The right tool makes Solar all the difference

2018-04-07 HONUNITY 0

We've all heard that bit of wisdom thousands of times. And it's no different for a Solar Electric (PV) system installation than for anything else. 

Fortunately, most of the tools needed for a PV install are commonly used and easily found. There are very few highly specialized tools. Below are several lists that describe many of the tools needed for an installation. They are broken out into functional groups for site assessment, installation and maintenance. Most of the specialized tools fall into the site assessment and maintenance categories; the installation tools are probably already in your tool box!

Site Assessment Tools

  • 50-100 ft. tape measure

  • Solar Pathfinder (evaluates the solar energy potential at a site)

  • Compass (not needed if you’re using a Solar Pathfinder)

  • Maps (reference for location latitude and magnetic declination)

  • Digital camera

Basic Tools Needed for Installation

  • Angle finder

  • Torpedo level

  • Fish tape

  • Chalk line

  • Cordless drill (14.4V or greater), multiple batteries

  • Unibit and multiple drill bits (wood, metal, masonry)

  • Hole saw

  • Hole punch

  • Torque wrench with deep sockets

  • Nut drivers (most common PV sizes are 7/16”, ½”, 9/16”)

  • Wire strippers

  • Crimpers

  • Needle-nose pliers

  • Lineman's pliers

  • Slip-joint pliers

  • Small cable cutters

  • Large cable cutters

  • AC/DC multimeter

  • Hacksaw

  • Tape measure

  • Blanket, cardboard or black plastic to keep modules from going “live” during installation

  • Heavy duty extension cords

  • Caulking gun

  • Fuse Pullers

Additional Tools to Consider (especially for multiple installations)

  • DC clamp-on ammeter

  • Reciprocating saw / Jig saw

  • Right angle drill

  • Conduit bender

  • Large crimpers

  • Magnetic wristband for holding bits and parts

  • C-clamps

  • Stud finder

  • Pry bar

Tools for Battery Systems

  • Hydrometer or Refractometer

  • Small flashlight (to view electrolyte level)

  • Rubber apron

  • Rubber gloves

  • Safety goggles

  • Baking Soda (to neutralizer any acid spills)

  • Turkey Baster

  • Funnel

  • Distilled Water

  • Voltmeter

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