Standard solar pre-cautions to keep you safe when working with solar power.
Solar safety is just as important as every other subject covered on this site, actually much more important. When working with solar photovoltaic energy systems, you will be working with equipment that can produce several hundred watts of power, so it is important the you are familiar with the general photovoltaic safety rules to minimize your risk of injury due to accidental electric shock or other physical harm.
Follow These Solar Power Safety Rules To Minimize Your Risk
- The first safety rule to keep in mind when working with photovoltaic panels or other PV components is, always stop working in bad weather. PV panels can be blown around by the wind or a storm which can result in you falling or damage to the PV system.
- Do not apply pressure on PV photovoltaic panels by sitting or stepping on them or they might break and cause bodily injury, electrical shock or damage to the solar panels. Also never drop anything on the PV panels.
- Through the entire process of photovoltaic solar installation, make sure you don't get the home's sheathing wet or your roof may leak there after. This is usually an issue with roofs that are just being built, but it can happen to older roofs too, if you have missing shingles or if you remove them at any point.
- Do not install a pv system in any location within 0.3 miles of an ocean or salty water. Vapours and mist could interfere with photovoltaic equipment and cause damage or electrical shock.
- Also do not install photovoltaic equipment in locations that are corrosive - classified C5 by ISO.
- Make sure that the roof where you'll be mounting your solar panels is strong enough to support the weight.
- This next pv safety rule could save your life. Make sure your entire PV system is properly and safely earth grounded to prevent electrical shock and injury.
- Always follow all the specific applicable electric codes for your area. Contact your local power company or electrical authority for details.
- Never work when it's raining, immediately after rain or in wet or slippery conditions or with wet tools.
- Never install a PV system near flammable gases or you could cause a fire or explosion.
- Cover your photovoltaic solar panels with an opaque material during wiring to stop or prevent electricity production.
- Make sure the area underneath your solar panels is clean, clear and free of foreign objects.
- Another solar safety rule is do not wear metallic jewelry when working on your PV system, or it could cause electric shock.
- Also never touch any electrical contacts or wiring without proper protection and safety gear.
- Do not use artificial or magnified light on the photovoltaic solar panels.
- Always install PV systems in accordance with your specific area's applicable electric / photovoltaic codes and solar energy safety rules. Make sure you consult local codes and other applicable laws and statues concerning required permits and regulations for photovoltaic system installation and inspection requirements.
- As a basic rule, do not work on solar PV systems alone, always have a least one other person with you in case of accident or emergency.
- When working on roof tops, always insure that extreme safety precautions (including harnesses, lifelines and safety nets) are taken to prevent slipping, falling and causing injury or death.
- Inspect all your power tools to ensure that they are working safely prior to starting the installation of your pv system. Also, use insulated tools when working on a photovoltaic system.
- Another solar safety rule you should always follow is never work in conditions of snow or high wind or when these conditions are expected due to increased chance of slipping or losing your balance.
- Inspect all your ladders and scaffolding and insure that they are safe and in proper working order.
- Always get a second person to securely hold ladders as you climb and use rubber latter mats to prevent the ladder from slipping.
- Wear all necessary protective safety clothing including work clothes that fit well and allow you to move easily and freely, non-slip shoes, insulating gloves and a helmet.
- When installing a pv system, use scaffolds (not ladders) at heights 6 foot and higher.
- Be very careful of falling objects and do not ever throw objects up or down when installing a pv system.
- If there are utility company electrical wires attached to or near the roof, contact the utility company to insure protective measures be put in place to prevent shock.
- Always protect your wires or cables with flexible metal conduit when wiring through walls, for wires exposed to sunlight, rain or anywhere outdoors. Failure to follow this photovoltaic solar safety rule can result in electrical shock or short circuit. You can learn more about how to install conduit by clicking here to go to the Installing Conduit section of our website.
- Use waterproof fittings or duct seal to prevent water from entering the conduit and damaging your photovoltaic system.
- Always connect a grounding wire from the mounting hardware to the earth to prevent shock.
The information about solar system safety listed here is critical information that you should know before attempting to install a photovoltaic energy system. However, the information and suggestions listed here are not meant to be interrupted as a complete solar safety resource, do not guarantee safety, do not guarantee accurate photovoltaic / pv system installation safety advice and do not constitute a warranty of any kind.
Follow the Photovoltaic Safety Rules Specific To Your Area
Always follow the rules for solar installation and solar safety set forth by your municipality when installing a pv system. If in doubt, consult your municipality or a certified professional. All electrical wiring should be performed according to the provisions of the National Electrical Code or similar applicable document in your specific area. Grounding work and wiring connections to the inverter should be performed by a qualified electrician.
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