Friday, July 3, 2015

Installing the roof bars for the solar panels

For the last few day's I've been working on mounting the solar panels.
There will be 4 Kyocera KD-140SX panels
The panels are about 27"x 59". According to calculation, the 59" direction fits nicely across the roof, without any overhang. Four of the panels widths fit nicely aft of the drivers compartment, and before the rear fan.

First step is figuring out how to mount the panels in real life.
The solar panels need to clear the roof line.

Clearly, the Z brackets provided with the panels won't make it.
But they will nicely support some kind of rail.

We are going to use 10" lengths of barn-door channel from Lowe's. This will allow about .5" to .75" panel clearance above the roof high point.
Measure, then drill the channel for attachment to the Z brackets.

Assemble the brackets and channels, then dry fit. Everything is bolted together, with Nylock nuts. It was a bitch to get a wrench to hold the nuts inside the channel

Measure to drill Panel hole mounts in the channel

Of course, there are always gotcha's. In this case, the Transit L&R rack mount points are not parallel to each other. The mount points are flatter than the roof curve, so why couldn't they have gone all the way and made 'em almost flat??

So we'll need to add shims. I'll do some thin shimming at the roof, and some thing thicker between the panels and the channels. I want to add some amount of cushion between the panels and the channels.

The channels are primed, painted, and installed in line with my philosophy that "You can't have too much lap sealant"

Pre-installed the bolts for the panels, 'cause they are too long to do later.

I was happy to avoid cutting holes or drilling into the roof. Annie is getting ready to channel power, and is hopefully immune to holey water.

Next step will be to drill and pre-wire the panels, in prep for installation on the roof.