Solar PV – top five installation and testing tools engineers will need

Solar PV – top five installation and testing tools engineers will need

With the solar power sector expected to see a sharp rise throughout 2023, installation and testing engineers will need access to the best tools if they are to work at optimum efficiency and safety, says Fluke 

As the world makes its unstoppable transition to renewable energy sources, the global solar energy market is predicted to have grown by around 20.5% to reach $223.3bn between 2019 and 2026 (Allied Market Research), engineers need to be ready.

Fluke says that the top five tools engineers will need – whether working on residential systems, solar farms or photovoltaic (PV) farms – are: 

  • a Multifunction PV Tester 
  • solar irradiance meter 
  • insulation tester 
  • infrared camera (thermal imager) 
  • solar clamp meter (DC & AC true rms) 

These will all help to improve accuracy and efficiency during installation or periodic maintenance, including checking the integrity of system wiring and connections while keeping accurate measurement records.

Instantaneous measurements 

A Multifunction PV tester enables solar professionals to test PV systems safely and accurately while streamlining workflows faster than ever. Fluke’s soon to be released SMFT-1000 Multifunction PV Tester is an all-in-one tool that’s ideal for safety and performance testing of installations that operate up to 1000 V DC.  

Solar irradiance meters measure solar irradiance, PV module temperature, array orientation and tilt angles. Fluke’s award-winning IRR1-SOL Solar Irradiance Meter operates in accordance with the IEC 62446-1 standard and enables engineers to take instantaneous measurements so they can determine Watts per square meter of the solar irradiation.  

An insulation tester makes it possible to detect earth leakage problems quickly by comparing measurements over time and allowing real-time decisions to be made in the field. The 1587 FC Insulation Multimeter from Fluke enables engineers to monitor measurements remotely, accessing and sharing insulation resistance test results wirelessly with their smartphone via the Fluke Connect Measurements app.  

Space at a premium 

Solar clamp meters measure DC and AC currents. Fluke’s 393 FC Solar clamp meter – the world’s first 1500V CAT III, IP54 rated, thin jaw clamp meter – is designed to deliver exceptional safety when working in DC environments up to 1500 V, such as solar arrays. The clamp meter’s thin jaw makes it ideal for use in PV applications where space is often at a premium.  

Hans-Dieter Schuessele, Application & Technology Expert at Fluke, said, “countries around the world are dealing with the dual pressures of climate change and reliable power sources. Renewable energy is an obvious solution that we believe will gain even greater traction throughout 2023 and years to come. Fluke has always supported the solar sector and dedicated itself to developing ground-breaking tools for use by PV installation and maintenance engineers and we want them to be fully prepared for growth in this market. Only by having the best tools possible at their disposal can engineers in this demanding sector work at optimum efficiency and maximum safety.”  

As a global technology leader in the manufacture of compact, professional electronic test and measurement tools and software, Fluke has developed a range of solutions working closely with electricians, technicians and specialists who work in photovoltaic (PV) systems. For many years, the company has recognised that the PV sector has specific requirements that demand the use of specialised tools in such areas as surveying, installing and maintenance.  

For more information on Fluke’s photovoltaic testers and solar PV testing equipment, click here

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