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Solar rack works. Floating solar systems

Solar rack works. Floating solar systems

    Solar rack works

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    Have you ever looked at the solar panels on roofs and wondered exactly what they do, and how? Well, those hi-tech expanses of shimmering glass are actually just one component in a complex network that harnesses the sun’s renewable energy to deliver electricity to the home within.

    Let’s take a simple, step-by-step look at how solar power works.

    How Do Solar Panels Make Electricity?

    STEP 1: Sunlight activates the panels.

    Each individual panel is constructed of a layer of silicon cells, a metal frame, a glass casing surrounded by a special film, and wiring. For maximum effect, the panels are grouped together into “arrays” (an ordered series) and placed on rooftops or in large outdoor spaces. The solar cells, which are also referred to as photovoltaic cells, absorb sunlight during daylight hours.

    STEP 2: The cells produce electrical current.

    Within each solar cell is a thin semiconductor wafer made from two layers of silicon. One layer is positively charged, and the other negatively charged, forming an electric field. When light energy from the sun strikes a photovoltaic solar cell, it energizes the cell and causes electrons to ‘come loose’ from atoms within the semiconductor wafer. Those loose electrons are set into motion by the electric field surrounding the wafer, and this motion creates an electrical current.

    solar, rack, works, systems

    STEP 3: The electrical energy is converted.

    You now have solar panels working efficiently to transform sunlight into electricity, but the electricity generated is called direct current (or DC) electricity, which is not the type of electricity that powers most homes, which is alternating current (or AC) electricity. Fortunately, DC electricity can easily be changed into AC electricity by a gadget called an inverter. In modern solar systems, these inverters can be configured as one inverter for the entire system or as individual microinverters attached behind the panels.

    Roof Mounts for Solar Panels

    A solar panel roof mount (also called a solar racking mount or solar system mount) will hold your solar panels and system in place. The mounting system is a crucial component because it is responsible for securing and stabilizing the solar panels on your roof without compromising the roof’s stability or water tightness.

    You want to be completely confident that you have selected a mounting system that can stand up to harsh weather and other factors. Your roof mount is one of the most important ways to protect your investment in solar energy.

    The Rundown on Solar Racking: Everything You Need to Know

    Solar racking is an essential part of any solar energy system. It is the system that holds the solar panels in place on your roof and ensures they are secure and stable. If you’re considering installing a solar energy system for your home, it’s important to understand the basics of solar racking and how it works. In this blog post, we’ll provide you with an overview of what solar racking is and the different types of solar racking systems available. We’ll also discuss how to choose the best system for your needs.

    Solar racking, also known as PV racking. is the process of mounting solar panels to a structure. This can be a roof, a ground-mounted system or even a pole mount. Solar racking involves choosing and installing the components and systems needed to support and secure your solar array. The type of racking system you need will vary depending on the size and design of your solar array and the installation location. Solar racking systems are designed to withstand different environmental conditions, including wind, rain and snow. They must also provide an adequate amount of support and stability to ensure your solar array remains in place.

    • Roof Mounting
    • Ground Mounting
    • Side of Pole Mounting
    • Top of Pole Mounting

    Roof mounts are the most common type of PV racking and can be mounted directly onto your roof or onto an independent racking structure. Depending on the roof type and size, different mounting systems may need to be used, such as clamping, ballasting, and rail systems. In addition, roof mount systems can also be adjusted to accommodate different roof pitches and tilt angles. which helps maximize the performance of your solar system.

    Which Solar Panel Roof Mount Solutions are Best?

    altE offers the following high quality solar panel mounting and racking solutions from top brands:

    IronRidge Roof Mounting System

    IronRidge is well known for its XR Rails, which are used for their roof mounting systems and ground mounting systems as well. IronRidge offers an easy-to-use Design Assistant tool to help you list out which parts you need for your racking system.

