Hey folks! I recently needed to remove the flexible solar panels on my RV to upgrade to a higher-efficiency system. Having little idea about how to remove them safely myself, I did a bit of digging around. And I’m glad to share what I learned so you can also detach solar panels from your recreational vehicle rooftop smoothly.
This article gives step-by-step instructions for the DIY removal of flexible solar panels using basic tools and some safety measures. I’ll walk you through disconnecting the wiring, loosening the adhesive, and finally peeling the panels off correctly without professional help. So let’s get started!
Tools You Will Require for Removing Flexible Solar Panels from Your RV Roof
Removing flexible solar panels from the RV roof requires some basic tools readily available in your home or local hardware stores. Ensure you have all of them before starting the task to avoid delays. The necessary items include:
A set of screwdrivers, including Philips and flat head types, will help remove screws from solar panel frames. It allows separating the panels from racks or mounts holding them.
If there are any bolts or nuts instead of screws, keep adjustable and open-end wrenches handy. They provide better grip and torque for loosening stuck bolts.
- Plastic Scrapper or Putty Knife
A plastic scrapper or putty knife helps pry the solar panels gently from the roof without causing any scratches. So prefer using plastic tools instead of metal ones.
- Heat Gun
A heat gun comes in handy for heating the glue or sealant below the flexible solar panels. Heating helps soften the bond and allows removing panels smoothly from the roof membrane.
- Suction Cups
Suction cups with ropes allow you to pull the flexible solar panels gently once you detach them from the roof. It provides the leverage to peel the panels without tearing or cracking them.
So ensure you have the necessary tools mentioned earlier before climbing onto the RV roof to remove flexible solar panels. Avoid rushing through the process or using excessive force. Now let’s see the systematic procedure for removing flexible solar panels safely.
Steps for Removing Flexible Solar Panels
Follow the step-by-step instructions below to remove flexible solar panels correctly from your RV rooftop without professional intervention.
1. Disconnect the Flexible Solar Panels
The first and most crucial step is disconnecting the wires and cables from the flexible solar panels. Trace the cables from panels leading through solar charge controllers to the RV batteries and power inverter. Once found, unhook the wires connecting the solar panels first.
Turning off the power sources before disconnecting any electrical equipment is important. It prevents potential electric shocks or short circuits which can damage the entire solar power system permanently.
2. Attach Suction Cups
After disconnecting the power cables, place suction cups at strategic locations on the flexible solar panels. Ensure the suction cups grab nicely to allow better control while pulling panels. Using at least four to six suction cups spread properly permits removing extensive panels smoothly.
3. Loosen Bond Between Panel and Roof
With suction cups attached, now work on the adhesive below the flexible solar panels. Take a plastic putty knife and gently insert it between the panel frame and roof membrane. Slide through the edges, loosening the sealant bonding the frame to the roof.
Using a heat gun simultaneously heats the glue, allowing easy separation. Work patiently on all sides, softening the adhesive before attempting to pull solar panels. Rushing may tear off parts of the roof membrane or damage panels.
4. Take Off the Flexible Solar Panel
Finally, once you detach the panel frames from the roof membrane, slowly start pulling from the suctioned areas. Gently increase the force on the suction cups to slide the flexible solar panels from their place. Keep the pulling direction aligned with the panels to avoid uneven lifting or cracking.
Depending on the solar panel area, detach one side initially to later peel off the entire panel smoothly. Reposition the suction cups appropriately if required. Place detached flexible solar panels properly to avoid contact with sharp ground objects. Scratches can further worsen the condition of removed aged panels.
So using this systematic technique helps remove flexible solar panels from RV roofs without encountering major difficulties or calling for professional assistance.
Things You Will Need to Do While Removing the Flexible Solar Panel
Apart from having the right tools and following the proper techniques discussed earlier, keep in mind the precautions below for the safe removal of flexible solar panels –
Work Slowly and Patiently
Removing flexible solar panels glued strongly with roof sealant requires patience and precaution. Rushing through the process can tear panel frames, damage wiring, or peel off parts of the roof membrane itself. So no matter how long it takes, keep working tirelessly focusing on safely detaching the panels.
Be Careful Not to Damage The Roof Membrane
The roof membrane in RVs prevents water seepage inside while providing the base for installing solar panels. Hence while separating panel frames using tools, be extra careful to not puncture or tear the roof membranes whatsoever. Preventing moisture ingress outweighs solar panel removal.
Use Care When on The Roof
Exercising caution when walking or standing on RV rooftops must be the top priority before removing any fixtures. The curved surface paired with a great height can cause painful falls or dangerous accidents if proper care is not undertaken. Take help from an additional person if possible for better safety.
