Solar Power World editors reached out to the people spending hours on rooftops every day for their insight on the best tips and tools for residential solar jobs. Kipp Wilkinson, project manager at Anchorage-based Alaska Solar, shares his thoughts below.
SPW: What’s your favorite installation tool?
Wilkinson: My favorite tool is my auto-adjusting KNIPEX pliers. There hasn’t been a single day I’ve gone without using them in the field. When I first was shown them in person, I asked what they were called, and the response I gave was, “Mine!”
What’s a piece of clothing you can’t live without on the job?
I never leave the house without a pair of sunglasses!
What’s the best solar install tip you won’t find in a manual?
The best tip you can’t find in a manual is to stay limber! At Alaska Solar, we start our day off with 15 minutes of stretching every morning. Without that, we would be installing half the projects we normally do.
What’s a question you have about a new solar product or installation process?
I’m curious about S-5!’s SolarFoot deck mount. Nothing saves time like using a deck mount on an asphalt roof, and we are on the search for a deck mount for metal roofs.
What’s an install tip you learned the hard way?
Always measure twice when placing your junction box on the rail! Nothing hurts as much as moving a junction box at the end of the day when the crew is placing the last panel on the roof.