What’s Solar Barn Raising?

Our Group Will Train You and Assist You to Install Your Own Solar Power System

We are a non-profit group providing support to homeowners interested in a do-it- yourself approach to installing their own solar photovoltaic system. If you are a do-it-yourselfer you are welcome to join the group and install your own solar power system with us. Participants are expected to participate in installing 4 solar power systems at other members’ homes to learn the process, then the group comes to your home to assist with your installation.

Solar Barn Raising group installing solar panels on a member's house.

The group’s leader, John Lyle, is an electrical engineer with extensive solar training and experience. The solar power systems we install are professionally designed and use the best components available. We have installed about 60 solar power systems so far.

What you get from participating in the group is the opportunity to learn the technology and process of installing a solar power system, meeting like-minded people to promote renewable energy, and substantial savings from  installing your own system.

The Challenge of Do-It-Yourself Solar

Like any other DIY project, the main challenge is what to do and  how  to do it.  After you are past the learning curve, actually doing it is fairly straightforward. The Solar Barn Raising group assists you to learn every step of the process, and helps you install your system.

The goal for a solar power system is to match your annual electricity usage. A rooftop PV installation like this is the easiest and least expensive.

If your rooftop is too shaded or the wrong orientation, then a ground-mount system may be the best option.

Who Qualifies?

We install about 12-15 systems a year in La Plata County and  Montezuma County.  We work only with bonafide do-it-yourselfers — men or women who have the expertise and initiative to tackle a home improvement project on their own and get it done in a timely manner. For the safety of our volunteers, we install solar only on lower-pitched roofs with good access — no tall buildings or steep roofs. We also want  to work with people who like to help others, and hopefully will continue participating in the group.

To be clear, you must be an experienced do-it-yourselfer,  willing to learn and promote solar, and you must be an active participant in your project.  The group does not install solar power for you; for that there are numerous professional installers in the area who are well qualified to install your system.

How Do I Decide?

Read the other pages on our website, especially the steps involved in installing your own solar power system. It’s a fairly lengthy process, and requires  time and commitment.  In particular, read the page on “Steps in the Process”

Contact Us

To obtain more information about participating in the group, contact Will Rietveld (970-422-5233,, willjanet@bresnan.net) or John Lyle (970-759-6251, john@engsol.com).


Make Solar Affordable to All