Posted Saturday, December 17, 2016
Can I String Christmas Lights with My Solar Panels?
When it’s holiday time, our thoughts turn to spending time with loved ones, eating good food and, of course, stringing up a huge collection of colorful Christmas lights for all of the neighborhood to see. For some of us, hanging Christmas lights is a decades-old holiday tradition that signifies the start of the holiday season and maybe even the start of a contest among neighbors. If you have solar panels on your home, you might have thought to ask the question: “Is it OK to string Christmas lights on my solar panels?” And, if you haven’t thought that, maybe you’ve thought about how close your lights can get to your panels before presenting any kind of danger.
Injuries related to hanging Christmas light resulted in over 13,000 trips to urgent care centers last year alone, so it’s clearly something to take seriously. Granted, most of the injuries representing that number were from falls, back strain and other impact-related injuries. However, there are hundreds of injuries that are related to burn and shock trauma. These injuries could have been avoided by keeping a few basic, common-sense tips in mind. Firstly, when setting up a daisy-chained string of Christmas lights, never go above the manufacturer’s specified number of maximum connected light strands. When it comes to your solar panels, it’s a best practice to have all Christmas lights on a common electrical ground as the rest of the electric system serving the house. A common mistake made when setting up Christmas lights is using a stand-alone battery as the power. This doesn’t share a common ground with the panels and as such should not be used.
Also, remember to waterproof all connections that are made between light strands. While this may not directly impact your solar panels, it is a good way to safeguard from in-line circuit faults and shorts due to water intrusion. A serious short in a string of Christmas lights could result in failures elsewhere in the home, including wiring connected to your panels.
Urban Solar wishes you and yours a festive and fun holiday season complete with all of the great things we love to enjoy this time of year. For expertise related to solar panels, residential solar systems and commercial solar energy production systems, rely on us. Our energy assessments are completely free and we can get started on one for you right away.