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DIY Solar Installation Safety Guidelines

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The increasing number of DIY installers has undoubtedly had a large affect on the increase of home solar systems. With some assistance during the designing and electrical wiring phases, these installers have boasted many successful installations. Homeowners think of everything, panel quality, what is best for their application, lowest cost, logistics and so on. However, a vital part of the installation process can be overlooked, safety. Here are a few recommendations regarding keeping yourself safe during your solar installation.

Electric Shock Prevention

Be sure to read all manufacturer installation guides to ensure that you are following proper electric protocols to prevent electric shock. Electric companies will provide documentation regarding safety and what to shut off upon request. They may also work with your local county office who is responsible for permitting. Be sure to check that all necessary components are shut off prior to beginning your installation (e.g. inverters, combiner boxes, balance of systems components, etc.)

Proper Attire

For both roof and ground mount installations, it is important to wear the proper footing when installing your solar system. For roof mount installations, wear shoes with good traction grip. This will aid in keeping you stable on the roof while handling heavy loads, and maneuvering. Likewise, work boots should be worn when installing ground mount systems, many of the components are heavy and will cause damage if dropped on your foot.

Pants should be worn to prevent cuts, scrapes and sun burns. It is important to wear pants that do not inhibit foot movement. Loose clothing can get caught on the array, and cause falls. Other obvious safety accessories such as hard hats, gloves and safety googles should also be worn. Back braces are encouraged if you have any lower back problems. As a final note, be sure to wear your sunblock, drink plenty of water, and work outside of peak hours; cooler times with good lighting is the best time to install outdoors.

Fall Prevention

Safety harnesses should be worn at all times. Anchors can be temporarily or permanently installed on your roof. Safety harnesses can be purchased or leased at most home improvement stores. When using a ladder be sure to always have someone hold the ladder. Always read the manufacturer installation guide for how to properly transfer panels from the ground to the rooftop, or the top of ground mount systems. Man-lifts, if available, are a great tool to utilize for roof top installations and reduce the risks of falling and solar panel damage.

The More the Merrier

Installations should never be attempted alone, if an accident were to occur it is important to have someone around. You also need spotters and assistance in moving the solar panels to the roof top. A certified electrician will need to inspect your system prior to it being turned on in most jurisdictions. The city may provide one to you, it is important to read through their standards prior to starting installation.

Most of the safety precautions are true to the majority home improvement jobs. Background knowledge is not needed in most cases, however, study of installation guides and regulations is imperative to stay safe and complete a successful installation.

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