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.
In our booth at IRE Nashville this year, we showcased our usual innovative selection of clamps and brackets. But we also featured a new product: the new and improved S-5-N clamp is an innovative attachment solution that cures your nail strip profile seating issues.
The clamp features an insert to facilitate installation and fit. it also fits seam profiles having a base of rib dimension < .82".
UL, an abbreviation for Underwriters Laboratories, is a testing and approving organization. Founded in 1894, UL performs safety testing on numerous electrical, mechanical, and chemical consumer and commercial products. Its roots began in electrical and fire safety, but UL now serves other industries and tests hazardous substances, water quality, food safety, and more.
You seem to see it everywhere – that red, black, or white circle with the capital “U” and “L” letters inside. It shows up on various products in our homes and workplaces. You rightly assume that it is important: When something has the UL stamp, it means it has been properly designed and engineered for its specific use. A UL listed mark on a product demonstrates it has been vigorously tested to meet safety specifications determined from the potential and probable hazards of the product. It means the product can be depended on to perform its purpose when needed the most.
Photovoltaics (PV) is the process of converting light into electricity. PV technology converts sunlight (otherwise known as solar radiation) into direct current electricity. This process uses semiconductors, (the most common semiconductor material being crystalline silicon), so when the sun hits the PV, the electrons are released and form an electric current. Photovoltaic technology is commonly attached to a panel; and these solar panels are connected to one another and mounted onto a frame. This PV assembly is called a module and you can wire these modules together into an array. Rays of sunlight (photons) are absorbed by the solar panels. This power then gets converted into Alternating Current (AC) to be used in the house - or sold back to the centralized city grid.
Upon reading the Solar Power World article Metal Roofs are No Problem for Solar Installations, my reaction was, "Well, I suppose that is true—if (and only if) it is done 'the right way.'" There are so many materials, profiles, gauges, metallurgies and corrosion behaviors to consider; not to mention effective waterproofing methods, sealant chemistries, thermal cycling characteristics, weathering behaviors, strength of materials, structural engineering principals and relevant test methods. It is anything but a simple science!
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.