3 Tools that Solar Kit Do-It-Yourselfers Will Love Posted on 16 Jan 07:30
With the right tools, installing a solar kit yourself is easy. In fact, almost any handy homeowner with a well-outfitted toolbox can easily mount his or her own rooftop solar panels.
A number of specialty tools are available today that, although not required for installation, can make the process easier, faster, more efficient — and more fun!
If you have a DIY solar kit on the way (or if you’re planning to order one soon) you may want to have one or more of these gizmos on hand on installation day.
Position Your Solar Kit Correctly with a Shade Analysis Tool
Shading from nearby buildings, tall trees and roof obstructions like vents and chimneys can significantly affect the output from a DIY solar kit. Judging the amount of shade on your rooftop by sight alone isn’t a good idea, particularly for inexperienced solar DIYers.
You can make this important job easy with a shade analysis tool, like the Solmetric SunEye or Solar Pathfinder. These tools survey your rooftop to determine the most effective — and most efficient — placement for your DIY home solar kit.
You can also find a variety of online shade analysis tools and apps that can point you in the right direction.
Digital Multimeter Monitors Your Solar Kit Energy Output
Once your solar kit’s panels are installed, you’ll want to test them to ensure they are producing the power they’re supposed to.You may also be interested in monitoring and tracking your power output over time. These tasks can be easily achieved with a digital multimeter.
This tool works to check the volts and amps your photovoltaic panels produce to ensure that they are functioning properly and generating the amount of energy they should.
To test voltage, simply plug the multimeter into the converter box on the back of the photovoltaic module while it is fully exposed to sunlight. Conversely, to safely test the amps, plug the unit into the solar panel while it is in the shade, then move the module into direct sunlight to get a reading.
For both digital multimeter readings, you want numbers that are close to the ratings of your DIY solar panels — anything less, and you may have a problem with your photovoltaic system.
Analyze Your Energy Consumption with the Kill-A-Watt Tool
Although it’s not a requirement, increasing your home’s energy efficiency ensures that your DIY solar kit provides most — or even ALL — of your power needs. The Kill-a-Watt monitor is specifically designed to help track, understand and reduce your energy use.
The Kill-a-Watt tool lets you identify power-wasting appliances and devices. It also tracks standby power use, which is the electricity your devices draw when you’re not using them.
At a cost of less than $20, this handy meter features a large LCD display and allows you to measure and track the quality of power as well as consumption by the day, week, month or year.
Solar GOODs, your DIY solar superstore, has everything you need to design and order your own photovoltaic panel system. Even without these specialty tools, you’ll have your panel array installed and providing free power in no time. Visit us online today to get started with your custom system or DIY solar kit.