Roof Mounting a SunForce 50044

SystemSystem Posts: 2,511 admin
I have received a SunForce 50044 "Solar Charger" as a gift - this is their 4 panel 60W system that ships with a small inverter, charge controller, and PVC pipe mounting. I'm under no illusions re. the panel output but I believe it can do some useful work. Eg. charging the electric lawn mower (gets used once a week at the busiest time of the year), external lighting, perhaps even a laptop power outlet.

Although I would class myself as a solar beginner, I am fine with the electrical/electronic side - and have built my own solar battery chargers in the past. Really where I need help is in the mounting and hardware side of things!

We would like to mount it on our shed. This is moderate size, wooden with a ridge roof and asphalt shingles. Unfortunately the ridge is aligned almost north-south, so the panels will go on the east facing side to get the morning / midday sun (the west facing side has tree shade).

I'm no roofing expert. How should I go about it? Looking on the web, there are various panel mounting rail systems but little explanation of how they work (eg. how they mount to the roof itself), and they look like they are geared for the more 'professional' systems. I need something that is pretty secure but simple to fit and affordable.


Richard

Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,752 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Roof Mounting a SunForce 50044

    To mount rails or anything on the roof, you have to put 6" lag screws into the rafters, and every hole you drill thru the shingles looking for the center of the rafter, is a leak that has to be sealed with roof cement / RTV. I think the best I've heard is, drill pilot hole, fill with RTV, attach mount bracket, goop with roof cement, and thread your SS lag screw into it all, and torque properly. When all brackets are mounted, attach rails, and then PV's onto the rails. I actually re-shingled my roof, and then installed the PV's. I was 15 years into 30 year shingles.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,962 ✭✭✭
    Re: Roof Mounting a SunForce 50044

    Nothing beats using Home Depot/Lowes gutter mount clips, ALL of my arrays are mounted using these clips and I have them signed off by a PE.

    Put a dab of roofing sealant on the bottom, then screw them in with a cordless screw driver, I have hundreds on my roof, no leaks in 5 years

    On the Array I just swapped out, I used the clips to support 2x4 Aluminum rails, made mounting the panels easy and got then close to 6" off the roof for air flow
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,752 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Roof Mounting a SunForce 50044
    Nothing beats using Home Depot/Lowes gutter mount clips, ALL of my arrays are mounted using these clips and I have them signed off by a PE.

    Put a dab of roofing sealant on the bottom, then screw them in with a cordless screw driver, I have hundreds on my roof, no leaks in 5 years

    On the Array I just swapped out, I used the clips to support 2x4 Aluminum rails, made mounting the panels easy and got then close to 6" off the roof for air flow

    Do you have a photo of how these are installed & how the rails mount to them ?
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Roof Mounting a SunForce 50044

    Thanks Mike & Solar Guppy.

    Solar Guppy: So do you use off-the-shelf aluminum rails from Home Depot/Lowes, or the special solar ones I see advertised? These Sunforce panels have four screw holes - two at the top and two at the bottom. It would almost be tempting to screw them directly to the brackets, except adjustment would be impossible!

    I tried searching the online sites of both Home Depot and Lowes for the brackets but couldn't find them. I guess the search engines were being finicky with the exact search text, and it would be a case of visiting a store and seeing what they have.
  • DapdanDapdan Solar Expert Posts: 313 ✭✭
    Re: Roof Mounting a SunForce 50044

    Hey SG,

    I went searching lowes and homedepot as well and did not find that particular bracket either.

    In respect of the 2*4 alu section do your mount the panel onto those with some kind of 90 bracket. Is this the install that you indicated on one of my post that could with stand hurricane force winds. If so how did you arrive at this conclusion. Did a structural engineer check your panel mounting system and passed it for storm or hurricance force winds.


    Cheers...

    Damani
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,962 ✭✭✭
    Re: Roof Mounting a SunForce 50044

    Clips are in both Lowes and Home Depot, they will be where all the gutter and mounting accessories are located ... its a very standard part

    The rails are the same use for pool enclosures, I bought them local from a supply house, they come in 30FT lengths, Lowes and HD carry only 8 & 10ft lengths and are almost 2X the price of a supply house

    The Panel to Rail mount are standard 90 deg clips, again used for screen enclosures all connections are the self taping screws, I pre-drilled the frames for the 90 degree brackets thought, to thick for the self tapping screws to do the job on their own

    Everything is signed off by a PE and yes, meets Florida's hurricane code
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Roof Mounting a SunForce 50044

    Just posting a follow up. I still haven't had a chance to visit Lowes or Home Depot. I'm also rethinking the idea of putting these panels on a roof. This is a small system (60W). Another idea I'm having is to ground mount them. It would be much easier to make a replacement mount (they ship with a PVC pipe mount - that won't last in the Texas summer for many years!). Of course the best places I have are against the house - and these are occupied with a series of raised beds growing vegetables! A much tastier kind of solar power :-)

    The location will probably be near the corner of the deck. This is out of the way and would get the afternoon and early evening sun. "Luckily" the loss of our neighbours tree a few months back makes quite a difference to the sun that area will get. (it was an nice old tree if not the prettiest - a sad loss)

    I'll have to anchor it to the ground. I'm not sure about dealing with the grass. Perhaps a paving stone base as well. Also put an electrical box in its shade, holding the battery, switchers, and a small inverter.
    Putting it away from the shed in question will require some conduit to be laid.

    This will have to wait 2-3 weeks as I'll be out of the country at the end of the month.

    Richard
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