No Part of The Installed Panel Shall Be Bent by More Than 10 Degrees Per Meter Length
Flexible solar panels get their name from adaptability to curved surfaces without cracking or affecting efficiency. However, the bending radius has a defined limit that the manufacturers outline. Going beyond the prescribed angle can break the solar cells and render panels useless. Hence inspect thoroughly for any bends or cracks before attempting removal. Stick to the safety guidelines shared for correctly pulling panels over rooftops. Avoid jerks or twists as you detach the flexible solar panels.
So keep these additional pointers in your mind as you carry out the solar panel removal process step-by-step yourself safely without seeking professional assistance. Being slow and careful takes precedence over finishing fast to avoid any roof or panel damage.
Can You Remove the Flexible Solar Panels By Yourself or Do You Need Someone Experienced?
Many RV owners think about whether flexible solar panel removal requires professional help or if it can be executed personally. Well, if you are ready to dedicate enough time and exercise safety precautions, removing flexible solar panels on your own is entirely possible.
The process only needs commonly available tools and attention for disconnecting wiring correctly and separating panel frames gradually from roof adhesive. Working patiently with an additional helping hand also allows large solar panel removal conveniently.
But for aged RVs with brittle roof membranes or multiple solar panels installed, professional assistance is advisable. Technicians have suitable tools and expertise to detach fused panels leading wiring through complex routes without causing any tears or leaks. They can also suggest alternative eco-friendly panels to replace eliminated old ones.
However easy DIY removal still works for relatively straightforward setups. Use safe methods and recommend guidance while working cautiously irregular steps up the RV roof. Removing flexible solar panels successfully yourself gives a sense of accomplishment and saves service charges. But be reasonable about seeking professionals if the difficulty level seems beyond your comfort.
How to Store the Removed Flexible Solar Panels Properly?
Once removed, flexible solar panels require proper storage to keep their components safe from physical or environmental damage. So here are some handy tips about storing detached solar panels correctly:
- Wipe panels with a soft dry cloth ensuring no dust or debris is leftover
- Stack panels horizontally avoiding pressure dents and allowing air circulation
- Wrap frames in foam or fabric sheets securing wires before stacking
- Keep indoors away from direct sunlight, heat, and moisture sources protecting wiring and solar cells from deteriorating untimely
- Store appropriately sized cartons or casings with “Fragile” labels avoiding scratches while transporting
- Check stored panels occasionally and revive them with electrical maintenance if necessary before attempting to reuse
Storing the flexible solar panels properly after removal increases future reuse chances for DIY experiments or backup installations. It also allows selling aged panels for value offering raw materials for recycling companies. Proper storage cares for investments in RV flexible solar panels by homeowners.
So now you know how to methodically remove and store flexible solar panels from the RV roof yourself using the basic tools and dedicated safety efforts needed. Carefully applying the outlined techniques allows safe removal without seeking expert assistance in the most straightforward scenarios. But staying reasonable about seeking professional help for complicated setups or brittle roof membranes remains equally vital too.
Equipping yourself with essential gear, sufficient knowledge along abundant precautions gives the confidence for flexible solar panel removal from RV rooftops anytime necessary. Use the information discussed above to safely detach solar panels on your mobile home without causing any injuries or expensive damages whatsoever. Getting proficient in correctly eliminating and storing aged solar panels also comes in handy when upgrading your RV electrical systems. Remain motivated but thoughtful, taking due diligence as you fly solo removing flexible solar equipment problems from the recreational vehicle rooftop yourself. You got this!
Short Questions and Answers
How can I determine if my RV flexible solar panels need removal?
Indications like broken solar cells, severe discoloration, dropped output efficiency, wire damage, or roof sealant failure signal the need for flexible solar panel removal from RV rooftop before problems aggravate.
Can I reuse old flexible solar panels removed from my RV somehow?
Innovative minds can try reusing old panels for small solar projects or artwork. Else panels dismantled professionally allow materials recycling if utterly damaged but still hold resale value for DIYers.
Is it absolutely safe to remove flexible solar panels myself from the RV roof?
Removing flexible solar panels yourself is mostly safe if you diligently follow safety guidelines and use all necessary precautions to avoid roof or panel damage. But seek help from professionals if unsure.
What precautions must I take when removing flexible solar panels from RV roof?
Precautions like disconnecting electrical cables first, working slowly with plastic tools on the roof, handling panels carefully, and wearing grip gloves/shoes are mandatory for safety and to prevent untimely damage.
Should I prefer to get flexible solar panels removed by skilled RV technicians always?
Seeking skilled professionals undoubtedly allows safe removal even from complicated setups. But DIY methods work perfectly fine too for straightforward cases if due diligence to prevent roof or panel tears is undertaken.