Wire management plays an important role in solar PV array installation, minimizing maintenance, optimizing safety, and ensuring greater longevity. Wire management involves proper routing, support, and protection of the wires and cable of the PV system.
Standard 110.12 of the National Electric Code (NEC) regarding the mechanical execution of work is the only standard applied to wire management in the solar industry. NEC 110.12 states that wire installation must mitigate the risk of damage, prevent destruction by wildlife, and establish precise organization and easy identification of the components.
Types of Solar Panel Mounting Systems
Solar panel mounting systems have two primary classifications: roof mounts and ground mounts. The two classes of mounting systems each have advantages and disadvantages that make them best suited for differing applications.
Roof Mount Systems
Many solar panels are mounted and installed on a building’s roof. Roof mounting is less expensive than ground mounting because it does not require additional structural support. Roof-mounted systems include solutions designed for use with modern or older structures and sloped roofs and flat roofs. Railed or rail-less mounting is available, depending on the need to limit penetrations through the roof. Solar shingles are also available.
Ground Mount Systems
This option allows for installation of solar panel systems in remote or convenient locations on the ground. Ground mount systems tend to cost more because they require the fabrication of a structural system to support the solar panels. Though available for roof mount installations, tracking systems that adjust the panels for optimum solar exposure are more common with ground-mount systems. Additional benefits that come with ground mounting systems include easier maintenance and cleaning.
Components of a Solar Panel Mounting System
Each of the following components plays a critical role in meeting maintenance, safety, and service life goals.
Solar Panel Mounting Brackets
One of the most common components in solar panel mounting, solar panel mounting brackets are heavy-duty parts constructed of either stainless steel or aluminum for improved corrosion and environmental resistance. Where weight limitations are a contributing factor, installers opt for aluminum brackets.
Solar Panel Mounting Clamps
Many roof-mount installations make use of solar panel mounting clamps. These components usually fasten to the seams of solar panels using stainless steel setscrews, which compress the seam material against the opposite side of the clamp without penetrating or damaging the material to keep the panel in place. Clamps typically feature additional threaded holes to enable the attachment of other objects.
Solar Panel Wire Management Products
White and multi-colored nylon zip-ties might be a quick and convenient solution to various wire management situations, but for solar panel wire management they are far from adequate. Proper wire management is a critical part of solar panel installation, so more substantial solutions are required with resistances to harsh environmental conditions like direct sunlight, extreme temperatures, and exposure to rain, snow, and hail.
- Hangers. Many installers turn to hangers for ground-mount systems. Hangers handle a full-load of up to 25 cables. They are made of hard-drawn galvanized steel designed to resist corrosion caused by environmental factors.
- Clips. Clips are most common for roof-mount systems. Standard models made of 401 stainless steel or 301.5 hardened stainless steel provide the best solutions for this type of installation. Leading suppliers also provide custom clip fabrication to meet a broad range of unique or complex applications related to wire management challenges.
Choose Nine Fasteners for Solar Wire Management Clips
Nine Fasteners is a single-source distributor of fasteners, electrical-mechanical, and computer components. Since 1984, we’ve developed and maintained long-term partnerships with leading global, national, and local clients from a wide range of industries like computers, telecommunications, medical, industrial, alternative energy, and numerous contract manufacturers.
In addition to our traditional markets, we have expanded into serving solar energy solution manufacturers, providing both off-the-shelf and custom wire management clips for racking and solar modules.
To learn more about the solar PV wire management solutions available from Nine Fasteners, please request a quote today.