homeowner in the Bay Area so asking on Nextdoor or at your work should net a lot of help on how to do that.
Thanks Zanydroid, I will look into SunWorks! At this time I'm not interested in acquiring insurance....
 
Couple of ideas:
1) visit your local permit office, and ask about really recent solar applications. Drive by, and when you see them installing, stop and ask if they would do your place. Might be a sub-contractor.
2) use sol-ark installer finder. Maybe one of the lower tiers (not as many installs), would do it.
3) ask sol-ark is there are any new installer applications in your area.

I'm guessing you want 6 panels series. Do you have room to ground mount yourself?
 
Couple of ideas:
1) visit your local permit office, and ask about really recent solar applications. Drive by, and when you see them installing, stop and ask if they would do your place. Might be a sub-contractor.
2) use sol-ark installer finder. Maybe one of the lower tiers (not as many installs), would do it.
3) ask sol-ark is there are any new installer applications in your area.

I'm guessing you want 6 panels series. Do you have room to ground mount yourself?
These are great leads...thank you DIYrich! I'm running 4S2P(not good at the aconyms, but 2 parallel strings of 4 in series) on the roof; panels are in hand. Ground installation is not an option unfortunately. Here is my schematic of the system if you are at all interested (pieced it together from uses parts, mostly from this website):

https://diysolarforum.com/threads/48v-off-grid-schematic-the-disclaimer-complete-solar-newbie….63277/#post-819002
 
BTW SunWorks is lower cost turnkey small system installation, to their standard design. I don’t think it would be a promising approach to have them install for you. If you volunteer with them maybe you can network and ask some fellow volunteers to help (but then there’s the issue of who carries the worker’s comp etc).

You can use your home owners insurance, for better or worse, for non-permitted installs, but permitted installs tend to trigger a local or California state requirement to carry proper business insurance.

FWIW I went simultaneously down each path I mentioned above, to varying depths :
- networked with sun work people
- networked with local solar enthusiasts
- found some neighbors that could help explain or set up owner builder
- figure out how to do all installation steps directly without help outside the family

It was a lot of grunt work along with strategizing work, not necessarily worth the savings of just hiring a contractor and doing the project the way they want to.
 
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