How to Safely Disconnect Solar Panels

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Large opaque cloths

  • Safety glasses and gloves

  • Screwdriver or socket wrench

  • Electrical tape, plastic bag or rubber terminal cover

Solar panels produce power as long as sunlight hits the panels.
See More Photos

Solar panels are designed to take light from the sun and convert it into electricity. As these devices become more popular in the residential community, safety becomes an issue. These units produce electricity as long as any amount of light hits the solar panels. This presents a safety concern because this can make maintenance on the solar power system very dangerous. The size of the solar power system determines how it should be disconnected from the system during maintenance.


Video of the Day

Step 1

Take large opaque cloths and completely cover each solar power panel in the system. By cutting off the sunlight to the solar panel, the panel will stop producing electricity. Put on safety glasses and gloves.

Step 2

Turn on the voltage meter and set it to measure direct current voltage (DC). Touch the metal part of the red positive probe of the voltage meter to the positive terminal of the solar panel. Then hold the metal part of the black negative probe to the negative terminal of the solar power panel. The meter should give you a reading of 0 volts. This process reduces the possibility of electric shock.


Step 3

Disconnect the wires connecting the solar panel to the solar power system by loosening the bolts or screws holding the solar power wires in place. A screwdriver or socket wrench can be used for this, depending on the type of wire connection terminals. Some larger systems use a solar power disconnect switch for added safety in case one of the solar panels gets exposed to light during maintenance.

Step 4

Cover the ends of each wire with electrical tape, a plastic bag or a rubber terminal cover to prevent physical contact should the wires become live. Also cover the solar panel wire connect terminals.


Keep the solar panels covered during disconnect procedures. Failure to do so can cause injury or death.