One of the more intriguing integrated solar roof systems, the 3 IN 1, just completed a test plan for UL 1703 approval and is waiting its certified paperwork.
UL 1703 is a mandated group of tests every high-energy output solar product must pass in order to be rightfully certified and legally sold in the marketplace. Traditional solar panels have been achieving UL 1703 compliance for decades which standardized their component compositions long ago, meaning acquiring certification is no longer a challenge.
Integrated solar systems are new to the market, lending quite a different story. All sorts of problems arise when solar cells come in contact with the roof coverings and that explains why this sector of the industry experiences slow growth. Including today’s news only two true integrated solar roofs have passed UL 1703 testing, the other being Luma (not Tesla).
3 IN 1 ROOF details
The 3 IN 1 ROOF has a lifetime warranty, near 20 percent crystalline solar efficiency, retro-fits any sloped roof, installs between $4 – $4.50 per watt, and has High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) approval. But the biggest separator for the 3 IN 1 versus competitors is the thick 3 lb foam embodiment that eliminates rooftop solar gains from entering the structure, which means high-performance attic areas, in-turn reducing loads on A/C units.
3 IN 1 ROOF tiles withstand over 50 repeated “Class-4” pinpoint impacts before the underlayment is compromised. The 3 IN 1 team says its roof can be traversed across without damaging the module and can withstand sustained wind-speeds of +200 mph.
— Solar Builder magazine
Solar FlexRack, a division of Northern States Metals and an innovative leader in photovoltaic mounting and solar tracker solutions, has been a top provider in Canada for 10 years and just sent word that it’s topped the 550 MW mark of solar projects successfully installed in the country. The accomplishment brings Solar FlexRack’s total to more than 2 GW worldwide.
Global single-axis tracker sales increased by over 40% in 2018 according to IHS Markit. In 2018, Solar FlexRack saw a marked increase in their tracker sales and in 2019 are expecting that number to double. The company continues to expand its market share, having supplied solar projects in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and British Columbia. Solar FlexRack’s advanced solar trackers and project services teams’ expertise far exceed their competitors and for solar project installations that need to withstand harsh climatic conditions like Canada, they are the right choice.
More to come
Grasshopper Solar, Canada’s largest, fully-integrated solar energy company, has selected Solar FlexRack for nine projects in Ontario utilizing Solar FlexRack’s TDP Turnkey Solar Trackers.
“With Canada’s severe winters, Grasshopper Solar needs an experienced partner with both solar tracking products and project support services that have proven themselves in this region,” said Osman Sediqi, Grasshopper Solar, VP of Operations. “We’ve found such a partner in Solar FlexRack, whose in-depth solar project expertise with cold environments and reliable tracking technology offer us the best value.”
Steve Daniel, Executive Vice President of Solar FlexRack said, “We’re honored to be a tier-one supplier for such a respected global developer as Grasshopper Solar. We look forward to working with them in the future as they expand their global footprint.”
— Solar Builder magazine
Contract manufacturer Alexandria Industries invested in a new aluminum extrusion press that will allow the company to increase its aluminum extrusion capabilities, extrude more complex product features, and hold tighter tolerances, while utilizing a variety of alloys.
Alexandria Industries will gain an extra 30 percent in extrusion capacity.
“By combining the latest in aluminum extrusion technology with the best employees, we will continue to lead our industry,” said Tom Schabel, CEO, Alexandria Industries. “This investment also aligns with our company vision and commitment to excellence. The new system will provide robust extruded aluminum components for our customers, while providing us continued business growth into the future.”
Alexandria Industries will work with Presezzi Extrusion to customize the press to meet specific needs of the company. The press will be equipped with the newest automation and mechanical technology:
• a state-of-the-art, magnetic billet heating system; the first in the U.S. and fifth in the world
• the ability to push harder alloys, providing the company access to new market opportunities
• automation, quench, and safety management systems, increasing extrusion production 30 percent
• an automated log handling and washing system, increasing production efficiencies and extrusion quality
To accommodate the new equipment along with its soft Kevlar handling system, the company will add 12,000 square feet of space to its manufacturing facility located in Alexandria. A groundbreaking celebration is scheduled for May 14, 2019, at 10 a.m. Construction will begin soon thereafter.
