Tag Archives: solar panel mounting

Do I Really Need Special Fasteners for My Solar Panels?

Source: http://www.sxc.hu/profile- /hovard

 

Do you really need a lock on your door? Statistically speaking, depending on where you live, your lock may never be tested by a burglar. It may never serve its created purpose.  The greatest accomplishment it may boast is that it kept practical jokesters, like your fraternity brothers, at arm’s length. But should a thief or criminal try to open your door, whether or not you are at home, you will be glad the lock is there. The peace of mind is worth far more than the cost of the lock.  Some people go so far as to install an alarm system in their home, just on the chance somebody might break-in. They are not paranoid; they are protecting their investment. The same could be said of solar panel fasteners.

Solar panels provide a great return on the investment, but the initial cost can be sizeable. What if somebody decided to climb up on top of your roof and help themselves to your solar panels? In a day and age when thieves are brazen enough to steal copper tubing from church properties, it is not farfetched to think solar panels could be the next hot underground market item. If all it takes to protect your investment (and your peace of mind) is a specialty fastener, it makes no sense to use anything else. There are no guarantees in life, but you might as well make it more difficult for someone to take what rightfully belongs to you.

EJOT 3130851905 Solar Fastening System

Secure solar panel installation involves more than simply securing the panels to your roof. Truly secure installation includes methods that keep your property safe from thieves, too. Basic solar panel rack systems use regular, commercial hardware to fasten the panels to the racks. This means that anyone with a wrench the proper size could remove them. Security fasteners, on the other hand, require a special tool, making it more difficult for the average person to remove them without using something drastic like a grinding wheel to detach the panels. And any resident is sure to hear a grinding wheel being used on the roof.

When the philosopher, Socrates, was asked a question by one of his students, he typically responded with another question. The method came to be known as the Socratic method and is still used in educational circles today. So, to answer the question, “Do I really need special fasteners for my solar panels?” consider the following questions:

  • Does an automobile need a car alarm in order to function?
  • Does a house need dead bolts in order to be structurally sound?
  • Does your Wi-Fi need a password in order to connect to the Internet?

The answer, of course, is no. Your solar panels will collect solar energy whether or not they are installed with security fasteners. However, when you consider how the fasteners protect your investment, you quickly realize what a wise decision it would be to insist on them.

EJOT Solar Fastening Systems

EJOT: “Your best partner for fastening solutions in the building industry.” This hardware is specially developed for securing uprights in solar installations. Made from high quality stainless steel, EJOT guarantees water tightness and a high load carrying capacity. It also allows exact adjustment of your new solar system. Watch this video to learn more about EJOT and how to install solar fastening systems on your home today.

Are Your Workers at Risk? SolarPro on Fall Safety

Karl Riedlinger has written an excellent article in SolarPro Magazine. It’s a great read if you want to become familiar with the requirements of fall protection standards for photovoltaic (PV) installations.  Kindly, SolarPro has granted Tanner permission to reprint the article here for the benefit of our readers.

Fall Safety at Solar Job Site from SolarPro

“According to preliminary data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 635 workplace fatalities from falls occurred in 2010, down from a high of 847 in 2007. Of all the industries tracked, construction had the highest number of total fatalities in 2010— and 260 of the 751 construction fatalities recorded last year were the result of falls.

While these statistics are sobering, they tell only part of the story. The majority of workplace accidents are not fatal, but instead cause injuries resulting in lost worker income, lost company revenue, increased insurance rates and potentially lifelong health problems for injured workers. Understanding the hazards present on the job-site and addressing them through proper training, planning and safe work practices is in the best interests of both employers and employees.”

Read the full article on Fall Saftey Systems (PDF Download)

Custom Installations Are Simpler with Specialized Mounting Hardware

Specialized mounting hardware, such as security screws and fasteners are designed to resist tampering by the public, or an un-trained person. Specialized mounting hardware is designed with a what’s called a tamper-proof head. These fasteners require a specially designed tool that isn’t commonly available on the shelf of the local hardware store. You may see this type fastener on the walls in a public restroom.

