Tools for a Successful Solar Electric Install

"The right tool for the job makes all the difference."

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Tools for a Successful Solar Electric Install

'The right tool for the job makes all the difference'

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
  50-100 ft. tape measure
Solar Pathfinder (evaluates the solar energy potential at a site)   Solar Pathfinder (evaluates the solar energy potential at a site)
Compass (not needed if you're using a Solar Pathfinder)   Compass (not needed if you're using a Solar Pathfinder)
Maps   Maps (reference for location latitude and magnetic declination)
Digital Camera   Digital camera

 

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Basic Tools Needed for Installation

Angle Finder
  Angle finder
Fish Tape
  Fish tape
Torpedo Level
  Torpedo level
Cordless Drill
  Cordless drill (14.4V or greater), multiple batteries
Chalk Line
  Chalk line Hole Saw   Hole saw
Unibit and multiple drill bits (wood, metal, masonry)   Unibit and multiple drill bits (wood, metal, masonry)
Torque Wrench
  Torque wrench with deep sockets
Hole Punch
  Hole punch
Wire Strippers
  Wire strippers
Nut Driver   Nut drivers (most common PV sizes are 7/16", 1/2", 9/16")
Needle-nose Pliers
  Needle-nose pliers
Crimpers
  Crimpers Slip-joint Pliers   Slip-joint pliers
Lineman's Pliers  
Lineman's pliers
Large Cable Cutters
  Large cable cutters
Need Image
  Small cable cutters Hacksaw   Hacksaw
AC/DC Multimeter
  AC/DC multimeter
Cardboard
  Blanket, cardboard or black plastic to keep modules from going "live" during installation
50-100 ft. Tape Measure
  Tape measure
 
Caulking Gun   Caulking gun
Heavy duty Extension Cords
  Heavy duty extension cords Fuse Pullers   Fuse Pullers

 

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Additional Tools to Consider (especially for multiple installations)

DC clamp-on ammeter   DC clamp-on ammeter Reciprocating saw / Jig saw   Reciprocating saw / Jig saw
Large Crimpers   Large crimpers Conduit Bender   Conduit bender
C-Clamp
  C-clamps Pry Bar   Pry bar

 

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Tools for Battery Systems

Hydrometer or Refractometer
  Hydrometer or Refractometer
Baking Soda (to neutralizer any acid spills)
  Baking Soda (to neutralizer any acid spills)
Small Flashlight   Small flashlight (to view electrolyte level) Turkey Baster   Turkey Baster
Rubber apron
 
Rubber apron Funnel   Funnel
Rubber Gloves   Rubber gloves Distilled Water   Distilled Water
Safety Goggles   Safety goggles Need Image   Voltmeter
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