PV Rack Innovations: Page 3 of 3

Intermediate

Inside this Article

Eric Hansen of True South Solar
Eric Hansen of True South Solar fastens PV modules to a PV rack that includes a channel for keeping wiring tidy.
Unirac’s (E)volution Rack
Unirac’s new (E)volution rack, with I-beam rail and bonding-integrated mounting hardware, was designed to increase installation speed.
SnapNrack pitched-roof mounting system.
SnapNrack pitched-roof mounting systems have integrated wire management channels and flashing-integrated roof mounts. End clips fit under the module, so rails can be flush with the end of the module.
SnapNrack pitched-roof mounting system.
SnapNrack pitched-roof mounting systems have integrated wire management channels and flashing-integrated roof mounts. End clips fit under the module, so rails can be flush with the end of the module.
Schletter Gator mount.
Schletter’s Gator mount for composition roofs uses a flashing-integrated mounting block, which attaches via a single hanger bolt to the roof structure and the Gator Clamp solar rail attachment.
Quick Mount PV’s Quick Hook tile mount.
Quick Mount PV’s new Quick Hook tile mount is the first commercially available flashed tile hook mount.
Silicon Energy’s Cascade modules.
Silicon Energy’s Cascade modules are framed only along the long edges and attach directly to mounting feet rather than rails.
Zep Solar’s railless mounting system.
Zep Solar’s railless mounting system uses grooved modules and proprietary attachments.
Frameless Lumos Solar modules.
Frameless Lumos Solar modules are mounted on rails via hardware attached directly through the module, rather than to a metal module frame.
PanelClaw Polar Bear
PanelClaw’s Polar Bear is a ballasted low-slope roof solution that incorporates recycled rubber pads under the ballast trays.
Ecolibrium Solar’s Ecofoot2
Ecolibrium Solar’s Ecofoot2 is a ballasted system made of recycled plastic.
Renusol CS60
Renusol’s CS60 heavy-duty plastic ballast trays don’t need equipment grounding.
SunLink Core RMS
SunLink Core RMS is a low-slope roof rack solution that can combine mechanical attachment points with ballast weight.
DPW Solar’s top-of-pole mounts.
DPW Solar’s top-of-pole mounts, set at a low tilt for high summer production.
DPW Solar’s Multi-Pole mount.
DPW Solar’s Multi-Pole mount can be installed at tilts up to 55° and heights up to 14 feet above the ground.
Solar awning structure.
Silicon Energy Cascade modules incorporated in an awning structure.
Engineered carport canopy.
Left: Lumos Solar’s LSX engineered carport canopy.
Terrafix Solarpark earth screw
The Terrafix Solarpark earth screw is a fast foundation solution for large ground-mounted arrays. Using no concrete, they are easy to both install and remove.
SunLink’s ballasted ground-mounted rack.
Because it requires no ground penetration, SunLink’s ballasted ground-mounted rack is ideal for use where soil cannot be disturbed, such as at brownfield or landfill sites.
Eric Hansen of True South Solar
Unirac’s (E)volution Rack
SnapNrack pitched-roof mounting system.
SnapNrack pitched-roof mounting system.
Schletter Gator mount.
Quick Mount PV’s Quick Hook tile mount.
Silicon Energy’s Cascade modules.
Zep Solar’s railless mounting system.
Frameless Lumos Solar modules.
PanelClaw Polar Bear
Ecolibrium Solar’s Ecofoot2
Renusol CS60
SunLink Core RMS
DPW Solar’s top-of-pole mounts.
DPW Solar’s Multi-Pole mount.
Solar awning structure.
Engineered carport canopy.
Terrafix Solarpark earth screw
SunLink’s ballasted ground-mounted rack.

Ground-Mounted Racks

One of the major differences between ground-mounted rack designs is the attachment to the ground. Many residential ground mounts use concrete piers as the structural support because they are easy to install on a small scale. Driven metal piles and anchor (earth) screws that require heavier equipment like pile drivers and use no concrete are more common on larger ground-mounted arrays. Daetwyler Clean Energy’s Modu-Rack uses a single-point soil anchor, much like a giant toggle bolt, that opens to resist uplift pressure on the attached rod. 

