The common sentiment among companies showing at Intersolar North America this year is: “It’s not a lot, but it’s more than we expected.” After the last two years with no in-person industry events, it’s not surprising that turnout isn’t record-breaking. Nonetheless, manufacturers from across the country turned out to an event in Long Beach, California.
On the mounting, racking and tracking side of the industry, a lot of this year’s talk was around supply chain issues. Racking manufacturers have the added challenge of purchasing steel at a time when the price of that raw material has risen and is fluctuating. Steel’s a huge component in racking, especially on ground mounts, and some manufacturers are exploring how to reduce the total amount of steel on their systems without losing performance.
However, the solar mounting market is varied and serves work sites from standing seam metal rooftops to former landfills, and the products reflect that. Here’s a roundup of some of the mounting products and another in shipping logistics that were showcased at Intersolar this year. You can read managing editor Kelsey Misbrener’s story covering inverter and storage technologies here.
SunModo’s TopTile Mount
The common solution for tile rooftop solar installs are roof hooks, which are secured to the roof and reach from under the tile; or replacement tile mounts, which remove and replace a whole tile. SunModo presents a third option with the TopTile Mount. It’s installed by going through the tile rather than under it or replacing it. A hole is drilled through the tile and it uses a “Tripod Mount” with three screws that can be drilled directly into the decking. Foam sealant is sprayed through the mount prior to drilling. Then a malleable flashing is hand formed to the contours of the tile to create a water-tight seal.
OMCO Solar’s Origin Factory-Direct Trackers
With the supply chain on everybody’s mind, OMCO Solar is producing a solar tracking structure that is manufactured in several of its four U.S.-based facilities. OMCO Origin is available in mono- and bifacial applications as well as different panel orientations. The company showcased an Origin tracker using bifacial modules placed in two-in-landscape. The torque tube doesn’t cover the backside on any of the modules installed on the tracker for better backside gains.
Pegasus Solar’s Tile Scissor Mount
Returning to tile rooftops for a moment, Pegasus Solar debuted the Tile Scissor Mount, a replacement for L-foot attachments on residential rooftop installs. It’s composed of two moving aluminum pieces that are interlocked like a pair of scissors. Installers remove a row of tiles and mount an aluminum channel along the roof covering. The bottom of the Scissor Mount slides into that channel comes through a replacement tile flashing. When the Scissor Mount is clamped with a bolt it tightens in the channel and remains in place. By using the Scissor Mount and this aluminum channel as a base, Pegasus removed the need to secure L-foot mounts with lag bolts at every attachment point.
Kern Solar Structures’ Solar CarPorT System
Kern Solar Structures doesn’t necessarily offer one solar carport solution, and that’s the point. The company manufacturers carports on a per-project basis to fit client needs. One of those recent needs is integrating other electrical components onto the carport’s column. Kern can design carports with space in mind for energy storage, electric vehicle charging and inverter placement.
.@ksstructures brought along its Solar CarPorT System. The CarPorT is manufactured on a per-project basis, offering the option of column integration with inverters, #EV charging and storage. pic.twitter.com/UF8qJgywev
— Billy Ludt (@SolarBillyL) January 13, 2022
BCI Engineering’s Full Tilt fixed-tilt racking
BCI Engineering designed Full Tilt with ease of installation in mind. The racking system is six components, the panel table rotates and the panels themselves are installed by sliding and clicking them into place. BCI Engineering recently completed its pilot project with Full Tilt and expects to see it scale up very soon.
.@FullTiltByBCI demonstrates how modules lock into place on its proprietary “Longhorn” racking channel. The racking system uses just six components and modules can be secured with cinch clips pic.twitter.com/UM8x3JvJo1
— Billy Ludt (@SolarBillyL) January 13, 2022
PVpallet’s recycled plastic module shipping pallets
PVpallet is trying to make solar module shipment safer and less wasteful. Co-founder Luke Phelps is a former solar installer who dealt with many panels that were broken in shipment, often from the wooden pallets they arrived on. Processing both broken modules and pallets drove the development of PVpallet, a collapsible pallet made of recycled plastic. The company designed a shipping option that is reusable (up to 20 times) and upon breakdown can be returned to PVpallet recycled into a new pallet. It’s built to hold modules on their side and the pallets can be stacked up to four high in storage.
Sollega’s Fast Rack 510
Solar racking manufacturer Sollega has offered a flagship product since 2014 and stuck with it. FastRack 510 is the latest iteration of the company’s commercial rooftop and ground mount racking. It’s a hybrid structure that can use ballast blocks or anchor attachments and uses a single bolt size for panel attachments. The FastRack is made of glass-reinforced nylon that makes it non-conductive. It’s designed to be module agnostic (even with large-format modules) and can be installed at 5° and 10°.
.@Sollega has brought the Fast Rack 510, a non-conductive, hybrid racking system. The racking can use ballast blocks or anchors and can be deployed on flat rooftops and the ground. pic.twitter.com/AIjlg133up
— Billy Ludt (@SolarBillyL) January 14, 2022