The best tips for transporting solar panels safe and securely
When you want to transport solar panels you have multiple options for handling the transportation. Your options will primarily depend on the size and amount of panels you want to order.
If you buy solar panels most solar retailers offer free shipping to your doorstep. So buying the first time you have almost nothing to worry about.
However, there may be times you want to transport your panels from one location. You may have decided to move to another house, or simply want to give them to a friend to upgrade a better solar system.
Firstly, there is no a “fail-proof” way to transport solar panels. However, there are a few ways you can make it safer and more manageable.
This article will give you some tips for handling solar panels in an efficient manner without damaging them or risking injury to yourself.
If you plan to transport solar panels in long distances like between states, you may want to deliver them by air if you can afford it.
This will save you time and from the worry of driving them long distances. If you choose air transport, we recommend that you contact your air carrier for proper packing instructions before shipping.
If you plan to ship your solar panels by truck, it is important not to overload the vehicle or stack too many packages high above each other because this will cause undue stress and weight distribution that may damage the equipment during transport.
It's also recommended for heavier shipments like these to use stretch film wrap over bubble wrap since it absorbs shocks better. If you plan to transport solar panels by car or van, it is recommended that you place them in the rear of your vehicle.
There are many reasons why you should not carry panels on top of the vehicle. Most vehicle top is not designed for this kind of weight and can damage the vehicle. You don't have much control over the outside, rain and wind can cause damage to the panels.
Finally, if not fixed properly, or from outside factors, the panels can take off and cause accidents on your path.
If you want to transport your solar panels on the vehicle roof, make sure that your car has a set of roof racks. Avoid strapping down the solar panels directly onto the top of your car.
Another thing about transporting solar panels is that they must never be exposed to rain, sleet, snow, or ice because moisture can seep inside of their components which could cause rusting from exposure.
Unless they were custom-made with an anti-puncture film on top, most solar panel containers come equipped with cardboard corner protectors that should be removed before loading them onto trucks or forklifts.
After removing these protective materials, securely load up your panels by holding each panel at two points near its corners so they don't shift during transit and become damaged in any way.
Watch out for sharp edges. Securely tie down any loose ends using bungee cords or rope to avoid broken panels. The size of the solar panel will determine how many you need.
Stacking Horizontal vs Vertical
When solar panels are stacked horizontally, it can cause microcracks that might not be visible to the eye. This can have a negative impact on how your solar panel installation operates in the future.
Although a plastic separator or paper carton is usually used in horizontal stacking, it can be ineffective in dealing with pressure from heavy panels.
A more ideal alternative to minimize solar power pressure is vertical, rather than horizontal stacking.
The materials in which solar panels are packaged can have a huge impact on whether they'll make it to their destination intact. Cardboard boxes, for instance, are not as durable and therefore more likely to falter when shipped long distances.
While some products are certainly suitable for shipping in cardboard packaging, solar panels are large and sensitive to mechanical stress. The same can be said for cell phones.
While you do not need a case or screen protector, they're worth the initial investment because they protect your phone from any accidents we are all too familiar with.
Keep in mind, distributors and shipping companies are unlikely to treat your packaging with the same care that you do with your phone.
In life, unexpected things happen. If you hire a company to transport your panels, they may damage your panels due to mishandling during the transport.
Careless employees could easily damage the panels with their forklifts, which end users may notice visibly as dents on the pallet or, in worse cases, as poorly performing fractured panels.
It takes much more time, effort, and money to wait for a replacement, depending on whether you have insurance or how noticeable your damage is.
If the damage is not visible to the naked eye, there may be microcracks that affect the longevity and efficiency of your system. You could be missing out on the full potential of your solar panels and not only reducing their life but also losing profits.
Check with your local DMV for regulations
Different states have different regulations about transporting solar panels. Check with your local DMV for regulations on transporting them before you get in the vehicle.
The last thing you want is a ticket or to be fined because you were unaware of a regulation.
