We ventured out to Boulder, Colo., to discuss rail-less solar mounting with Chris Berg and Jonah Coles of Ecolibrium Solar. Because it is Colorado, the Ecolibrium office was located like 50 feet from a brewery, Asher Brewing Co., so that seemed like a good place to chat.
Click to listen (and subscribe!) below. Here’s what to look for in the discussion:
First minute: Beer selection.
2-min mark: Ecolibrium has a streamlined process for testing UL 2703 compliance because it is a certified partner lab of TÜV Rheinland Group. Chris explains how having this testing in-house adds to its product development.
4-min: We discuss the acceptance level of rail-less mounting in the market right now, and why, in Jonah’s view, it will only gain more ground as more installers get trained on these systems.
“Installers might not like it in the first week; they will come around in week two, and by the end of the month they won’t want to go back,” Jonah says. Then explains what hurdles need to be overcome in that first month and what advantages that can be gained, both on site and by doing more jobs overall.
10-min: Jonah dives into what he sees as myths about rail-less racking. One of them being that rail-less is only good if you have a perfect rectangle.
“I feel it’s the exact opposite. I installed rail for years before I came to Ecolibrium and was introduced here to rail-les, and if I have a couple of offset rows of panels [with rail] I have to square up that rail every time I have a new offset panel. But the panel is square, so if you don’t have a rail and you’re dropping a panel in, as long as you’ve placed your mounts where the panel is going to cover … there isn’t any squaring to do.”
14-min: We discuss the challenges and new considerations that exist with rail-less mounting. Plus, what should you look for when procuring a rail-less system?
18:50: We decided whether to stop the podcast and eat lunch or keep going.
19:01: We keep going.
19:08: What more can we expect to see in terms of rooftop solar product development, both residential and commercial – and how these developments can continue to grow the solar contractor market.
27-min: Examples they’ve seen (or things they would like to see) to keep removing soft costs from the installation process.
— Solar Builder magazine