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System / December 1, 2016

Are you thinking about doing your own solar installation? Here are three very important steps you must take before you get started*.

Many people love the idea of generating their own electricity with the sun’s energy. The price of solar has come down a lot in recent years making it much more affordable.

Although their cost has come down some people would like to save even more money by installing their own solar energy system. Below are three critical steps that you must take when starting your DIY solar energy system project.

#1 Roof Safety

The first thing you must do is take safety into consideration. Installing solar panels on a roof is dangerous. Once you begin your project there will be many things on your roof that can cause a tripping hazard not to mention just walking off the edge, and the last thing you want to do is end up in an emergency room because you fell off a roof.

After you have your training you need remove the ridge vent and securely install the safety anchors across the peak of your roof making sure the lag bolts are securely fastened to the rafters or trusses. You will need more than the roof anchors that came with your kit. These should be installed about 10′ from each end and every 10-20′ in between, depending on how long your safety rope is.

#2 Ladder Safety

Ladders should extend 3′ above the eve or gutter and should be secured to the building to prevent them from falling or sliding. Solar panels should never be carried up a ladder. If your building is more than one story it will be necessary to rent some sort of lift to get them to the roof. Your local equipment rental company should have training classes and the safety gear you will need to get the panels on to your roof.

#3 Hard Hats

Hard Hats should always be worn when at a solar job site. They are not completely necessary when working on the roof however we have found that they do a great job of keeping the hot sun off of your head and if you are always wearing it while on the roof you won’t forget to put it on when you go to the ladder to climb down. I can’t tell you how many times I have dropped a tape measure, hardware, hammers, even the impact driver while on the roof. Anyone down below or on the ladder seems to be a prime target for these objects. And despite their shape, somehow tape measures always end up rolling like a ball off the roof and usually end up 20′ into the yard or parking lot.

#4 Electrical Safety

Bonus category. I actually didn’t list this one for DIY on purpose. Unless you are a licensed solar installer or electrician you should not attempt to do the electrical wiring on your own. It is very common for us to be working on 500-600 volt DC electrical circuits with solar energy systems. There is a lot of safety gear and procedures that are required when working on these types of circuits. Solar electricity is also an always live circuit while in the daylight. Even when it’s completely cloudy. There is no way to turn it off and work on it dead. So if you choose to go it on your own with your solar energy system. Hiring this portion of your project out is an absolute necessity.

There are many more safety items to take into consideration when installing your own solar energy system. And although all personal protective equipment is essential, these we feel are the ones that pose the highest risk to health and safety.

*We try to make the advice on our website ( as useful and reliable as possible. However, the purpose of this advice section of the website is to provide you with general guidance and useful tips only. It doesn’t necessarily deal with every important topic or cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals and might not be relevant or appropriate in all circumstances. It is not designed to provide professional advice or financial advice and should not be relied on as such.