    For their roof mounting system, you will need to:

    1) Choose your XR Rail:

    XR10 Rail Select Clear: 14′, 17′

    • Low-profile rail- no snow areas
    • Up to 6′ spanning capability
    • Light/Moderate load capability

    XR100 Rail Select Clear: 11′, 14′, 17’Select Black: 11′, 14′,17′

    • Std. residential mounting rail
    • Up to 8′ spanning capability
    • Heavy load capability

    XR1000 Rail Select Clear: 11′, 14′, 17′

    • Heavyweight mounting rail
    • Up to 12′ spanning capability
    • Extreme load capability

    Need Splices? Select: XR10, XR100, XR1000

    • Use internal splices for a seamless, bonded connection that extends rail length

    And Endcaps? Select: XR10, XR100, XR1000

    • Endcaps provide a finished look to rails, while protecting the collection of water and debris inside the rail

    2) Choose the appropriate Clamps Grounding:

    Midclamps Select: Clear, Black

    • Universal Fastening Object UFO
    • Bonds the modules to the rails

    Endclamps Shop: Stopper Sleeves or CAMO

    • Stoppers snap onto a UFO
    • Turns into a bonded endclamp
    • Sized to module frame width
    • NEW- CAMO Universal Endclamp fits all modules

    Grounding Shop: Lugs and Straps

    • Only one grounding lug per row
    • Microinverter bonding kit
    • Grounding strap for rows over 50ft

    3) Lastly, don’t forget your Attachments:

    Flashing Select: Mill, Black

    • FlashVue. superior waterproofing
    • Conduit Mount for flashing conduit, strut, or junction boxes
    • Bonding hardware sold separately

    Slotted L-Feet Select: Mill, Black

    • Drop-in design for Rapid and secure rail attachment
    • Bonding hardware sold separately

    Tilt Mounts Shop: Tilt Leg Kits

    • Tilt Mounts for flat roofs

    Tamarack Flush Roof Mount System Kits

    Tamarack Solar offers economical and robust mounting kits that are UPS-able. They also produce ground mounts, top-of-pole mounts, and side-of-pole mounts. Their roof mount kits consist of:

    • All the parts needed for a 4- or 8-panel roof mount installation. all in one UPS-able kit
    • Easy wire management where all system wiring fits inside the rails
    • Universal clamps that fit a variety of solar panel frame thicknesses, from 30mm to 40mm
    • Different kit versions for light to heavy snow/wind loads

    Solar Stack Adhesive Roof Mount System

    Check out the rail-less and roof penetration-free flush and tilt mount option from Solar Stack that uses a polyurethane foam that adheres to both a huge variety of roof types and the strictest building codes in North America. This mounting system is ideal in wet climates and is rated to withstand conditions even in High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZs) such as South Florida and Puerto Rico.

    • No roof penetrations
    • No rails needed. panels attach directly to mounts
    • No mechanical attachments or ballast systems needed
    • Simply prime, spray foam, and place mounts
    • Use 12 mounts in coastal areas and other wind zones

    Clamps Grounding

    Flashing and L-Feet

    IronRidge Roof Mount Rails

    Solar Stack Adhesive Roof Mounts

    Splices Endcaps

    Tamarack Solar Roof Mounts

    Tilt Mounts

    Info on Roof Mounts for Solar Panels

    A roof mounting system may require the following items:

    • Rails. to provide a platform for mounting the modules
    • Splices. to connect rails as needed
    • Mid clamps. to be located between each module
    • End clamps. to secure the end of last module
    • L-feet or standoff. to secure the rail to the roof
    • Flashing. to prevent water leakage
    • Grounding lugs. to run the grounding wire

    What Are Solar Panel Mounting Rails?

    Solar Panel Mounting Rails are a metal rail that protect solar panels against buckling while safely and efficiently transferring loads from the ground up into the structure. Solar panels experience countless extreme weather conditions throughout their lifetimes. High winds capable of tearing off roofs and snow falls heavy enough to bend metal frames are two weather examples your solar panels may have to deal with.

    Their superior spanning capability means they require fewer roof attachments, which reduces the number of roof penetra­tions and the amount of installation time.

    Why You Need Clamps Grounding

    Clamps. The module clamps connect the roof attachments to the mounting rail. There are several different types of clamps for each angle and corner on the solar panels.

