Being the experts on all things metal roof and metal roof attachments, we are often asked by solar developers and installers what is the most cost-effective way to install solar panels on metal roofs. There are multiple options when putting solar on a metal roof, and each come with pros and cons that can impact installation costs and lifetime performance.
When it comes to sharing solar array costs, companies often shy away and dance around the question. They usually focus on the customization angle – telling you that prices vary, and that this is what makes estimation difficult.
Now, of course costs vary, because no two projects are the same but whether you are an installer, contractor, or a homeowner, you share two common questions:
How much is this going to cost me and how long is it going to take?
Pop quiz. Should you install a metal roof or asphalt shingles? Which is a better choice? Asphalt shingle roofs are everywhere. But metal roofs have been in use for almost three thousand years. They have come a long way from the simple, yet functional corrugated or standing seam metal roof design usually associated with barns or sheds. So, which is the best choice for you? To answer this, let’s take a deeper look under the hood, or the roof, as it may be.
Best design and installation practices when using seam clamps to structurally attach PV systems to standing seam metal roofs
Standing seam metal roofing (SSMR) is the most convenient of any roof type for mounting PV modules, either crystalline or thin-film. The seams of SSMR are beam-like elements that not only add stiffness and flexural strength to the roof panels, but also provide expedient attachment points for a PV system. Joining PV modules to this roof type can be done with or without continuous mounting rails using aluminum seam clamps.
Seam Clamps and Mechanical Compression
These clamps anchor to the roof seam by pinching it within the clamp body with round point set-screws that are in no way invasive to the roof. The setscrew forces the metal of the standing seam into a recess in the opposing clamp wall, permanently deforming it in order to establish a mechanical interlock. The clamp body is machined with threaded holes to facilitate anchorage of PV modules or racking components to the clamp.