Sunflare debuts new lightweight PV solutiont for parking structures

sunflare carport vegas

Sunflare is a light, thin, rugged solar system that is changing the residential solar roof concept and ready to do the same for parking structures. Sunflare modules are lighter than silicon, so they can go where other solar can’t. That means there’s no need for heavy steel replacement, which is required with traditional solar. This also means there’s no dusty structure demolition and removal. The net result is minimal disruption or displacement of tenants, customers, and employees.

The additional benefit of not having to construct a new parking structure is that there’s no potential hassle with new code compliance—which sometimes requires changes to parking lots—an additional project that can be disruptive, time consuming and costly in and of itself.

Look for the solar parking retrofit presentation at Solar Power International booth 2482.


Unlike traditional solar panels that are covered in glass, Sunflare modules are more rugged because the Sun2 cells are encapsulated between durable polymer sheets. So often you see mangled car port roofs where high profile trucks misjudge the height and crush the frame. If that happens with silicon panels on the carport, the accident is likely to damage the solar panel as well. With Sunflare, the panel will flex as the roof is bent. The damage is limited to the structure and not the energy system.

In addition, Sunflare modules have bypass diodes at every cell. When trees or other structures shade areas of a parking cover, only the cell that is shaded becomes inactive. The remainder of the panel continues to generate power.

Installation is fast and easy. With Sunflare’s mechanical attachments, modules can be added on any structure with no time wasted with racking or cumbersome staging. Installation is quick, and secure. Sunflare modules do not require chemical adhesion. That means Sunflare works on any profile of metal or any other material.

Sunflare modules have a 25-year linear production, 25-year workmanship warranty.

— Solar Builder magazine

APA Solar Racking launches new ground screw line at SPI

APA Ground screw

APA Solar Racking is launching a new line of ground screws and secured an exclusive U.S. distribution agreement with one of the world’s leading ground screw manufacturers to fulfill solar projects of all sizes. The APA Ground Screws are available with APA racking or can be fitted with other ground mount and tracker systems. The ground screws are designed to APA’s in-house engineering specs and backed by APA’s quality guarantee. Customers will work directly with APA for all orders, and APA will manage the entire process for in-house application testing, loading engineering, volume ordering and inventory.

You can check them out in person at Solar Power International, booth 804.

Ground screw sizes


Ground screws are the ideal foundation for rocky, hard pan, and caliche soils. The APA Ground Screws are available with standard depths of 40, 61, 73 and 85 inches to accommodate frost depths around the country. APA’s standard screw diameter is 2.35″ for better drivability, lower cost point compared to a 3”screw. Additional diameters up to 4.5″ are available. APA’s ground screws are designed with the highest quality standards and backed by APA’s guarantee. The Superior quality features heavy wall tube, welded connections, hot dipped galvanized coating, and a forged tip. These features allow massive amounts of torque and down pressure to be applied, penetrating the toughest soils.

The APA Ground Screw perfect for all APA racking systems and can easily be outfitted for other racking systems using either the set screw or flange connection. The ground screws are easy to install with a skid loader or mini excavator with an auger attachment or a pile driving rig with a rotary head.

— Solar Builder magazine

Solar Power International Action Plan: What to see at the largest solar trade show in the country

solar power international

Wondering what to see, where to stop and what’s new at the largest solar industry trade show in the United States? To help you figure that out, pick a statement that fits what you need and see where it leads. Think of it as a Choose Your Own Adventure story. Or, be no fun and just thumb through each page at random using the numbers at the bottom. I suppose that’s an adventure too.

What’s your SPI Action Plan?

I need a turnkey or full-service provider for large-scale projects

I need a standing seam roof solution

I want to reduce costs in C&I component costs

I need to know about NEC 2017-ready inverters

I am looking for something new on the residential rooftop

— Solar Builder magazine

Details on Soltec’s new solar tracker wind-load analysis method

Soltec tracker

Soltec, already dedicating itself to bifacial tracker research, now presents Dy-WIND, an innovative method for comprehensive dynamic analysis in tracker wind-design developed with engineering consultancy Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin Inc (RWDI). Soltec decided to undertake this project after several studies have shown that certain wind-design code standards applied to solar trackers are insufficient for reliability because they do not consider the second order effects produced by the action of wind on the tracker.

