Renusol’s remedy to four common solar installer mistakes
For anyone who has dealt with solar panels, whether on the installer or end-customer side, there is no doubt the installation process is not always straightforward and can pose several concerns for either party.
Given the enormous varieties and modularity of photovoltaic (PV) systems, there is scope to make a substantial number of mistakes, especially in the case of insufficient installer training. Errors also tend to occur around any national regulations, grid connection requirements and building protocols.
As the year draws to a close, SegenSolar reflects on common mistakes installers make when fitting solar panels to all roof types, as well as the products offered by Renusol to make solar mounting easy.
- Wiring worries
Electrical faults occur when the wiring has not been done properly. Connections between wires need to be robust to avoid the PV system short-circuiting as this can result in electrical fires. Poor connections are a hazard, so it is vital to ensure wires are correctly joined while avoiding over-tightening, risking insulation damage. While it may seem simple, over-bending wires can cause faults if attempting to create a tight coil.
Installers should make sure any cables and wires are not exposed to the elements and could not be corroded by water, damaged by overexposure to sunlight or gnawed by rooftop animals. In South Africa, monkeys will wreak havoc with any cables left out in the open, so it’s important to ensure they are tucked away safely and fully supported.
Sufficient planning, materials and careful installation mitigate the risk of arcing and short-circuiting.
- Water leaks
One of the most prevalent concerns of homeowners and business owners considering solar panel installation is the worry of water ingress when mounting modules to the roof. As it is common practice to create holes in the roof when fitting panels, water ingress is not an unfounded apprehension to have.
When fixing a panel to a roof, typical practice is for the bolt fixture to be surrounded by flashing to prevent water from getting through the created hole. Flashing is a pliable shield, generally made of metal or plastic, that fits under the existing roof tiles. This flashing is then sealed with a material similar to tar. Finally, the hole itself is filled with a sealant to protect against water escape in the roof.
If poorly installed, panels could create unwanted fissures in the roof resulting in leaks in the event of heavy rainfall. Adequate sealing methods are, therefore, imperative to avoid such ingress.
- Orientation, pitch and shading issues
What installers often forget to consider is shading on panels, so it is crucial to undertake resource predictions accounting for orientation, inclination and potential shading. When non-optimised modules are fitted, any shade on panels will lower the performance and yield of all panels in the string, so it is crucial to ensure all panels are as exposed to the sunlight as possible.
- Insufficient ventilation
If a solar panel overheats, the performance can drop substantially. Ensuring there is a sufficient gap between the solar panels and the roof is a simple way to avoid panels reaching extreme temperatures, particularly in hot climates.
Renusol’s MetaSole Plus High (MS+H) range has been designed with this problem in mind. The MS+H rails are higher than the standard range and allow for increased cooling and ventilation, thereby ensuring the system is performing to its maximum efficiency.
Most failures do not happen because of one specific mistake, but rather are an accumulation of various faults. Taking care with each step minimises the risk of poor installation.
Renusol’s FS range is a simple and efficient PV mounting system for flat roofs. The FS10-S has a 10-degree inclination and is ideal for flat roofs with either a bitumen or foil roof covering. However, the FS18-S can be tilted to 18 degrees and comes with increased space between rows for optimised yields.
The FS range is flexibly adaptable to specific locations and can be tailored to suit each project individually.
Renusol’s products are designed simply with very few components. The well-considered elements allow for speedy construction and make the mounting process much more straightforward than conventional mounting solutions. Pre-drilled holes mean the installation requires little-to-no measuring, and short rails help the PV array to adapt to the surface of the roof.
The renowned Variosole Plus (VS+) series is a universal mounting solution which covers all applications for pitched roofs. For easy mounting and fixing modules on pitched roofs, the VS+ portfolio is an ideal solution thanks to the variety of accessories. With a huge range of clamps, clips and rails, VS+ is adaptable to 90% of all rooftop installations.
Trapezoidal and corrugated roofs
For metal roofs that are either trapezoidal or corrugated, Renusol offers the MetaSole Plus (MS+) range. Ready-made kits comprised of rails and self-tapping or thread-forming screws have been designed for steel and aluminium roofs of varying thicknesses.
The compact design not only reduces transport costs but also saves storage space and facilitates on-site handling. Such a simple system allows for a quick and smooth mounting and reduces the risk of faults.
What’s more, the pre-attached EPDM strip protects any mounting surface against water intrusion.
SegenSolar offers a variety of mounting solutions from Renusol for flat, pitched and trapezidal roofs. Explore South Africa’s most reliable racking products now.