Mounting manufacturer Solar Clam-P got its start in 2011 after taking on the mission to provide solar systems that both contractors and DIYers could easily install. As one of the first rail-less manufacturers, Solar Clam-P also has a line of optimizer/microinverter panel clamp, skirts and junction box mounting plates–all available in 6,000 custom color options. We caught up with the company’s CEO and founder Sam Park to see what the company has been up to in the last six years.
Sam Park: Solar Clam-P’s origins date back to pre-UL 2703 times in 2010, when the Obama Administration started a workforce development program to help train solar installers in Philadelphia. It was during that class that the idea of a universal non-frame, integrated solar panel mounting system was conceptualized. While working on various rail-based mounting systems in that class, I realized there had to be a more efficient way to install solar panels. And so… Solar Clam-P was born.
SPW: Where is your manufacturing location?
Park: Our main headquarters is located in the far northeast section of Philadelphia. Over the years, through product design and partnerships with certain companies, we have been able to streamline our manufacturing process while minimizing labor costs, and at the same time increase production to meet larger demands.
Our main objective was really simple, efficient manufacturing. Produce the best product, at the lowest cost and accomplish it all from my home garage. There are only a few companies in the world that manufacture and sell the complete non-frame, integrated rail-less mounting system, and no one has been doing it longer than Solar Clam-P.
SPW: What products do you manufacture?
Park: Solar Clam-P is the original manufacturer of non-frame, integrated rail-less mounting systems and microinverter mounts. [I believe] every rail-less system and microinverter mount that is currently on the market is based off of Solar Clam-P’s designs. Our components comprise of mounting hardware for all types of solar modules, all microinverter/optimizers models and accessories for all existing solar systems. We are currently working with another company for conduit pipe supports, and for cable management we use stainless steel cable clips.
SPW: Who are your customers?
Park: Our customer-base ranges from DIY homeowners, residential, commercial, utility installers and distributors. We sell to the United States, Canada and South America but have panels installed across the world.
SPW: In such a competitive market, how does Solar Clam-P stand out from other mounting manufacturers?
Park: Solar Clam-P is a manufacturer of high-quality, premium solar panel mounting hardware, but at a price lower than the typical rail. The O Clam-P series is the only true universal microinverter Clam-P that can mount both single and double slotted microinverters. We can mount any microinverter in the world.
SPW: Why do custom colors?
Park: I know the whole concept of custom colors is ahead of its time, but it’s all about customization. People want to customize or personalize everything, and solar is no exception. For installers, when you are competing against three or four other estimates, it’s a good way to separate yourself from other installers and offer something unique.
We are about to start offering a terra cotta-colored skirt, which is ideal for places like Las Vegas, where all the homes have Spanish tiles. Instead of a typical black array skirt, you can have a transition piece that matches the color of your roof, which will help blend the solar array into the house.
SPW: How is your flashing different?
Park: There are a few types of flashing—below the bracket, above the bracket or a sealant. A flashing that is “below the bracket” means the flashing goes under a shingle, but the mounting bracket sits on top of the flashing with the bolt head exposed and is dependent on rubber to seal. Some companies use a butyl sheet, or micro flashing, in which no flashing goes under a roof shingle and is basically dependent on the sealant.
Solar Clam-P’s flashing is an “above the bracket” flashing. It is a flashing that goes under a roof shingle and covers the mounting bracket, with no bolt head exposed. It is designed to protect the penetration hole through 25 years of harsh weather, without depending on any rubber or sealant.
SPW: What can we expect from Solar Clam-P in the next few years?
Park: We plan on continuing to design and manufacture new and innovative products but plan to expand into different sectors. We can’t disclose what new products we have coming up, but it is not limited to just residential solar. You can expect Solar Clam-P to keep pushing the boundaries of solar.