    • For mid clamps. the number of mid clamps required is equal to one fewer than the number of modules on each row.
    • For end clamps. four are required for each row as end clamps are going to be attached to both ends of each of the two rails.

    Grounding. It’s extremely important to ground your solar panels and your equipment when you’re installing a solar power system. If you experience a lot of lightning storms in your area, grounding your solar system could help prevent damage to your system. Furthermore, the NEC requires that all equipment be electrically bonded and connected to the grounding system to ensure the safety of anyone that might come in contact with a dangerous fault current.

    Finding The Right Mounts for Your Solar Panel Installation

    Still unsure about which mounting option is right for your project? At altE, our team is always happy to help – and with our extensive expertise, we can recommend options for even the most complex or unusual of setups. Call us today for a free quote for roof mounts for your solar system at 877-878-4060.

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    altE 330 Codman Hill Road Boxborough, MA 01719

    Different types of roof mounts

    Flush mounts are the first type of roof mount that we will cover. They are an inexpensive and a simple option suitable for most roof-mounted solar panel installations. They are generally not adjustable, and as the name suggests, they are designed to lay flush with the roof surface on which they are mounted. The solar panels are generally secured using metal clips that hold the panel in place, leaving about 2-4 inches of space between the roof and bottom of the panel. This allows for plenty of airflow along the underside of the panel, which keeps the panel cool and operating at maximum efficiency. If a panel overheats, its efficiency drops and so does its life.

    These mounts are great for homeowners, less so for business owners. Roof mounts in general aim to protect your roof as well as the solar panel itself. The flush mount reduces wind load on the solar panels. Flush mounts are ideal for reducing the dead load on your roof, they work for any type of system, are suitable for high wind areas, there is room for flexibility in the panel slope and orientation and they provide minimal interference with roof drains.

    They are not without faults though. Depending on the type of roof you have, installing a flush mount could require a roof penetration (penetrations are not required normally), which will increase the risk of roof leakage.

    Ballasted mounts are similar to flush mounts, but use weights to hold the solar panels in place on your roof. This design can save labor time and costs, but presents an additional challenge of getting the weights onto the roof, which can be quite substantial when dealing with larger systems. Ballasted mounts do not require roof penetrations, are faster and cheaper to install and allow for a panel tilt of up to 20 degrees for optimal solar exposure. However, this mount increases the load on your roof, has lower power density, and is less suitable for high-wind areas. They are limited by certain site conditions like roof slope and building height.

    There are also hybrid mounts, which you can probably guess are a combination of flush mounts and ballasted mounts. They use some structural elements of both mounts to accommodate some roofs that can’t support either. Hybrid mounts require minimal roof penetration, can be fast to install (depending on the model) and allows for custom design optimization based on factors like load bearing and wind. These mounts are typically more expensive and can take up more space on your roof, leaving less room for your system.

    Roof-ground mounts are similar in design to normal ground mounts, but are able to sit on your roof. Depending on the type of roof you have, this may be better than a flush mount. Roof-ground mounts have the ability to come adjustable or fixed for maximum solar exposure throughout the year.

    Roof mounts are optimal when your home or building has sufficient space for all of the solar panels that you require. They also have the option of being fixed or adjustable and can also be installed with a solar tracker. Solar trackers are an automated system that allows your panels to track the sun’s path throughout the day for optimal solar exposure and collection. However, while solar trackers do increase efficiency and reduce manual upkeep of your panels, they are not commonly used due to the hefty increase in total cost and the addition of another moving part that potentially break down and cause problems for your array.

    Mounting your solar panels

    As stated before, for the purposes of this article we will be focusing on roof mounts. Whether you have chosen a flush or roof-ground mount, the racks(the rails on which the solar panels sit) need to be mounted to your roof. These are generally mounted in rows across the length of your roof.