The tamper resistant design prevents vandals from loosening the hardware that holds the fixtures or stalls together. Some of the fasteners have an uniquely shaped head, that a traditional Phillips or straight screwdriver won’t fit. The fastener is installed and removed by a tool that only an installation contractor, or factory authorized service professional would carry.

Other security screws have a traditional shaped head, like a Torx or Square drive screw. These security fasteners are modified, and have a small pin in the middle of the slot. Because of the pin, a standard tool won’t fit into the fastener. Installing or removing the fasteners requires a modified tool that features a hole in the tip which allows the tip to fit over the pin.

Security screws are also used in manufacturing. When the internal parts of a machine or electronic device cannot be serviced by the homeowner, or if opening an appliance, such as a microwave oven, could damage the item or the person, a specialized fastener is used. These fasteners prevent damage to the equipment, and potential harm to the owner.

Specialty tamper resistant fasteners are available in a full spectrum of steel grades, and fastener styles. They are available in stainless steel, alloy steel, and case hardened steel. Corrosion resistant coatings are available for exterior uses. These fasteners save property owners thousands of dollars by thwarting equipment vandalism, tampering and physical damage.

As manufacturing systems continue to advance, many manufacturers are designing their own fastening systems. Specialty products such as solar panels and composition deck boards are installed with hardware that is specifically designed for the project. When mounting a solar panel, not only does it have to be mounted securely to the building or roof, but the panel should also be easily removable in case of damage or needed maintenance. Solar panel mounting hardware is designed to provide both easy installation, and access for service. The right kind of installation hardware can save the installation contractor time, which results in a more profitable job.

Many new building are being designed with solar roof panels. As the demand grows for increasingly green energy solutions, architects and building owners are choosing to install the solar panels at the time the building is constructed. Specialty solar panel mounting hardware is recommended for this application. The uniquely designed hardware fasten the buildings metal roofing systems to the under-girding trusses or framework, and at the same time provides the studs to which the solar panels mount after the roof panels are installed.

When designing a custom hardware installation, make sure to research the installation options ahead of time.  A proper installation with the right fastener will save time, money and can prevent installation headaches.

Solar Panel Theft is Getting More Attention

A recent article over at RenewableEnergyWorld.com focuses on the growing problem of solar panel theft. Solar theft grew by 15% in 2009, and has likely been on the rise ever since. The 15% figure, which the article quotes, is courtesy of SolarInsure, an insurance company specializing the solar industry.

So solar theft is on the rise. What can you do about? The article provides a good run down of options including different types of alarm systems, creating physical barriers, and the use of breakaway bolts, an item we carry at Tanner.

Note, in the article, they refer to breakaway bolts as “tighten-and-break” anti-theft screws. However, the more common term in the industry is breakaway bolts. These are truly tamperproof. Without extraordinary measures, it would be impossible for a thief to remove the bolts, but keep in mind, the same goes for you as the installer or solar panel owner.

Read the full article over at RenewableEnergyWorld.com and if you have any questions we can answer, please share them in the comments section below.

The PV Industry Tackles Solar Theft

Specialty Mounting Hardware

Security screws are designed for installations where the fasteners are visible to the public, and the installer, manufacturer or owner want to ensure their equipment isn’t tampered with, damaged or removed. In a setting such as a public restroom, tamper proof fasteners are used to mount the stalls to the walls. These fasteners are installed with fastener specific tools. Some of the fasteners have a unique shaped slotted head. A traditional Phillips or straight screwdriver won’t fit into the head, and the fastener is installed and removed by a tool that only a the installation contractor would carry. Other security fasteners have a traditional shaped slotted head, like a Torx or Square drive. These fasteners have a small pin in the middle of the slot. A standard tool won’t fit into the fastener’s head. Installing or removing the fasteners requires a special tool that features a dimple in the tip which allows the tip to fit over the pin. These fasteners are called Pin-Head fasteners.
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