The Role of Engineering
I’m often surprised when I hear reference of mounting systems as a second-hand supplier within the solar value chain. The codes and standards applied to solar modules and inverters, mostly due to the widely accepted dangers of electrical malfunction, are more communal and strictly enforced during and post supply chain. Racking, however, is left up to the racking manufacturer or a 3rd-party engineering company. Unfortunately, there are markets which do not enforce UL 2703 or wind tunnel – it’s difficult. Many projects lack the resources, or are too small to commission an independent engineering review.
It’s for this reason that we often tell people that their racking supplier may be the most important selection of their PV project. If an inverter or module fails, it’s a headache but typically a straight-forward swap-out process. If your mounting system fails, the collateral damage could be catastrophic. This mindset keeps us diligently working to protect our clients and the end users. Together with our sister company, hb Solar Canada, we have conducted:
Four (4) wind tunnel tests – focusing on different module tilts, building orientations, module orientations, with and without wind deflectors.
Numerous physical tests with fastener companies, roofing manufacturers, and Professional Engineers.
UL 2703 Bonding Grounding, UL 1703 Fire testing, and 3rd-party structural analysis.
Nearly all of our projects starts with a site review and preliminary engineering evaluation. Clients can use one of our online forms to start this process.
We use multiple 3rd-party engineering firms to review and stamp our Design Packets.
For Residential projects – Span tables can be downloaded from the website, and PE stamps are available by state.
For commercial – Upon PO, there will be 3-6 days engineering process to finalize the layouts, any connection and/or ballast details, and calculate the reactionary loads. Upon your approval, the Design Packet is stamped and a digital copy is provided free of charge. Wet Stamps upon request.