Penetrations don’t have to be the enemy of flat-roof solar

Holes in commercial rooftops are often considered the enemy of solar installations. Building owners don’t want them; installers don’t want to make them. So fully ballasted systems have become the norm for commercial roofs. No holes are needed if a solar system is held down by enough concrete blocks. But today’s commercial roofs are not

Upcoming 2017 changes for solar labeling

This article is reposted with permission from Graphic Products. See the original blog here.  When solar labeling first surfaced around 1980, there were no set standards. Over time, the National Electrical Code (NEC) included solar systems and labeling in its standard, which started with the 1984 edition, with the most current revision being the 2017

The best time to think about snow retention on solar roofs is before it even snows

If only after an unfortunate accident you first consider snow retention devices on a sloped roof with solar, it may be too late, says representatives of S-5!. A successful snow guard should be installed to the roofing structure with enough space to stop sliding snow—and that often changes solar design plans. “We hope a solar

Installation Notes: Microgrid reduces California winery’s carbon footprint

Stone Edge Farm Winery sits on 16-acres in Sonoma, California. About 20 years ago, the farm was established by entrepreneur, environmentalist and winemaker Mac McQuown, along with his wife Leslie who contributed her design knowledge to the farm. McQuown also enlisted his previous associate Jeff Baker for his experience in winemaking. Along with grapevines, Stone

What to consider when installing a floating solar array

Floating solar arrays are gaining popularity in Asia and Europe but have not yet caught on in the United States. That may soon change, as work has begun on a 3.2-MW floating solar array in Sayreville, New Jersey—most likely the nation’s largest. The $12 million project—developed by Power Grid Capital and engineered by RETTEW—is being

Protective barriers can eliminate trouble and save money on solar projects

By Bob Smith, Co-founder and President of SolaTrim Most residential systems are installed on home rooftops where there is efficient solar exposure and underutilized real estate. However, putting a solar array on the roof also makes it more difficult to reach, unless of course you are a squirrel, pigeon or another type of climbing or flying pest.

What are solar shingles?

By Christopher Fisher, product development leader of photovoltaics, CertainTeed Corp. Solar shingles technically fall under the umbrella term “building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV)” since they are integrated into the building envelope. Other examples of BIPV include photovoltaic modules integrated into skylights, ceilings, facades, awnings or canopies. BIPV products primarily attempt to do two things: 1) Integrate into

How to apply lean construction practices to optimize solar installation speed

The installation of solar mounting structures is a repetitive and time-sensitive process, making it a perfect setting for applying the principles of lean construction. Of course, some basic steps to installation can’t be changed, like drilling pilot holes or wearing safety harnesses. But crews can think and plan ahead on a larger scale. They can

Practice safe installation techniques to prevent battery short circuits

Whether you are a veteran or installing your first battery-based system, it’s important to avoid taking shortcuts when installing batteries. There is a real danger in creating a short circuit by unintentionally connecting the positive terminal to the negative terminal on a battery, causing the battery to deliver high current over a short period of

PVWatts can be used to model power optimizers

PVWatts is an online simplified modeling tool to calculate PV system performance based on the array’s geographic location, orientation and other inputs. While the default settings for PVWatts are designed to represent central inverters, with some modifications the tool can also be used to model optimized inverters. NREL’s document Modeling Microinverters and DC Power Optimizers