Categories
News

New Product: The Mod Spacer™!

Solar panels are typically fastened to rails using mid- and end-clamps, which also establish the proper gap between panels. But what about the inter-row gaps (shown below), where there are no mid clamps to set the gap size?

Gaps between panels on the same row (1) are set by the size of the mid clamps. Inter-row gaps (2) are up to the installer.

It’s up to the installer to decide how large these gaps should be, and how to go about maintaining the desired size. This is usually done using a temporary spacer, which is removed after the panels are fastened in place.

If you’re a solar installer, you’ve probably come up with a jerry-rigged solution for spacing solar modules. Maybe you use a spare mid clamp, a scrap piece of rail, or perhaps a handy colleague of yours has built one out of wood.

Straining to grasp a UFO mid clamp stuck between two panels

Either way, these DIY spacers tend to be:

  • Hard to remove when the weight of a panel is resting on them
  • Easily forgotten on the roof
  • Inefficient to use

We’ve developed a patent pending spacer that we think will make solar installer’s lives easier.

The Mod Spacer™ Cam

The Cam design allows the Mod Spacer to never get stuck between two panels. With its twist release feature, it can contract in size, allowing for easy removal.


The Mod Spacer™ Peg

The Peg design can be staged on a piece of 3/4″ EMT. You can add multiple spacers and arrange them to accommodate panels in landscape and portrait. With its extended arm, the Mod Spacer Peg can rest on the edge of a panel without falling. Pegs can also be used individually (without the conduit).

Features of both Mod Spacers

  • Set a 1/2″ inter-row gap
  • Durable plastic – Won’t scratch panels or hurt someone when dropped
  • Bright red color – Never forget a spacer again

So which Spacer do you need? Check out the Mod Spacer product pages for more info and suggestions for which version might be a good fit for you.

Not sure if the Mod Spacer would be a hit with your crew? Order a free sample from the drop-down menu on the product pages in our shop – no credit card required and we’ll even cover shipping!

We hope you enjoy this tool. Please let us know what you think in the product reviews!

Cheers,

The Slick Tools Team

Categories
News

NABCEP Trade Show ’22

11 years ago, in Malta, New York, former executive director of NABCEP Ezra Auerbach realized the potential there was for bringing together solar installers and exhibitors for a few days. The installers could all get up to date on their NABCEP certifications, while the exhibitors could make valuable industry connections and teach classes on new technologies and practices. Back then, there were a mere 18 exhibitors and around 150 attendees at the show. Needless to say, the show has come very far! At its most recent gathering in Phoenix, Arizona this March, over 80 exhibitors showed off their newest and coolest products, while over 700 attendees roamed the show floor and attended classes.

One of those booths was Slick Tools! We had the most amazing time connecting with fellow solar nerds and gathering incredible feedback on our tools. We heard more than once that NABCEP is by far the best solar trade show in its size class – and we couldn’t agree more. The Sheraton Phoenix was packed with technically minded installers from across the country who were eager to learn and give us their honest feedback.

We can’t blame so many people for stopping by our booth, though. In the end, we had a very eye catching display to show off our latest innovations. Our mock roof served as the perfect attendee magnet, while demonstrating what a critter guard job done right can (and should) look like. We were even able to squeeze in (pun intended) some Mod Spacers™ for people to try out.

To round off the trip, Marshall and I decided to tag on some more fun adventures. The plan was to set off for Phoenix, camp along the way, attend the trade show and finish with a hut trip on Vail Pass in Colorado. So, we stuffed the Subaru full of our entire trade show booth, clothes for 3 different climates as well as our camping gear and ski gear. Needless to say, we were exhausted by the end of it, but boy was it fun.

Overall, NABCEP ’22 was a great success. We’re proud to put the Slick Tools name on the map, and can’t wait to see our new solar friends at NABCEP ’23 in Missouri.

In the meantime, come find us at RE+ in Anaheim, CA this fall!

Best,

The Slick Tools Team

Categories
News

Slick Tools places 2nd at UNC E-Challenge!

After qualifying for the finals back in February, we pitched again on March 9th and got 2nd place in the open division! The prize money will enable us to continue product development and to visit some trade shows this year.

The UNC Monfort College of Business E-challenge is an annual competition where 10 companies compete for a prize fund in 2 divisions. Slick Tools qualified for the finals in the open division alongside companies like GelSana and RD Flows (1st and 3rd place, respectively). The 1st place for the collegiate division went to Submission Nutrition, a nutrition provider by and for martial artists.

The E-challenge provided us with some great feedback on our pitch, and we met a lot of amazing entrepreneurs and advisors along the way.

So, what’s next for Slick Tools? We’re headed to Phoenix, AZ for the annual NABCEP Continuing Education trade show! We can’t wait to show off our tools and meet industry leaders face to face.

Cheers!
The Slick Tools Team

Categories
News

GRID Alternatives just got an AG Bender™!

