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First look at Solar Panel Racking

After researching various racking vendors, UniRac appears to be one of the more popular choices in the solar community. Because of their reputation and extensive documentation, we decided to focus on them for our initial cost estimates. More research could be done on competitors when we start fixing more design components. For the time being, UniRac is an excellent resource with products that can meet our needs.

There is also the Solar Mount tilt and flush systems. This is an easily variable system that can vary between flush, high-profile or low-profile configurations. These mounts can easily mount to pitched or flat roofs and have varied rail systems in order to accommodate practically any type of work surface. These mounts are more complicated and a little pricier, but the price difference makes up in strength and durability.

There are PDF’s on the wiki that go extensively into the varied systems and hardware options of these types of setups. There is also a master price list that lays out a wide variety of racking options. When we actually decide what type of panels we would like to go with, there is a price estimator on UniRac’s website that can accurately tell us what prices would be for layouts we are considering.

After looking over these prices lists, and going off of what was done last year, we can come up with a general estimate for racking solar panels. Using 40 panels and the newest RapidRac system that Unirac is currently pushing out, we can estimate that racking will cost roughly around $8,000 dollars. This is their more top of the line model so to optimize our budget and configuration we could easily drop the price down. However if we are going to need more power for this home’s setup we could be looking around 10-12 thousand for racking purposes. If we stick to the same power consumption we can easily drop racking costs to around 5-6 thousand.

An additional note, after listening to Mr. Westbrook and reviewing the materials and resources on racking, attaching racking to a seam roofed house can be the easiest and most cost effective option for mounting solar panels. According to the architecture team, they are proposing using seam roofing for the house, so we should push for this as well as it might help cost reduce our racking.

Andy Leon
Zach Fiscus

Comments

I accidentally lost part of the initial blog post, in addition to the Solar Mount tilt and flush system there is RapidRac.

They have a Rapid Rac solution which significantly reduces installation time, requires only 7 parts to install, offers freedom and flexibility to accommodate majority of PV modules, and flexibility of design to meet all weight, height and a wide range of wind conditions. This seems to be UniRac’s simplest and most cost effective racking solution.

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