While string lines can be very useful and helpful, they also tend to blow in the wind and sag if they aren’t tight. Most module frames have square edges, which make line of sight an excellent way to confirm alignment. Once a module is roughly in place, one person can sight down the row or string line to position the module, and the other can tighten the hardware.
It is easiest to install and secure module wiring as the installation is progressing. If your rack system has channels for running module leads, put the leads into the rails as you go. If you are using standard lugs and copper wire for grounding, installing as you go will allow you to mount this hardware to the bottom of the modules so that they are hidden under the array.
When you are finished with module installation, double-check all bolt torques. With the modules fully installed, the rails can be trimmed to length. A reciprocating or band saw makes the best cuts. Be careful that you don’t cut into the roof!
Several rail systems offer rail end-caps to spruce up the installation. Some manufacturers offer module end-clamps, which allow the rails to be cut flush with the array’s edge. Most of these clamps have the added benefit of being “one size fits all,” working with a variety of module types so long as they have an underside lip on the module frame to clamp to the rail. Finally, to critter-proof your array, consider installing screening around the edges. Racking manufacturers are just beginning to offer simple solutions for this pesky problem.
Greg McPheeters has been designing solar-electric systems and PV mounting solutions since 2001. Greg is the lead design engineer and innovator for SnapNrack Inc.
Tim Vaughn is a 21-year veteran of the solar and PV industry. Tim is currently the program manager for SnapNrack Inc.
Conergy • www.conergy.us
Direct Power Solar • www.power-fab.com
EcoFasten Solar • www.ecofastensolar.com
EZ Rack • www.ezrack.net
HatiCon Solar • www.haticonsolar.com
IronRidge • www.ironridge.com
Jac Rack • www.jac-rack.com
Next Generation Energy • www.zillarac.com
Professional Solar Products • www.prosolar.com
Quick Mount PV • www.quickmountpv.com
S-5! • www.s-5.com
Schletter Inc. • www.schletter-inc.us
Schüco • www.schuco-usa.com
Sharp • www.sharponenergy.com
SnapNrack • www.snapnrack.com
Solar Racks • www.solar-racks.com
SunEarth Inc. • www.sunearthinc.com
Thompson Technology Industries • www.ttisolar.com
Unirac • www.unirac.com
Zep Solar • www.zepsolar.com