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New Victron install, mounting panels on a carport


Tariq
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Good morning,

    Joining the blue club,

          I am attaching a picture of the top of the carport and a line drawing ( half a roof truss )showing the installation planned, will the wind be a major factor, I live in Cape Town , any other pitfalls I should consider

Tariq

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Here is a frame I had on a carport (chromadeck roofing) at my previous house. I bought two rails and a heap of angle aluminium and bolted it together. As you can see, it stands at a nice steep 32 degrees. It is held on by 8 x 10mm hanger bolts going right into the beams below. This had no problem dealing with up to 100km/h winds that we sometimes get in the area, although I must say I suspect it was partially shielded by the house itself and possibly didn't get the full force. We also rarely get North-easterly winds of that magnitude (it is pointed west).

To my eye, your setup looks fine.

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1)I was thinking of treated lumber, only concern is warping ( as the structure is exposed to the elements ) and putting a strain on the solar panel frames

2) or use wood for the truss frame and aluminum rails screwed to trusses and the panels attached to the rails

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The general guideline is that you should design the frame to last a long as the PV modules, which is in the 15-30 year bracket. I consider this a guideline, of course. There is no reason you can't use a frame with a shorter design life provided that 1) you maintain the frame when it becomes necessary, and 2) the frame does the required job of holding the panels down.

For this reason I don't really see a problem with a good treated wooden frame,  but I would not mount the PV modules directly to the wood. I would still use Aluminium rails, mount the PV modules to the rails, and the rails to the wood.

It is not uncommon on farms to build a frame from treated wooden poles, and mount a frame (sometimes even a steel frame in the dry areas of the country) to this, with the PV attached to that.

But there is also the matter of aesthetics. If you are married, the wife usually objects to things not looking the part. Her house is her pride, as they say 🙂

So, I would only use wood if I could do it in such a way that it looks good, in other words, make it look a bit rustic and on purpose.

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20 minutes ago, Tariq said:

Would I be ok using the four mounting holes on each panel bolted to aluminum rails ( channels ) or would it be better to use clamps of some sorts.

Depends, look at the mechanical information on the panel's spec sheet whether you may mount it in such a manner. Eg this random Canadian Solar spec I googled into shows the mounting hole clearly:

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7 minutes ago, Tariq said:

I have the Ku Max Canadian Solar 355 watt panels and they show mounting holes ( actually two sets of mounting holes )

Just remember to leave a gap between the panels if you go this route, it helps reduce the wind resistance. One solid wall of panels is not good, ask me, been there, done that. 

And good luck on using those holes, they are at the bottom of the panel frame and the frame is only 35mm thick, you need to get under the frame to get those bolts in. 

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Have ordered the Renusol rails and clamps, it will be a lot easier than laying flat on your back underneath the panels to drill holes in exactly the right place in the aluminum channels, 

Thanks Jaco and Plonkster 😀😀

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