GRID Alternatives is a non-profit organization based in California, that provides underrepresented individuals and tribal communities across the globe with solar who would not have been able to afford the transition to renewable energy. In addition, they train hundreds of solar installer each year. These cohorts of trainees from all backgrounds are taught the basics of solar systems before applying their knowledge on actual projects. With their industry connections, GRID enables these individuals to land jobs at solar installers across the country after they complete the 10-week program. Sam, our business developer actually completed GRID’s “Solar Training Academy” in 2020. His cohort worked on a commercial project in Boulder for 10 weeks.

We’ve long admired GRID for helping individuals across the globe transition to renewable energy, and for helping build a strong workforce in the industry.

We decided to visit one of these cohorts last Tuesday on a residential project in Denver to donate an AG Bender. Hopefully we can partner with GRID in the future, as we develop a full line of solar-specific tools!

Categories
News

UNC Entrepreneurial Challenge Finalists!

Marshall and I took part in the University of Northern Colorado’s Entrepreneurial Challenge last week, pitching Slick Tools LLC to a panel of judges. We focused our presentation on the Animal Guard Bender, but also shared our vision for a full line of solar-specific tools. In the end, we were able to secure a spot in the finals!

There are two divisions in the competition: the collegiate division and an open division. In the finals on March 9th, all teams from both divisions will compete against each other for a share of $25,000.

We had some interesting contestants in the open division. GelSana Therapeutics has invented a gel that heals wounds faster, and Sarus Lifting is working on a construction logistics app. Four companies from each division made it to the finals, so we’ll have our work cut out for us!

Regardless of the outcome, the E-challenge was a great experience for Marshall and me, and we’re stoked to pitch again.

Categories
News

The New AG Bender is here!

AG Bender 7: New Features

Since the inception of the AG Bender we have constantly been making improvements based on your feedback. Recently, we made significant modifications that we’re extremely excited about and we hope that you will be too!

First off, we’ve made some changes to the website! You can now shop for Benders here. We are offering a $150 discount for your first Bender purchase! Just use the discount code “first_agb” at checkout.

Now let’s talk about the machine. We’ve made the AG Bender compatible with more wire mesh types, including PVC coated ones by these manufacturers:

Nils doing friction testing

We did a lot of friction testing with different materials to make the Bender easier to use. As a result, we now offer either Delrin™ or Teflon™ rods, depending on your choice of mesh.
These parts can be easily swapped by customers on site.

spiffy mesh spool with tape measure showing diameter

The Bender is able to accommodate mesh spools with various inner and outer diameters.

The other changes we are excited about

A “wave plate” detent system on the machine perfectly aligns the mesh when changing the width of the Bender.

top view of strut channel

And finally, we increased the length of the strut channel, making the Bender easier to anchor.

For more information, visit the AG Bender page.

As always, we look forward to hearing your feedback!

Categories
News

Field Tester Program

Become a Prototype Tester!

Here at Slick Tools, we strive to provide you with high quality tools that make installing Solar easier. Putting our tools into the field to get tested by the people who will actually use them has been a huge part of our product development. The more feedback we can get, the better.

That’s why we started our Field Testing Program.

This is a great opportunity for you to test the latest and greatest tools on the market, and for us to get invaluable feedback on our designs!

Here’s how it works:

  • Fill out the Field Tester Signup Form here
  • If one of our prototypes aligns with your needs, we’ll send you a unit to test
  • We’ll periodically ask you to fill out a short survey so we can improve our products.
AG Bender in Namaste solar Van

Here’s one of our first AG Benders in the field over at Namasté Solar!

Feel free to reach out with any questions you have about the program!

Cheers,
The Slick Tools Team

Categories
News

New additions to Team Slick Tools!

Earlier this month I was lucky enough to pitch the company at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Startups2students event, which connects startup-curious students with local companies. A number of students and recent grads reached out afterward, and I’m happy to announce we’ve hired two of them!

Sam Taylor graduated from the CU Boulder Leeds School of Business last December. He dove into the solar industry head first by joining GRID Alternatives as an installer, where he helped build a couple large commercial projects. He went on to lead a trail crew with Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, where he rebuilt portions of the epic Colorado Trail among other projects. What will he build next? Marketing and sales strategies for Slick Tools!

Nils Johnson is another recent CU grad, from the Mechanical Engineering department. He is committed to the global effort to reverse climate change, and his experience includes leading the CU Backcountry Ski Club and designing cool metal stuff for McLean Forge! Nils has already been instrumental in R&D testing related to the AG Bender.

As you might have guessed from the photos, both Sam and Nils are trained in avalanche safety, which will come in handy on the occasional Slick Tools Backcountry Ski Day. Looking forward to having these two accelerate the growth of the company (and dig my butt out of the snow)!

Marshall Poland
Founder, Slick Tools LLC

Categories
News

Slick Tools is Hiring!

Want to join a startup making innovative products to support the rapidly growing solar industry? Slick Tools is looking for a business-oriented person to help us with… pretty much everything!

Check out the job description and apply on AngelList or LinkedIn.

Categories
News

New AG Bender™ Instruction Video

We’re pleased to present a new video showing how to use the AG Bender – watch it below or on our new AG Bender™ User Guide page.

The video provides a detailed look at how the machine works and its various features. Enjoy!