DIY Solar Panel Lift/Roof Hoist

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Ever wrestle a full size solar panel up onto the roof of your house?

I carried a couple up a ladder but decided that was not safe, either for me or the panel. I looked into pre-made roof hoist and found they cost from $500 up to $2000 or more. Most were made for heavier items like shingles, but I only needed something to raise a 45 pound solar panel,

I had some old 2x4 lumber that I salvaged out of my old patio enclosure. The boards were too short to reach the roof, but I joined two boards together for about a 12 foot length. Then I needed some sort of wheel and track system for the load platform to ride up and down on.

I thought about some small wheels rolling against the wood, but it was a little too rough and warped for that. Then I found these nifty trolley wheels that fit into regular uni-strut channel. So 4 trolley wheels and 4 lengths of 6 foot aluminum channel and I had the track system installed.

I bolted the trolley wheels onto a scrap of exterior plywood, added bottom and back supports and the cargo platform was done. Then I added a rope pulley top and bottom along with a rope cleat near the bottom to tie off the rope. Stringing the rope from the top to bottom to top and down gave a 2 to 1 mechanical advantage and is about right for the weight of a panel.

The hoist works quite well for what I needed it for. It cost under $200 but all the purchased items can be re-used for other projects if needed. I probably could have used a pair of 10' steel uni-strut sections with some cross bracing and that would have cost about half the price.

Hope you find this interesting. Thanks for watching!
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