Tools Needed for Solar Installation

Written by scott yoder
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The tools required for the installation of a solar energy system can be easily found. The only exception to this is the solar pathfinder, used during the site assessment. The job largely involves mounting the solar panels and wiring the system together, so if you have tools used by carpenters and electricians, you will have what it takes to install a solar energy system.

Site Assessment Tools

The first steps in a solar energy system installation require tools to assess where the solar panels will be mounted. You will need a tape measure to take measurements of the roof area that will be used to mount the panels. You will also use a tool that is unique to solar installations, called a solar pathfinder. A solar pathfinder is a device that analyses, calculates and records year-round, site-specific solar data. This information enables you to position the solar panels to work with optimal effectiveness. When working with a solar pathfinder, you will also want a camera to take photos of the mount site so you can compare the data with visual images.

Basic Installation Tools

The installation will involve mounting and wiring the solar system. You will need tools to measure and mark where the support assembly, which is a stationary or adjustable set of rails that house the solar panels, mounts on the structure: tape measure, angle finder, chalk line, fish tape, and level. To mount the supports and attach the panels, you will need a power drill with a bit set, hole saws, pliers, wrenches and a caulk gun. To complete the electrical installation you will need cable cutters, crimpers, an AC/DC multimeter and heavy-duty extension cords.

Solar System Components

The solar system components are the tools that make the system itself work, and what's being used must be measured and organised before the installation. First, you have the solar panels themselves, which supply the electricity and charge the batteries. When working with the panels, you will need cardboard or a blanket to cover them and prevent them from "going live" before you're ready. Next, you will need a charge controller, which prevents overcharging of the batteries. A power inverter makes 120 volts AC from the 12 volts DC stored in the batteries. Batteries store the electrical power to provide energy when the sun is not shinning.

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