PV or Photovoltaic systems harvest the sunlight energy converting it to direct current (dc). You can use electrochemical solar batteries to store the power or connect it to the grid. Most commonly available systems produce about 22 dc volts in an open circuit and 15 volts on peak performance. In the worst-case scenario, this can cause damages. Solar energy safety guidelines help in preventing such cases.
When there are more than two modules in a series, any arising shock can be dangerous. Lifting the solar panels and their rooftop installation can also result in a fall, causing on-job injuries. Investing in training preventative measures can help mitigate such injuries. Below are some solar energy safety methods that you should heed.
Solar Energy Safety Measures You Should Observe
Worksite and their Risk
Not two homes are alike, and no two commercial areas are the same. Installers need to do site visits for assessment. When an installer visits a site, they can:
- Identify the correct and efficient tools to use for the site assessment.
- Identify the best site to install the panels, inverters, solar batteries, and other systems to balance it.
- Find an apt location with suitable orientation, access to adequate solar, enough installation area, and proven structural integrity for installation.
- Find if there are any potential hazards on-site. You need to determine this before installation.
- Draw the site and location layout of the current buildings and equipment.
- Interpret the site’s solar radiation and temperature to determine the expected performance output.
- Quantify the house’s electricity demands though looking at utility bills, meters, customer interviews, or measurements.
As the saying goes, being forewarned is being forearmed. A solar energy installer who invests time assessing a site’s safety prepares for any eventualities. A detailed worksite plan helps address problems before they arise. All equipment needed for the job needs to be assessed to ensure they are in perfect working condition before being moved to the worksite.
Ladders and their Safety
The most common solar panel installation site is the roof. Due to this, ladders are a requirement in accessing the site. The installer must choose the best one for the job. Solar energy safety rules for this include:
- Choosing a ladder that is proven to address the need for access for that site. A ladder should extend at least three feet above the rung where the worker stands on. That requirement applies to step, straight, or extension ladders. An installer should determine this during the site assessment visit.
- Placing the ladder on dry stable ground. It should not block doorways or walkways, or power lines.
- Choice of appropriate materials: Currently, the most used ladders come in aluminum or metal materials. However, these are hazardous near electrical work and power lines, which are readily available in solar panel installation sites. For this reason, it is advisable to use ladders made from non-conductive materials.
Solar Panel Handling Guidelines
Solar panels can be highly awkward and heavy to lift. As the workers load and install panels from trucks to the site, injuries can occur. Straining, spraining, back injuries, and muscle pull are some of the issues that can arise. Any trauma that continues to accumulate can be bad for the spine.
Did you know that as soon as the panels gain access to sunlight, they can heat up, causing burns if they are not well handled? For this reason, solar energy safety measures for handling panels include:
- Have two people lift the solar panels. Such an action prevents any injuries or damages.
- Avoid climbing ladders while carrying the solar panels. To get the panels to the roof, cranes, hoists, or winch systems that are ladder-based can be good options. These measures prevent workers from getting injuries.
- One crucial safety precaution is covering the solar panels once they are unboxed with opaque paper to prevent heat from building up. This checklist keeps you as well as your workers safe from burns.
- Gloves are a requirement for workers handling the panels. Wearing hats and keeping arms and legs covered while working should be mandatory. Plenty of sunscreens is also recommended.
Falls and Trips
When height is involved, trips and falls can occur. The same is the case in the solar energy industry. Apart from happening from roofs and ladders, falls can also occur anywhere on the site. Rooftop solar can be extremely dangerous due to the diminishing space as you install solar panels. Such a factor increases the chances of a fall. Here, the safety measures are:
- Removing obstructions from the roof helps prevent such an issue.
- Seal any holes on the rooftop, skylight, or ground level worksite. Prior assessment of the roof and the areas helps identify problematic areas.
- For each distance above 6 feet, having protective measures such as guardrails near the edges or sunroofs can help prevent falls. Using safety nets as well as providing employees with an anchored body harness can arrest potential falls.
All worksites have protective equipment for workers. For solar installation, this protective gear is mandatory. As an employer, you should ensure your workers have PPE. Such include gloves, hard hats, and shoes with steel toes, and rubber shoes.
Solar electric systems (photovoltaic or PV) come with various components. Such are inverters and PV solar array that conduct electricity. When these components go live, generating energy from sunlight can cause electric shock and other injuries. As a precaution, workers should:
- Use an opaque sheet to cover the panels after unboxing them.
- Be cautious when wiring solar PV, the same way they handle main power lines. You should use a meter or circuit test device to ascertain all the circuits are de-energized before tapping them.
- When PV modules connectors or any wiring linked to the system are under load, you should never disconnect them.
Solar energy safety guidelines protect installers from harm or hazardous effects. Following relevant standard and safety regulations and the manufacturer’s guide keeps the workers safe.
At Dynamic SLR, your safety and that of our installers come first. Therefore, we ensure everyone involved takes the necessary measures to prevent any accidents on the site. Get in touch with us today for a safe transition to solar energy.