Predicted to triple within the next five years, the fast-growing solar market is packed with career opportunities for technicians, project managers, electricians, and many other professionals. That’s why, when designing Fluke solar tools, we always include the input of experienced solar professionals and technicians. Their insights help ensure that Fluke tools are designed with essential characteristics to provide an easy onboarding and smooth workflow that will help the workforce thrive in this booming field.
Flexible designs, simplified data management, and multifunctionality help create a quick learning curve for new solar workers, streamlining solar project installs, inspections, and maintenance, and eliminating unnecessary challenges. Equipping your team with easy-to-use tools helps both new and veteran solar teams to complete projects accurately, on time, and without frustration.
1. Small and Flexible for Tight Spaces
Access to essential components of solar projects isn’t always easy. Hard-to-reach elements such as cables in crowded combiner boxes can cause headaches, and the wrong tools can threaten damage to the system, as well as worker safety.
It’s imperative that tools such as clamp meters for current testing and maintenance enable easy measurement even in those cramped areas. For example, the 393 Solar Clamp Meter CAT III 1500 V has thin, durable jaws and an iFlex probe that can twist through extremely small spaces. The jaws and probe allow solar technicians to provide accurate current measurements even in small, full combiner boxes.
2. Easy Data Synchronization for Faster, More Accurate Reporting
It’s often difficult to keep track of data when dealing with complex, large projects. Siloed, hard-to-access, inaccurate, or just plain absent information can cause significant delays and frustration from hours spent chasing after documentation or having to input the same information repeatedly, instead of moving forward with the project.
To help solar teams avoid such holdups, several of our solar instruments incorporate user-friendly software and the ability to access information across multiple tools. For example, the Fluke TruTest Software is a single platform that covers all certification and documentation needs for solar asset management, data storage, and reporting. Technicians can import measurement results directly from the tool to the computer. This simplifies the organization and analysis of data, compares individual asset data to previous measurements, and generates a thorough and easily understandable report for clients.
Bluetooth connection between instruments also minimizes repetitive documentation and increases accuracy across reporting. The SMFT-1000 and IRR2-SOL Solar Irradiance Meter are connected via Bluetooth, which feeds information into the SMFT. This allows technicians to quickly log data in the field, instead of having to take down measurements and input the data at a computer later.
3. Multifunctionality: The Fewer Tools, the Better
Ease of use in the field includes physical comfort and efficiency: technicians are weighed down by each tool they carry in their toolbelt or case, and they must interrupt their workflow each time they reach for a new tool. Multifunctional tools reduce the amount of equipment required for projects, and increase project efficiency, eliminating the need to stop and swap in new tools for every step of the job.
As an all-in-one solar PV testing tool for installation, commissioning, and maintenance, the SMFT-1000 helps technicians speed up their workflow. In just one package, it enables the measurement of
- IV curve tracing
- Protective resistance earth (Rpe)
- Open circuit voltage (Voc)
- Short circuit current (Isc)
- Insulation resistance (Rins)
- Inverter efficiency
- Diode and surge protection device testing
The Fluke Solar Irradiance Meter also offers multifunctionality, as noted in a customer review :
“I have been using irradiance meters for well over a decade and got my hands on this one about a year ago. This is the best irradiance meter I've used and has a lot of functionality in one unit. Providing temperature measurements at the meter probe and an external temp probe that can reach ~3' to get to the back of the solar module is great. An invaluable diagnostic tool in my solar kit.”
4. User Experience: The Key to Faster Onboarding and More Efficient Projects
The solar industry has a particular need for user-friendly tools: a high percentage of technicians are brand-new to the field, making intuitive tool designs imperative for quick onboarding and efficiently completed projects. These tools help new technicians avoid the pitfalls that can be caused by unfamiliar and complex solar instruments, documentation, and processes. Compact design, data synchronization, multifunctionality, and other features focused on the technician’s user experience create a smooth process for technicians, teams, and solar projects. They’re the keys to helping your teams thrive in an industry full of opportunity.