— Solar Builder magazine
Quick Mount PV, the leading American manufacturer of watertight solar roof mounting and racking systems, has been added to Sunnova Energy Corporation’s list of approved vendors. Through this new partnership, Sunnova’s network of local installers can now offer its residential customers across the country Quick Mount’s solar mounting and racking systems.
In addition, Sunnova’s installers will now have access to Quick Mount’s training program. The company has trained thousands of solar professionals in the classroom and hands-on settings as well as through their online webinars and video tutorials on rooftop solar mounting systems.
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“We’re proud to be launching this relationship with Sunnova. Solar customers and solar installers want quality–something that Quick Mount PV has a proven track record of delivering,” said Yann Brandt, Quick Mount PV’s President. “We’re looking forward to providing Sunnova’s installers with the unparalleled quality of our full line of our watertight solar racking and mounting.”
Before being selected to join Sunnova’s approved vendor list, both Quick Mount PV’s technology and bankability underwent a competitive due diligence process. Quick Mount PV offers a comprehensive suite of seamlessly integrated systems providing everything needed to install PV modules on any roof type. With unsurpassed R&D, engineering, product testing and ISO 9001:2015 certified manufacturing in the United States, Quick Mount PV is committed to producing the industry’s most advanced solar mounting and racking systems. The company’s mounting product quality is demonstrated by the fact that more than 15 million Quick Mount PV roof attachments have been installed with zero leaks.
— Solar Builder magazine
The quality of a solar installation has many parameters. One frequently underevaluated aspect is a compliant roof attachment. Load calculations that determine the number and spacing of attachment points prescribe not only the length of lag screws that must enter structural members but also their edge distance or the effective centering of the lag screw in the rafter or truss.
The National Design Standards of the American Wood Council defines edge distance as the distance between the center of the lag screw and the edge of the structural member. For most solar applications, the minimum edge distance is 1.5 times the lag screw diameter. Placed in a common residential PV setting, the center line of a 5/16-in. lag screw entering a 1-1/2-in.-wide rafter must not exit the middle 9/16 in. (37.5 percent) of that rafter. In other words, 9/32 in. (just over 1/4 in.) is the maximum allowed deviation from center. Engineered trusses, or TJIs, have their own attachment specifications available from the manufacturers.
Edge distance compliance factors
First is the accuracy of the installer’s determination of center from the rooftop. The most common locating method, drilling enough probing holes to estimate one or both edges — and from that inferring center — is used where rafters are hidden. Rafters that are exposed (in a vaulted ceiling or porch roof, for example) increase inaccuracies because more complicated methods are often used to avoid cosmetic damage. Second, if a pilot hole is used, an error in placement or angle can set the lag off center. The tip of a 3-in. lag screw angled 2.5 degrees off of perpendicular will end up 1/8 in. off target.
Factors outside the installer’s control and often awareness include warped or skewed rafters that may be 5 degrees or more out of perpendicular, sending the point another 1/4 in. or more off target. In a typical installation with 30 to 50 standoffs, each subject to a combination of these factors, “spinners” are common, and they can be challenging to remedy. Other noncompliant lags go undetected, and some of these will fail under loads they are required to meet.
Noncompliant roof attachments can be minimized by attention to their primary causes. Installers should be equipped with the necessary tools and trained in a variety of methods for rafter center location as well as missed-target remediation. Site-specific parameters will point to preferred approaches. Where possible, visual inspection of rafters before lagging can inform a compliant trajectory in a skewed rafter. Post-attachment inspection may help identify noncompliant lags.
Duane Ediger is an installer with Technicians for Sustainability in Tucson, Ariz., and the founder of RafterEye LLC.
— Solar Builder magazine