Solar panel removal has never been a one-person task. You must first get the necessary solar equipment, shut down the power flow, detach the panels from each other, take the connectors and panels to a safe place, fix the issues, and reinstall. This process requires electrical knowledge or the help of professionals in the electrical field.
Many homeowners often prefer to remove and recycle solar panels themselves to save money. So, if you must remove solar panels, ensure you are electrically equipped with gear and knowledge. Without these, your panels are prone to damage, causing you to spend more.
But before jumping into the process of solar removal, you need to identify your reasons for removing them. Do you want to remove and replace or remove completely? Whichever the case, it’s advisable to consult a professional solar panel installer to help remove your panels safely.
Keep reading to learn more.
Why Remove Your Solar Panels?
There are two primary reasons for removing solar panels. Either you want to fix your roof upon which they’re mounted, or you’re working on the solar panel systems.
Sometimes, the opening through which the panels are fastened to your roof can cause roof leakages. So, you may need to detach the panels to repair the leakages completely. In such a scenario, you may adopt some DIY techniques or consult professionals for the task.
On the other hand, your solar panels can malfunction or have some damaged components that require fixing. You may need to dismantle the panel to replace the faulty components. Also, the angle of your panels can be a reason for removing and reinstalling them. If trees or other buildings block sunlight from hitting the panels, you can remove and reinstall solar panels at the most appropriate angles.
Irrespective of your reasons, be ready for minor or huge damages when you do it yourself. So, it’s better to consult an electricity and solar energy professional.
Tips to Keep in Mind Before Removing or Replacing Solar Panels
Before you remove solar panels, here are some vital tips to keep in mind:
Contact the Solar Installers
You must inform your solar installers about your intention to remove the solar panels. Since they installed it initially, they can help you remove it safely or guide you through the process if you do it yourself.
Contacting the solar panel installers will reduce the chances of damaging the panels as you’ll be under the supervision of professionals. From getting the best gear to knowing the appropriate wirings, your panel installers can assist you.
Have A Strong Partner for Support
Solar panels are not lightweight and can cause fatal accidents during DIY removal. So, you need a strong support of a partner to move the panels to the ground. To be safe, hand over your solar panel removal to professionals.
If you insist on DIY, ensure to meet the safety requirements and have all the necessary equipment for the task. You don’t want to fall or drop the panels from the rooftop.
Prepare an Alternative Power Supply
If you use only solar energy in your home, get an alternative power supply to prevent a blackout. Since you’re not permanently removing your solar panel system, you can get a portable power generator.
Removing, fixing, and reinstalling solar panels does not take time. However, weather elements and an insufficient project budget can slow the process. With your alternative power, you can stay connected till the project is completed.
Get A Store Room for the Panels
Solar panels can withstand weather elements like snow, rain, hail, etc. However, once dismounted, the open ends of the power cable are exposed to dust and humidity, which can make them rust and malfunction. So, once you remove your solar PV panels, store them in a safe room until reinstalling time.
Cost of the Project
The cost of removing and reinstalling solar panels depends on the project’s requirements. You need technical equipment, gear, spare parts, and repair tools. Notwithstanding, you can spend up to $300 for each panel when you consult a solar company. However, if you’re doing it yourself, you’ll have to spend on the equipment and gear as you may need to hire most of them.
Best Practices for Solar Panel Removal and Reinstallation
Hiring solar energy experts is the best and safest practice for removing and reinstalling solar panels. They come with their best equipment, gear, and spare parts in case of repairs. However, it can cost a handsome sum of money.
You may consider removing and installing solar panels by yourself to reduce expenses. That’s one of the pros. The downside is that you can incur more expenses and damages than expected. But with proper equipment, advice, and assistance, DIY solar panel removal will be your best bet.
Here are what a DIY Solar Panel Removal entails:
1. Shut Down the Power Flow
Turn off all circuit breakers on the solar power system. Also, turn off the inverter connected to the battery. Most importantly, don’t touch the emergence switch if your solar system has one. It rapidly shuts down the entire connections of current flow on your system in case of disasters like fire outbreaks.
2. Detach the panels from each other.
After stopping the current flow, disconnect every wire connection from the panels to the solar energy system. However, make sure you’re wearing insulating gloves to protect your hands from any leakage.
While on the rooftop, watch your steps as you move from one panel to the other. Ensure to wear a helmet, harness, and other safety gear. Unplug the connections under each panel with utmost care.
3. Bring the solar panel down.
Lift the solar panels off the mounting array and carefully take them to the floor. Depending on the panels’ weight and height, get a partner to work with you. Take the panels sideways, starting from one side to the other.
Since most solar panels, like PV panels, are wider and weightier, working with at least four partners is advisable. If two focus on detaching panels from the roof, the others will help to get them to the ground. It’ll facilitate more safety for everyone and the panels as well.
4. Protect panels and their connectors.
Now the solar panels are off the roof, take them to a safe location or store room. Cover the connectors to prevent moisture or dust from entering. It helps them last longer and work effectively when reinstalling the panels afterwards.
5. Fix issues and Reinstall.
If you notice some issues on the panels or their components, call for a solar panel repair to fix or replace them. If it’s a leakage on your roof, fix it. After repairing and confirming zero issues, get the solar panels installed back on the roof or wherever they should be.
Just like the removal process, get your partners to lift the panels one by one to your reach. Place them in position and on the right angle. Fasten the bolts, and connect the connectors, the battery, and the converter. Then switch on the circuit breakers, and your solar PV system is back in operation.
Solar panel removal can be difficult without technical knowledge of solar energy or the electrical field. So, it’s best to consult a solar company to do the work. However, to reduce the cost, you can follow the DIY steps above to remove solar panels and reinstall them afterwards safely.
How regularly should solar panels be replaced?
Solar panels are known for durability. If your panels don’t work well and require replacement every time, it means you got a low-quality set of panels. Go for a quality Solar PV system; they are durable and reduce frequent solar panels removal.
Why should I carry out solar panel removal myself?
To save a huge amount of money, you can use the DIY mentioned above steps to remove a solar panel system or reinstall solar panels.
What is the duration of the process?
The duration depends on how many problems you fix on the panels or your roof. A standard repair should last at least 2-3 days.
When is Solar Panel Removal and Reinstallation Necessary?
If you notice poor performance, roof leakage, or component damage on your solar system, that’s the best time to remove, fix, and install solar panels again.