PV Hardware for Ground and Rooftop Installation

When installing a photovoltaic panel, you need to have the proper hardware so that it will securely stay in place and work effectively. As solar energy has became more popular, there have been many advances in technology and innovation in the mounting hardware of PV panels.

Because PVs can be installed on the rooftop of a home or building or on the ground, there is different hardware and technology that is needed for each type of mount to be done correctly.

The five types of mounting structures are:

  • High Density Rooftop Mounting Structure
  • Eco Top Metal Roof Mounting Structure
  • Dual-Span Rooftop Mounting Structure
  • Contour Ground Mounting Structure
  • Driven Beam Mounting Structure

Due to the advances in technology, there is really no one structure that is better than the other. The type of mounting structure is mainly determined by the type of building that the panels are being mounted on or whether they are going to be placed on the ground.

High Density Rooftop Mounting Structure

This rooftop structures are made out of recycled rubber ballast pads that are designed to only protect your roof, but also to last long while conserving the environment. They are slip-resistant and designed to be the most efficient on the market.

They achieve this by having a minimum roof loading, utilizing recycled material that has less vibration and is room-membrane friendly, and also being able to limit roof damage.

Features of Eco-Top HD Roofing Structure

  • It increases the capacity of your solar panel by up to 20% as it has more wattage per square foot.
  • The rubber pads used do not compromise the integrity of your roof membrane and so you retain your warranty with major roofing companies.
  • It will require less ballast and attachments, thanks to the low system PSF.

Eco-Top MR (Metal Roof) Roof-top Mounting Structure 

This structure utilizes a slanted standing application to enable your roof to generate more energy. This optimal angle is great as in increase output even from a seemingly small section of the roof.

Features of Metal Roof Rooftop Mounting Structure:

  • It has effective and well-serving wire support.
  • Integrated grounding.
  • This type of structure will accept all roofing attachments.
  • The slanted angle makes it more effective.

Dual Span Rooftop Mounting Structure

This design is built to accommodate two modules. It is configured for both rear and front support beams for better support with the modules. This design is relatively new on the market.

Features of the New Dual Span Rooftop Mounting Structure:

  • It has a lower installation cost as few attachments are required.
  • It will require fewer slip sheets as it needs fewer ballast pads.
  • Works best for those systems that are over 300kW and call for east/west configuration.
  • It supports dual modules which not many structures do.

Smaller PV Hardware- Rubber Pads, Wires, and Fasteners

Rubber pads are an important part of a roofing membrane and they will certainly decide the fate of your roofing membrane warranty. Essentially, a rubber pad minimizes vibrations and reduces system load to protect the roof. It also lowers cost of installation by removing the need for a slip sheet.

The ideal rubber pad should be resistant to UV rays so it can last long and made of recycled material to give you LEAD credits.

Other smaller hardware that you will need for roofing include integrated wire support. Wires are usually added either before or after the panel has been assembled and they should be flexible and UV protected for them to last long.

Components and fasteners made from G115 galvanized steel are also necessary when affixing a panel. They should be vibration-resistant to prevent any damage to the roof and also possess the required bonding. Nuts, which will be used in fastening, should be coated to eliminate any sort of galling.

In places where it gets a little too windy, wind deflectors are necessary to minimize wind load and the overall system load that would reduce the life of your roof.

Contour Ground Mounting Structures

Contour structure are becoming quite popular over time, partly due to the fact that they require low maintenance and also less site preparation prior to installation. If contour assembly is done ideally, it reduces the time taken to install as well as the overall cost.

The two different types of Contour Ground Structures are:

  • Contour DT Ground Mounting Structure- A topographically adaptable system suitable for all soil types with a tilt that maximizes solar collection hours with minimal hardware.
  • Ground Screw Mounting Structure- With an in-built wire system and top beam adapters, this system has reduced installation cost and is easy to align.  

Driven Beam Mounting Structure 

The truss members on this structure are constructed from G115 galvanized steel for longevity. The beams are just as strong and durable making this system ideal for all soil types.

The panel assembly jig for a driven beam structure is aesthetically appealing and easy to install. Grounding components commonly required such as grounding lugs, WEEBs, and star washers are not necessary here. Labor cost reduces drastically and the material required for installation as well as additional bonding components are not necessary for this structure.

Other hardware required for installing a driven beam structure are:  

  • A grounding lug that is used for grounding each contiguous array.
  • A jig assembly will reduce the cost of installing the structure drastically as well as increase module efficiency.

Truss members hold the beam and adjustment plates and so they should be made of durable material, the most preferred being G115 galvanized steel. They should also be vibration-resistant with serrated flange heads. Nuts for fastening should be UV protected and coated to protect them from the elements.

Research and Consider Before Buying PV Hardware

Before buying PV hardware, you should check around and look out for reviews on the particular products you want to buy. Depending on whether you need ground or rooftop accessories, always look for an accredited distributor.

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