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White paper looks at best practices for PV mounting systems

The White Paper identifies the importance of flashings designed for solar mounts and all stainless steel components. Image: HatiCon
The White Paper identifies the importance of flashings designed for solar mounts and all stainless steel components. Image: HatiCon

A group of four solar photovoltaic (PV) companies and Solar Marketing Group LLC (Oakland, California, U.S.) have produced a white paper which explores reliability in PV mounting systems and looks at best practices.

“The Importance of Reliable Solar Mounting Systems” states that mounting systems should be designed for PV, and not general equipment installations. It also states that roof attachments must include flashings designed for the solar mounts, and that wiring and grounding components should be designed and UL-listed for hot and wet rooftop conditions.

It also finds that the adoption of safer power electronics and the use of more factory-assembled or integrated systems are likely to enhance residential rooftop PV system reliability and cost effectiveness. Safety issues identified in electrical components include arc fault and shock hazard prevention as well as fire safety measures.

Companies participating in the report include Cinnamon Solar (Campbell, California, U.S.), HatiCon Solar (Ontario, California, U.S), Orion Solar Racking and Quick Mount PV.

 

High degree of reliability when best practices are followed

The study looked at 20 rooftop PV plants, which averaged 10 years old in the San Francisco Bay Area. The study found that when best practices are followed, such systems are highly reliable.

“Research findings were very encouraging: the systems that were installed using proper mounting systems, flashed mounting points, wet-rated wiring and grounding components, and all stainless steel fasteners were still in very good shape,” noted the report's Executive Summary.

“In general, the reliable systems that were surveyed exhibited three common characteristics: they followed best installation practices at the time, used solar-specific components, and were installed by conscientious contractors.”

 

1 million U.S. residential PV systems in 2016

The report notes that 400,000 homes in the United States currently have rooftop PV plants, which it expects to grow to 1 million in 2016, or 5 GW. It also notes that while PV modules are generally highly reliable, that inverters and mounting systems are the most likely components to require maintenance.

The White Paper can be read in its entirety on the Solar Marketing Group web site: http://www.solarmarketinggroup.com/whitepaper

 

2014-03-25 | Courtesy: Solar Marketing Group; Image: HatiCon | solarserver.com © Heindl Server GmbH

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