Rooftop Solar Panel Mounts
Rooftop solar panel mounts are necessary when installing a solar panel system. There are things you should consider when mounting any solar installation on a flat roof building.Firstly you will need to get a structural engineer to examine the roof and determine if your roof can support the solar PV installation.
The weight is usually not a big problem but the wind load could be. Rectangular rooftop solar panels can act like a sail and transmit a lot of force through its connections to the roof. Snow load needs to be checked in cold climates. A heavy load of snow buildup on a solar panel can damage the panel and possibly add more load to the roof than it was designed for.
Once the engineer has checked the load conditions they will likely specify the support locations penetrating the roof membrane that will be used to carry the framework supporting the solar panels. Supports that penetrate the rood membrane are potential sources of leakage, so their quantity needs to be kept to a minimum.
With the solar panels covering these supports, access for maintenance may not be easy. All steps need to be taken to make sure these penetrations will not compromise an existing leak free roof.
Once the roof supports are in place the rooftop solar panels support structure can be installed. These usually consist of lightweight aluminum structural components such as channels and box sections. They are long aluminum clamping rails which are used to attach the solar panels themselves. The panels are laid across the clamping rails and bolted in place with clamps that grip adjacent panels.
One more consideration is protection from fire. Solar panel installations can carry a lot of current, and a short circuit could cause a large heat buildup and potentially fire. The help of an electrical engineer to safeguard the roof from potential electrical hazards maybe warranted in large solar panel installations. This might involve installing additional fireproofing and electrical insulation in high risk areas.