    There are a few things you must know before installing your panels:

    • Type of roof surface (Spanish tiles, flat gravel, concrete tiles, asphalt shingles, etc.)
    • Length and width of the array space
    • Number of rows needed
    • Thickness of the roofing material between the mount itself and the rafters of the roof
    • Distance between the beams of the roof

    Overall, the potential problems that come with racking and mounting your solar panels have nothing to do with the weight of the system and what that does to your roof structurally. With the proper racks, mounts and installation, your roof will have no trouble handling the load. The main concern is the solar panels catching strong winds and flying off of your roof, taking a chunk of the roof with it. As long as the racks and mounts are installed properly though, this isn’t a problem. Most, if not all, mounts are rated to withstand wind speeds up to 150 mph.

    Leaking roofs are another large area of concern many people have when installing solar panels, but again, if the install is done correctly, leaking roofs should never be a problem. There are some cases of rain water seeping into the penetrated area of the rafters, but flashing the penetrated area, which simply involves covering the area with a metal plate to make it water-tight, can prevent this. On top of that, a sealant is also placed around the penetrated area for additional protection against the elements. These sealants generally last longer then the solar systems themselves, up to 50 years for high-grade sealants.

    The actual mount itself is a clamp that is attached to the rail and clamps the solar panel down against the rail, securing it in place. There are a few different types of clamps, and the best fit depends on the type of roof (flat or pitched) and the type of shingles.

    Standard roof mounts and attachments

    The standoff penetration is a standard attachment that is best used on flat roofs that are pitched, comp shingle or tile. Roofs with tile or thick roofing material will likely require a standoff. The 4-hole base is meant to be used with TGI rafters and can accommodate up to a 10 inch standoff. HD standoffs are used on flat roofs where there is a lot of built-up foam installation and a taller standoff is required. The L-foot with base and flashing (displayed in the image at right) is recommended for simple, flush mounts to a roof with composition shingles only. Finally, there are standoff tilt kits that allow for 10. 45 degree tilts of your solar panels. Depending on the roof type, it may require a combination of these components to achieve the optimum conditions.

    For metal, non-standard roof styles, there are a few options to consider. The metal roof seam clamp attaches an L-foot or PV module directly to a commercial grade standing seam metal roof without penetrating the metal. The corrugated roof block allows attachment (displayed in the image at left) of the L-foot directly to a structural member covered with a corrugated metal roof without collapsing or crushing the ridge in the metal roof material. The new metal roof base provides a robust self-sealing mounting base for common corrugated metal roof profiles. The base seals to the roof with an integral EPDM Rubber Washer and a sealing top cap. This new base assembly kit has been tested to withstand over 4,000 lbs. of uplift force(from strong winds, for example). Finally, the hanger bolt clamp allows a versatile installation on roof surfaces that won’t allow L-feet or stand-offs.

    solar, rack, works, systems

    Array edge screen and accessories

    The array edge screen(or critter guard) is designed to keep birds, squirrels and other small animals from making their homes under your solar panels. These screens are attached to the sides of fixed solar panels secured by a flush mount and are made from vinyl-coated steel mesh screening that can be adjusted to fit many different height variations. The mesh screen is rugged enough to keep even the most persistent creatures out.

    Some accessories for your solar panels include splice kits, which allow you to attach two lengths of rail together to create a strong single support. Rail end caps cover the ends of the rails to create a seamless line to the end of the array. Rail covers provide a complete wire management solution and a clean look to an installation. Channel nuts snap into the rail and provide a mounting location for a standard bolt. Finally, the microinverter attachment kit includes all of the hardware needed to attach microinverters to a system.

    solar, rack, works, systems

    Solar rack works

    Solar Panels Plus provides innovated, cost effective racking solutions for any PV solar application. Ground and pole mounted racking solutions are perfect for when roof space is not available.

    These solar racking systems are applicable for commercial, residential, government, utility, and industrial applications alike, and available for all types of soil and substrates.

    An essential component of any solar energy system, these solar PV racking systems allow PV panels to be mounted in a variety of ways, utilizing top of pole, side of pole, and different types of ground mount racking systems.

    In many applications, customers will opt for a pole or ground mount system because of the small amount of ground space these systems occupy. It also allows the PV panels to be installed at the perfect angle, maximizing power production and efficiency.

