Roll-A-Rack, a faster, lower-cost, ballasted solar-racking solution, unveiled its first portable, roll-forming machine in at its virtual SPI 2020 showroom last week. Like seamless rain gutters, which are cut to length on each installation site by a portable roll-forming machine, Roll-A-Rack produces custom solar racking on site and on demand. The new system simplifies the solar-racking supply chain, eliminates waste and speeds installation time.
The rack, aerodynamically engineered to minimize wind uplift, was tested in the atmospheric boundary layer wind tunnel of the independent testing lab, CPP Wind Engineering. The video below illustrates ballast calculations as wind speeds increase from zero to 200 mph across a ground-based solar array. The results show ballast is needed only at the corners and edges of the array. Roll-A-Rack product development research is funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.
Roll-A-Rack was designed to be roll-formed on site, yet sturdy enough to withstand snow loads and wind uplift. A second video (below) shows finite element analysis (FEA) simulations. FEA is a method of calculating how roll-a-rack would respond to snow or wind by calculations on a 3D computer-aided design model.
Roll-A-Rack is seeking 10 developers or solar installers to help refine the installation processes. For more information about becoming a beta tester, visit roll-a-rack.com.
About Acme Express: dba as Roll-A-Rack
Acme Express, Inc. (roll-a-rack.com) is a technology company that develops applications for the transportation, finance, education healthcare, and renewable energy industries. The company’s founder, Don Scipione, an experimental elementary particle physicist, has been awarded multiple innovation grants from Ohio Third Frontier, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Research Resources, National Library of Medicine, and U.S. Department of Energy.
— Solar Builder magazine