The most critical skill when installing solar panels is safety. Remember, solar power is electricity, and you need to handle it carefully. Some DIY hacks for solar energy include learning how to protect yourself from falling off the roof, how to carry your tools carefully to the roof, and many others.
Apart from learning the skills you need for installing power, you should have the right tools for the job. We are going to discuss all the tools that you will need when installing power. Let’s dive in.
Solar Panel Installation Tools
The right tools will make your job easy. Some of the tools include:
Power Tools for the Roof
Drills or Driver
These power tools include drills and drivers, which you use to drill pilot holes into the roof. The device is also useful for driving in lag screws and tightening racking bolts. It is advisable to use a driver with a torque setting rather than an impact driver to tighten the module clamps. Remember, if the clamps get too tight, the glass module can crack.
Additionally, you need the correct drill bits and sockets. Different racking pieces use varying size sockets. Some of these sockets may require to be very deep. You can have a checklist on the ground before going up the roof, preventing several trips up and down. The first climb is easy. However, making several trips up and down the ladder is bound to be annoying and tiring.
You will need to cut through the rails. For this, you will need a power saw. You can use a portable band saw to make your work easier, but you can use any tool available. If you have watched professional installers, you may have noticed that they prefer cutting the rails after installing the modules. To do this, you can choose a saw that will give you more control, allowing you to cut the rails and avoid harming the roof. Your power tool requires electricity. For that, get a long extension cord or keep them fully charged.
Apart from the power tools, there are other tools that you need as you install the roof. They include:
- Flat pry bar: This is a tool that helps you break roof shingle’s sealing to slide the flashing underneath it.
- Caulk gun Roof Sealant: You need several roof sealants to prevent wind damage and leaks. Remember, it needs to be appropriate for your roof material.
- Screwdriver: the purpose of this tool is to tighten grounding lugs. It can also be useful when opening the sealant tubes.
- Pliers: You need this tool for manipulating the copper wires.
- Hammer: The tool works best for finding roof rafters.
- Rags: As you squeeze the sealant tubes, it may get a bit messy. The rags are useful in wiping off the excess sealant.
- Measuring tape, string line, and chalk line: Everyone appreciates well-installed solar panels. These tools help you to install the panels in perfectly leveled squares.
Electrical Work Tools
EMT (Electrical metallic tubing) is a requirement when installing the panels. It is the most popular conduit. It is a thin-walled, steel rigid raceway for grounding. You need to look for the right size EMT bender. The conduit joints are tightened through a set of channel locks.
Once you have placed the conduit correctly, you can use a fish tape to design the wire pull. To complete electrical work, you can use wire strippers, wire cutters, and screwdrivers.
Additional electrical tools include a digital multimeter useful for measuring voltage and amperage. As you install solar panels, you also need a shade analysis tool such as a Solmetric sun eye or solar pathfinder.
Simple Tools for DIY Solar Installation
Working high on a roof poses serious risks. For this reason, if you are going to attempt a DIY solar installation project, you need solar safety hacks. Some of the tools you need include temporary guardrails or a roof safety harness to protect you from falls.
You also need to invest in a good ladder. A ladder needs to be sturdy, and it should extend more than three feet above your roof’s edge.
Finally, you need protective wear. These are work gloves, goggles, and a helmet which protect you from injuries. You will be working on the roof in direct sunlight. Due to this, remember to use your sunscreen generously.
Benefits of DIY Solar Installation
DIY solar power costs are lower than professional installations. After subtracting the government tax breaks, rebates, and grants, your solar power costs will be lower. However, it would not make economic sense if you don’t have the tools because the price could be relatively high.
Another benefit is it will stabilize your costs for energy. As you have noticed from your electricity bill, the prices have been increasing gradually. Installing solar panels helps stabilize your electricity costs. You have a cushion as the utility company increases electricity rates. What’s more, you can earn from them if your solar is connected to the grid.
Do-it-yourself solar is an engaging task. However, it is a project that you can engage yourself in if you have the necessary construction skills. Safety is also an important thing to consider.
Before you start the DIY solar project, you must have all the tools that we have highlighted. In some cases, you can engage the services of an electrician for wiring or bending the conduit. However, if you have those skills, you can utilize them in installing the solar panels..
Remember, you also need to have an understanding of the DC power. Any amount of light on the solar panel can cause some voltage. Observing all the safety precautions is vital to prevent any accidents.
DIY solar panel installation is not an easy task. That is why Dynamic SLR is here. We help homes and businesses experience the benefits of solar energy. From professional solar installers to quality products, you can never go wrong with Dynamic SLR.