    All types of solutions are available, and our technical and sales department can help you select the right fit for your customer. Contact us for design assistance and pricing.

    PV Racking. Top of Pole Mount

    The SPP Top of Pole mount system provides a fully functional, secure, pole mounted racking system for solar pv panels. This racking system is ideal for installations with little to no roof space, when shading is an issue, or to achieve maximum power production from the solar array.

    This module specific design allows for a quick assembly, while utilizing high strength, welded steel components and corrosion resistant hardware. This allows for this racking solution to be installed in a variety of climates, including harsh environments and in high-saline atmospheres.

    The mounting system also allows for seasonal adjustability by providing six different tilt-angle settings and can be operated by a single person.

    This allows the owner of the system to quickly make seasonal adjustments, gaining all the efficiency and power production of a motorized tracker without the added expense.

    • High Wind Resistance: Standard mounting systems resist up to 90MPH speeds, with higher wind speed models available.
    • Durable Construction: MIG welded steel strong backs mounting sleeves, with double-coat urethane enamel paint
    • Commercial Grade Hardware: 6000 Series structural aluminum mounting rails, stainless steel module hardware, zinc plated assembly
    • Flexible Design: Various sizes available from single module mounting to 24 modules mounting per pole.
    • Seasonal Adjustability: 15 to 65 tilt angle settings in 10 increments for seasonal adjustability.
    • Fast Assembly: Module-specific design reduces number of parts, removes the need for measuring, and allows for fast installation.
    • Worry Free Design: Easy access bottom flange bolting, factory set module hole placements allow for uniform spacing.

    PV Racking. Top of Pole Mount Documentation

    PV Racking. Side of Pole Mount

    The SPP Side of Pole (SPM) mount system provides a fully functional, secure, side-pole mounted racking system for solar pv panels. This racking system is for smaller installations, or in areas where real estate and shading is severely limited.

    This module specific design allows for a quick assembly, and provides a mounting structure for multiple modules fastened to a single pole.

    The SPM utilizes high-strength aluminum components and corrosion resistant hardware for long term durability. even in harsh conditions.

    Much like the Top of Pole Mount (TPM) system, this racking solution also provides several tilt-angle settings for maximizing seasonal production.

    • High Wind Resistance: Standard mounting systems resist up to 90MPH speeds, with higher wind speed models available.
    • Durable Construction: MIG welded steel strong backs mounting sleeves, with double-coat urethane enamel paint
    • Commercial Grade Hardware: 6000 Series structural aluminum mounting rails, stainless steel module hardware, zinc plated assembly.
    • Flexible Design: Various sizes available from single module mounting to 4 modules.
    • Seasonal Adjustability: 30 to 60 tilt angle settings with full range adjustability.
    • Fast Assembly: Module-specific design reduces number of parts, removes the need for measuring, and allows for fast installation.
    • Worry Free Design: Easy access bottom flange bolting, factory set module hole placements allow for uniform spacing.

    PV Racking. Side of Pole Mount Documentation

    PV Racking. Large Ground Mount

    The SPP Large Ground Mount (LGM) is a quick-install, secure mounting structure for PV modules using 2 or 2.5 SCH 40/80 steel pipe. This racking solution is designed for ground installations, making it an ideal application in large scale systems or when roof space is not available.

    The module-specific design reduces the number of components in each system, saving time and money in labor costs. Each frame is designed to fit each module, making assembly fast, easy, and worry-free.

    The structure utilizes high-strength welded aluminum components and corrosion resistant hardware for long term reliability. Each system comes at a fixed tilt angle, which reduces installation and maintenance time.

    • High Wind Resistance: Standard mounting systems designed to withstand up to 130MPH wind zones.
    • Durable Construction: MIG welded aluminum pipe cans.
    • Commercial Grade Hardware: 6000 Series structural aluminum mounting rails, stainless steel module hardware, zinc plated assembly
    • Flexible Design: Several height options available, 2 through 6 modules high in landscape orientation.
    • Fully Adjustable Design: Capable of any fixed tilt angle.
    • Versatile Installation: Optional flange base for roof attachment available.

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