Matthew T. L. Browne, Technical Director at RWDI, said: “the hybrid experimental-numerical approach developed through working with Soltec accurately estimates tracker behavior under the action of wind in multi-row arrays and allows flexibility in the design process that is generally not practical through full aeroelastic model testing.”

RWDI already has the expertise and wind tunnels that use stereolithography technology, integrated data acquisition, storage and processing systems, computer-aided drafting and a broad base of specialized instrumentation. Some of the most notable projects in which the firm has participated are the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai or the Messina Strait Bridge in Italy.


— Solar Builder magazine

California subdivision gets ahead of the solar mandate, re-roofs with CertainTeed products

Solstice System Hi Res

Across the country, more subdivisions are choosing rooftop solar as a way to attract and retain earth-conscious home buyers. The California Energy Commission recently voted to mandate rooftop solar for all new California homes and multi-family residences under three stories. However, many communities are warming up to the benefits of solar without the state stepping in.

One such community is Blue Lagoon Condominiums in Laguna Beach, California. Its luxury condos are located on the ocean side of the Pacific Coast Highway on one of the sunniest beaches in California. As such, several Blue Lagoon residents had an interest in rooftop solar, both for the potential savings and the environmental benefits of using a renewable resource to power their homes.

The opportunity for Blue Lagoon to go solar arose recently when the Blue Lagoon Homeowners Association (HOA) made the decision to replace the roof shingles on the community’s 119 homes.

Luke Roofing, Inc. of Laguna Hills, Calif. had worked with the HOA to outfit the community with CertainTeed’s Arcadia Shake, a high-grade, weather-resistant asphalt shingle designed to mimic and outperform split wood shake—the roofing material previously used on Blue Lagoon homes. Residents were thrilled with the look of Arcadia Shake, and how it held up better to the sun and salty ocean breeze than traditional wood shake. For its solar ambitions, Luke Roofing was able to present Blue Lagoon with another CertainTeed solution: Solstice rack and panel solar systems configured with domestically-produced US Series solar modules.

Warranty and aesthetics

certainteed solar solstice

US Series solar modules can be installed individually or as part of Solstice solar systems, which include racking, flashing and inverters—all backed by CertainTeed’s installation workmanship warranty of up to 25 years for CertainTeed Credentialed or Master Solar Installers. Installing CertainTeed solar and roofing products also provides the added benefit of combined warranties that cover all products on the roof.

While impressed with CertainTeed’s quality and warranty assurances, some residents expressed initial hesitation about solar due to Blue Lagoon’s luxury aesthetics, according to Blue Lagoon HOA board member Steve Brown.
“Many of the units at Blue Lagoon overlook the rooftops below, so the roof aesthetic was a big deal to us,” said Brown. “It was the most important thing for the board. For many people, these are their second homes and we didn’t want anything that detracted from the established look.”

Luke Roofing President Gary Luke was able to offer Solstice systems as ideal solutions due to their versatility, economic return on investment and strong warranty. The systems allowed Blue Lagoon to maximize roof space, while the sleek, black module design complemented the luxury look of the property.

“We added solar systems featuring CertainTeed’s 300W (US Series) modules to approximately 10 percent of the homes,” said Luke. “With the installation of solar, we anticipate the homeowners will save a lot of money on their utility bill throughout the year. Most of them will save their entire utility bill.”


Through Luke’s Credentialed Solar Installer status with CertainTeed, his firm was able to provide extended system and installation warranty coverage. Manager of Solar Product Development and Marketing Chris Fisher, who worked with Luke Roofing on the project, said CertainTeed’s track record of stability, high-quality products and industry-leading warranties helped make the sale.

“There are several different companies that Blue Lagoon could have gone with, some of which may have been less expensive, but other companies don’t compare with our products and warranty,” said Fisher. “As a CertainTeed Credentialed Solar Installer, when Luke Roofing pulls the ladder away from the roof, the warranty on that system is now covered by us, and that’s powerful to homeowner associations as well as individual homeowners.

“Solar is still in the growth stage…a lot of companies come and go,” Fisher added. “CertainTeed provides the reputation of a secure and established major manufacturer with industry expertise and a diversified business.”

CertainTeed’s Solstice was able to match level of quality residents of Blue Lagoon Condominiums have come to expect, allowing them to maintain high standards and achieve high-efficiency energy production simultaneously. With less time spent worrying about the soundness of their decision to go solar, Blue Lagoon residents can spend more time concentrating on the excellent surf and sun.

— Solar Builder magazine