Ballasted racks are starting to show up more frequently on the ground as well as on flat roofs, since they can be an economical solution for paved areas and brownfields—and even for a homeowner who wants to limit ground disturbance and have an array that could be moved more easily in the future without leaving concrete piers behind. PanelClaw, SunLink, and Schletter make pre-engineered ballasted solutions intended for ground-mounted applications but nearly any ballasted rack can be used on nonsloping ground (less than 5º). Renusol’s polyethylene module bases can be used on the ground as well. 

Access

Rebekah Hren is a licensed electrical contractor, NABCEP-certified PV installer, and ISPQ-certified PV instructor for Solar Energy International. She has experience installing and designing PV systems ranging from 10 watts to 4 megawatts. Rebekah works for North Carolina solar project developer O2 Energies. 

Rack & Rack Component Manufacturers:

All Earth Renewables • allearthrenewables.com

Applied Energy Technologies • aetenergy.com

Array Technologies • wattsun.com

Cablofil • cablofil.com

Cantsink • cantsink.com

Creotecc • creotecc.us

EcoFasten Solar • ecofastensolar.com

Ecolibrium Solar • ecolibriumsolar.com

Ejot • ejot.com

Daetwyler Clean Energy • daetwylerce.com

DH Solar • dhsolar.net

DPW Solar • directpower.com

Graybar/Legrand • graybar.com

Haticon Solar • haticonsolar.com

Heyco • heyco.com

LevelOne •  levelonesolar.com

Lumos • lumossolar.com

MECASOLAR • mecasolar.com

Mounting Systems Inc. • mounting-systems.us

PanelClaw • panelclaw.com

PVRacking • pvracking.net

Quick Mount PV • quickmountpv.com

Renusol • renusolamerica.com

S-5! • s-5.com

Schletter • schletter.us

S:Flex • sflex.com

Silicon Energy • silicon-energy.com

Snake Tray • snaketray.com

SnapNrack • snapnrack.com

SolarNovar • solarnovar.com

Sollega • sollega.com

SunLink • sunlink.com

Sunlogics • sunlogics.com

Sunmodo • sunmodo.com

SunPartner • sunpartner.com

Terrafix-Solarpark • terrafixsolarpark.com

TerraSmart • terrasmart.com

Thompson Technology Industries • ttisolar.net

Unirac • unirac.com

US Solar Mounts • ussolarmounts.us

Westinghouse • westinghousesolar.com

Zep Solar • zepsolar.com

Zilla Corp. • zillarac.com

Zomeworks • zomeworks.com

 

Comments (7)

martin sattler_2's picture

Is there any way to figure out which Issue this article appeared in?

Scott Russell's picture

Sure thing, Martin. In the page header, just below the author's name, click on the blue "Issue date" link to display the issue in which this article was published. October/November 2012 in this case.

spriyanaren's picture

Good Article, but lack in step by step installation photos which will be very useful for entry level hobbyist & Enterprenur

Ben Root's picture

Michael is right, but look into other Home Power article like:
http://www.homepower.com/articles/p...
http://www.homepower.com/articles/p...
http://www.homepower.com/articles/l...
http://www.homepower.com/articles/r...
And others. Put " PV Racking" into the article search.

Michael Welch's picture

Hi there. Thanks for the feedback, it is appreciated. There are so many different rack solutions, so many different ways to put them on a roof, and so many different roofs; that it would be very difficult to do step by step instructions that would apply. One could write a book on the subject, but then the innovations are coming fast enough to quickly make the book outdated.

However, many rack manufacturers provide the basic instructions along with their products. Further, we recommend that if somebody is installing a rack for the first time, that they work with somebody that has done it before and knows all the myriad details and potential problems that folks might come across. Hope that helps explain it. Michael for HP.

fotovoltaika's picture

Interesting article

Scott Russell's picture

We're glad you think so. Racking is a highly innovative area of the solar equipment landscape. In recent years, it seems like Home Power is constantly publishing new articles on pioneering racking developments just to keep up.

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