Make pictures of the panels
Before you ship your solar panels, inspect them for any obvious damage. Make pictures of the panels and include them in the request. If you are shipping your panels, it is important to take pictures of them before you send them.
This will give both parties a better understanding of the condition they were sent and received in. Make sure pictures have the date stamp on them so they can be used if there are any discrepancies with the condition of the panels.
Don't move panels yourself only
The weight of an average solar panel is about 40 pounds. Although this weight is not much for an average man to carry in a short distance, due to its shape and size, it is not advisable to carry panels too far without any help from another person.
The panels should be handled by two people, one on either side. Just hold the panel at its edges and lift it to a standing position without letting go of the edge you are holding.
Remember, you don't want to hit or scratch panels when you move them around for the reasons we are going to talk about.
It is always a good idea to wear gloves otherwise panels may slip in your hands or you may get cut from the sharp edges.
If panels are too heavy for you and your friends, then it is best to hire a company that has the lifting equipment and other required tools.
Prepare storage location in advance
No matter how careful you move panels, the storage location you place them temporarily or permanently is equally important.
Because they are fragile, you need to prepare a good spot in advance. If you don't, the panels are more likely to fall and break on the ground.
One way to ensure a good spot is to use plywood, or even two sheets of cardboard placed on a flat surface when storing panels on the ground.
If you have any more space available in advance, it's best if you can create an open area where they won't be touched by other objects such as boxes and furniture.
You also need to make sure that there are no nails sticking out from the floorboards so that panels don't get scratched while stored.
If you're not going to store them outdoors, then just place them horizontally against something like a wall with brackets positioned at four corners for support.
This will prevent them from sliding down and getting broken when someone bumps into them accidentally.
Otherwise, keep them in a storage space with low-pile carpeting or rugs, which will also help protect them from scratches.
Use foam pads
Use foam pads in between panels to protect against vibration damage. These pads will help distribute the impact, and provide a buffer against vibrations that can cause panels damaged.
Securely fasten panels on the vehicle
Place a tarp or blanket underneath the panels to protect them from debris that might otherwise scratch or damage their surface.
If you're transporting more than one panel at a time, make sure they're not touching each other so that there's no risk of scratching their surfaces.
The panels should be securely fastened on the vehicle using straps or racks. To avoid scratching the panels, it's important to make sure that they are not touching other metal surfaces.
If you're using straps, be mindful of any sharp or rough edges on them and try to fasten them in places where there is as little contact with the panel surface as possible. This will help keep your fingers safe too.
It is best to add straps near the corners of your panels and not in the center. Otherwise, panels can move during transportation.
It's also a good idea to install bungee cords on top of the panels for extra support while driving along bumpy roads because this prevents vibrations from shaking up the solar cells inside and breaking off their connections which could lead to costly repairs later down the line.
Use edge protectors
Edges are susceptible to scratching and denting, so it's a good idea to use edge protectors on the panels to help prevent them from being damaged. These are usually made out of foam or rubber and can be found at local hardware stores.
Using edge protectors is less expensive than having to get the panels repaired, so it's worth considering before you transport them.
Secure any loose items in your vehicle
Secure any loose items so they don't fly around while driving. This includes the solar panel equipment and any loose items in your car.
Cover your solar panels with a tarp or blanket
Once you have loaded your panels to the vehicle, cover them with a tarp or blanket to protect them from dirt and debris during transport.
Should you use a pallet to move solar panels from the vehicle to the storage location?
Transporting a solar panel in a pallet is the most efficient option, as this service allows you to ship multiple solar panels at once. However, you will need to buy or rent a pallet which may create an additional expense.
Finally, if you don't want to handle the transportation of the panels yourself, hire a third-party logistics company.
There are many options for transporting solar panels. Make sure you understand the benefits and drawbacks of each before making your decision.
The most important thing is to take care while loading them into vehicles so that they don't get damaged while in transit.