Print 38 comment(s) - last by Keeir.. on May 16 at 3:10 PM

Move over screws and racks, new adhesive mounted panels are gaining steam

DailyTech recently reported on the growing interest in solar power, both public and private, being fueled by enterprising startups like Sungevity.  However despite current methods of streamlining installation and reducing costs via optimizations, the installation process remains costly, slow, and has some undesirable side effects.

Panel installation typically involves drilling holes in the roof, compromising its integrity.  Racks are affixed to these holes using bolts, and the entire process is rather time-intensive.  The end result is big installation bills and a headache for the customer.  It's also a hassle for the installer, who has to use special tools and could be making more money off a more efficient installation approach.

Well a logical answer has arrived in the form of DRI Energy, a solar-power roofing contractor, operating out of California.  Instead of racks, DRI Energy simply applies a strong roofing adhesive, to hold the panels in place.  The seemingly common sense approach seems to work.  The company shows in a video that 2.25 kW of its proprietary Lumeta solar panels can be installed in only 35 minutes by two of its solar engineers, a process that would normally take hours.

Shorter installations mean that costs drop greatly, and installers are able to perform more installations per day, making more money overall.  As most roofing installers regularly use the same adhesives used to affix the panels, the move opens the doorway to installations by roofers not specially trained in solar installation, possibly further dropping the cost.  Further, no racks also means no holes in the roof, a plus for many customers. 

Unfortunately for now the method is only compatible with DRI Energy's special panels.  However, given the commercial benefits, other companies are likely to quickly follow in suit.  After all the move seems common sense, and well worth the time to design slightly modified panels to work with the improved installation process.

DRI is based out of Irvine, California and installs solar panels in nine western states.  It is a rather large company with seven regional offices in the states of California, Washington, and Nevada.  The company also offers rack mounted systems, in addition to the new adhesive-mounted ones.

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By Bruneauinfo on 5/12/2008 7:14:55 PM , Rating: 2
we've obviously not done a lot of roofing here. i know i haven't. but what little i have done i'm assuming the point of roofing cement on roll roofing, for example: it's gooy and maintains its gooiness even after it dries. i'd assume roll roofing (which is basically the same type of material as shingles) expands and contracts differently than the wood sheathing to which its attached. the cement helps compensate for this.

so how does the conversation go from solar panels being glued to a roof to exploding tires??? :/

By Sethanus on 5/14/2008 3:23:58 AM , Rating: 2
A way to increase the speed of install (it may not be much, but it would make handleing and installing easier) is to have rectangular grease paper panels with a lip for easy peeling off of the back of the solar pannel(maybe 6 or 9 for a pannel that size).

After watching that vid it looked like they wasted a minute or a minute and a half trying to peel the backing off each pannel.

my 2 cents worth

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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