Siting, installing, and maintaining home-scale wind-electric systems require both specific knowledge and specific tools. Whether you’ll be designing and installing one system or dozens, you need the right tools for the job. Basic hand tools, such as wrenches, sockets, and screwdrivers used for any mechanical work should certainly be in your toolbox. And you will need the tower, turbine, and other equipment manuals to facilitate your installation.
Beyond these things, the gear shown here is the most important equipment for the jobs at hand. If you’re only going to install one system, you may be better off borrowing or renting some of these tools, or hiring a professional for certain parts of the project.
Some of the tools listed are specialized; others are common. Some will only be used once; others will be useful for maintenance and analysis throughout the life of your wind system. Once you have the mechanical, construction, and safety skills necessary for installing a wind-electric system, having the right tools for the job will make your wind installation job better, faster, and safer.
TRANSIT OR WATER LEVEL
Either of these tools will allow you to set tower base and anchor points, and the transit can help you make a tower plumb.
SMALL GREASE GUN & NEEDLE TIP
Most modern wind turbines don’t require a lot of greasing, but it’s important to do it well. This small gun gets grease into the places you need to.
CORDLESS RECIPROCATING SAW
With its ability to cut a variety of materials—metal, wood, and plastics—even in hard-to-reach places, this increasingly common tool often becomes one of the handiest on the job.
Grounding is critical for wind generator towers and renewable electricity systems, and this tool makes the labor-intensive job of getting the 8-foot-long rods in the ground much easier.
HOLE SAWS & STEP BITS
Electrical work almost always involves putting holes in wood, metal, or other materials. These tools cut smooth-edged holes of various sizes with minimal effort.
TAP & DIE SET
Too often; wind system studs and threaded holes are gummed up with crud or galvanization. A tap and die set allows you to clean them with ease.
200-FOOT TAPE MEASURE
Measuring tower guy radius, tower layout footprint, and obstruction heights are a few of the jobs that this tool can assist with.
CORDLESS IMPACT DRILL & DRIVERS
Attaching cable clamps and other tower and turbine hardware is a snap with a cordless drill. Having the impact-driver feature helps loosen stubborn fasteners.
CORDLESS ANGLE GRINDER
Cutting guy wires to length is one common use for this tool on a wind installation site, and other cutting and grinding jobs become easier with it on hand.
Tower and turbine fasteners often have torque specifications, and this tool lets you accurately tighten nuts and bolts to meet specs.
SPUD WRENCHES & ALIGNMENT PUNCHES
With guyed lattice and freestanding towers, getting the bolt holes to line up is often a challenge. So having these tools—known to tradespeople as spud wrenches and spuds—is essential while aligning parts.
Electrical work requires a mix of specialty electrical tools. Shown here are some of the tools used most frequently for the electrical side of wind-electric installations.