Sol-gel deposition of thin film YBa2Cu3O7−δ (YBCO) is widely seen as the most cost effective means to manufacture long length HTS wires (A.P. Malozemoff, D.T. Verebelyi, S. Fleshler, D. Aized, and D. Yu, “HTS Wire: Status and Prospects,” Physica C, 386, 424 (2003)). We present a sol-gel technique for YBCO deposition using low cost starting materials and forming only benign by-products during processing. Optimization has concentrated on producing the correct stoichiometry in the final films. RBS measurements show that copper diffuses into the substrate due to its high mobility at the temperatures required to form the YBCO phase. Therefore a starting stoichiometry of 1:2:3 can produce a film highly copper deficient. In order to compensate for this we have made films with different excesses of copper in the precursor solution. The surface morphologies of these films have been examined by SEM and AFM, and the stoichiometry and cation depth profiles characterized by ion beam analysis. The effect of the varying copper stoichiometry is correlated with the superconducting properties and the surface morphology for films on lanthanum aluminate (LAO) and magnesium oxide (MgO) substrates. The residual carbon concentration in the films is measured by nuclear reaction analysis.