Solar Builder

NOV-DEC 2018

Solar Builder focuses on the installation/construction of solar PV systems. We cover the latest PV technology (modules, mounting, inverters, storage, BOS) and equip installers/contractors with tips and tools to make informed purchasing decisions.

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16 N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8 between one person for the patio itself and then another person for the solar portion. "It can land on a desk of someone used to seeing one thing, they don't know what to do with it and then you get stuck in the washing machine of bureaucracy," Read says, noting it took him six months to get one project through in Laguna Beach. Construction Once you are ready to pursue solar patios, the question is whether you want to also get into the patio construction business and offer a turnkey solution or just handle the solar piece and contract out the rest. "The people good at doing this are the same that build regular patio covers because it's an extension of what they do," Read says. "From my experience, solar guys get hung up on patio covers. The patio cover structure guys can build that pretty easily, and then I can bring in a contractor just to wire up the panels and get it plugged into the main circuit." Premiums Solar says a solar patio installation, in most cases with an experienced crew, will take three days, due to the concrete drying time and footer/house attachment inspections where required. Vince McClellan with Solar Energy Design calculates a typical job takes about a third longer than mounting the array on the roof. "After the structure is up, our Solar Rainframe system installs in about the same time as a typical solar array mounted on a roof," McClellan says. He notes the market for solar patios is just starting. His company's Solar Rainframe racking system (originally designed for parking structures) creates a water shedding roof using standard framed solar electric modules — a design built with 10 years of experience designing and building BIPV canopies. It uses no seals or gaskets and creates a weatherized roof out of standard solar mod- ules, meaning there is no need for a separate roof under the solar array because the solar array is the roof. That's the other thing: Each solar installer we talked to had developed and settled on their own structural and design approach for the solar + patio. "I've been toiling along with different solutions and finally found something that works. Hasn't come from a simple stroll down the aisle at Wal-Mart," Read says. "This solution literally took years of futzing around and figuring out because these are elegant systems MOUNTING NEW IN Across the country, more subdivisions are choosing rooftop solar as a way to attract and retain earth-conscious home buyers. The California Energy Commission voted to mandate rooftop solar for all new California homes and multi-family residences under three stories starting in 2020, but many communi- ties are ready now. One such community is Blue Lagoon Condominiums in Laguna Beach, Calif. Its luxury condos are located on the ocean side of the Pacific Coast Highway on one of the sunniest beaches in California. The opportunity for Blue Lagoon to go solar arose recently when the Blue Lagoon Homeowners Association (HOA) made the decision to replace the roof shingles on the com- munity's 119 homes. Luke Roofing Inc. of Laguna Hills, Calif., had worked with the HOA to outfit the community with CertainTeed's Arcadia Shake, a high-grade, weather- resistant asphalt shingle designed to mimic and outperform split wood shake — the roofing material previously used on Blue Lagoon homes because of how it held up to the sun and salty ocean breeze better than traditional wood shake. For its solar ambitions, Luke Roofing went with another CertainTeed solution, the Solstice Solar System, which includes modules, racking, flashing and invert- ers — all backed by CertainTeed's installation workmanship warranty of up to 25 years for CertainTeed Credentialed or Master Solar Installers. Installing CertainTeed solar and roofing products provides the added benefit of combined warranties that cover all products on the roof. Photo courtesy of Architectural Photography Inc. California subdivision gets ahead of the solar mandate, re-roofs with CertainTeed

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