Help ID'ing a roof mounting system

thbjrthbjr Posts: 5Registered Users ✭✭
Hello All,
I'm glad I found this forum. We moved a month ago today into an off grid, solar powered home. What a learning curve!!! I have 15 Solar World panels that are mounted flat to our roof and are at a 10 degree angle. Here in middle Tenn, I need 21 degree for summer and 51 for winter, so as you can see, the previous owner and now we are loosing a lot of potential energy. The first thing I want to do to improve the system we have is to change the fixed roof mounts to adjustable mounts, but I need to know what brand of mounting system I'm dealing with. Can anyone ID who the manufacturer of these panel mounts is? I've called a few solar retailers, including NAW&S and have been repeatedly ask, What "brand" of mounting system do you have? I wish I knew and am hoping that someone reading this can recognize who mabe these mounts from the pictures I'm attaching. Thanks for your help. The newest newby, Tom 

Comments

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,010Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    How old is the system?  They sort of look like Pro-Solar mounts but if I could see the "mid-clamp" it might help.
    Pro-Solar makes a ground mount system but it is not adjustable. Are you sure the roof can take more holes and traffic? Might be better to just put the array on the ground where it belongs offgrid. IMHO. 
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • thbjrthbjr Posts: 5Registered Users ✭✭
    The system is about 3 years old. As far as your suggestion to put the array on the ground, in a perfect world I would already have done that, but if you look closely at the 3rd picture, you will see the trees that go up the hill on the east side of the property. The west side is a mirror image of the east. Not ideal for any solar and even less so for a ground mounted system. I need all the elevation for the panels I can get, thus the roof mount was probably the best choice. On the other hand, a fixed roof mount with only  10 degree of pitch may not have been the best choice the previous owner could have made, IMHO.
    I looked at the Pro Solar rails you suggested, but no luck. They are a completely different shape rail, but thanks for the suggestion.
  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,838Registered Users ✭✭✭✭✭
    What's the south view like?

    It looks to me like the back (north) row of panels may be shaded by the front with a 51° tilt and low sun.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • mcnutt13579mcnutt13579 Posts: 47Registered Users ✭✭
    I know it seems inefficient but what about the vacant space in the picture, would an additional array make sense there?
  • thbjrthbjr Posts: 5Registered Users ✭✭
    Estragon, the southern sky is unobstructed. 
    I*t's the morning and afternoon sun that's a problem. From about 10-4 these days I get full sun. I know that's the peak energy producing time, but I'd guess I'm loosing 20% of my potential from early morning and late afternoon shading? As for the 51 degree shadows, your correct, so the solution is to put them on rack designed for 2-3 panels tied together, like these??? Problem is I need to know what brand of rails are already on the roof so I can mount to them rather then punch more holes in the roof. 
  • thbjrthbjr Posts: 5Registered Users ✭✭
    mcnutt, thanks for the suggestion and adding panels is something I'm already planning to do, but only if I can make them adjustable. I'm guessing I'm loosing some 30-40% of my winter potential energy with the current setup. Adding more panels that are only around 65% as efficient as they could be doesn't seem like the smartest way to go, IMHO. LOL, that's kind of like paying an extra 30-40% above retail for panels and who want's to do that???
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,010Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Cut the trees and track the sun?   You have to make the system work right somehow or just run a generator like many do. I would be tempted to just leave the roof as it is and do something on the ground. The tracker below can hold 5KW each.


    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • mcnutt13579mcnutt13579 Posts: 47Registered Users ✭✭
    I was suggesting a new array mounted properly in addition to the existing.

    Money spent on the existing array only counts for 35% vs money on a new array at 100%.

    But this depends on a lot of factors I can't see.
  • thbjrthbjr Posts: 5Registered Users ✭✭
    Dave, is that a custom or kit built ground mount tracker?
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,010Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Array Technology.  Model HZLA of which I have installed dozens.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,838Registered Users ✭✭✭✭✭
    Mine are mounted much like the pic you show, two high in landscape (horizontal).

    You'd likely have to carefully measure the rail extrusion and find "feet" to bolt to the existing rail. From what I can see of the extrusion, finding compatible hardware shouldn't be impossible.

    The rail could be cut to a two or maybe three high segment, reusing mid and end clips as much as possible, but you'd still likely need more rail, clips, and backstays. You'd also have to fill two rows of roof penetrations, and be comfortable that the remaining two rows are structurally sound for the new mounting.

    If it was an old roof, I might re-roof and change the mounts to more tilt. FWIW, I don't bother adjusting tilt seasonally. I find I get lots in summer in the 10-4 period (~65° tilt). Between snow and low sun / short days, winter is the problem. All things considered, it might be better to add some capacity specifically for fall/winter rather than trying to adapt the existing.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,010Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    I agree seasonal tilt is a exercise in futility for such a small gain. If you need cooling or pumping long hours, a tracker running every day of the year often gets you a 30% gain and the key offgrid of longer hours of useable power. Less time on the battery often equals a long battery life. :)
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

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