Good engineering on Solar PV systems will not only ensure that they system is strong enough to withstand environmental loads, such as wind and earthquakes, but a good solar engineer will also reduce installation costs by designing systems that require less time and materials to install. 

All too often, solar designers won't have a good idea of how strong their equipment is or know how strong it needs to be to withstand wind storms and earthquakes.

This leads to systems that are not designed well. They either have too much equipment on the roof, which is just unnecessary, or worse, they are under-designed and may fail the next time the wind picks up.

However we can make software tools that do the analysis automatically and then the engineering doesn't have to cost as much.  The result is a smarter and more cost-effective installation.

So that's what I'm starting here.  I am going to release a series of calculators, accompanied by Youtube tutorials on how to use them.  These calculators will help you determine if hiring an engineer is a good idea, before ever spending any money on one.

This first calculator, does a relatively simple and technical task; it will tell you if the aluminum rail that you are using in your solar design is strong enough

However, the solar industry isn't using these types of tools, which is leading to over-built systems. If we can develop more tools like this, we can produce accurate designs.  Not designs that are over-built or under-built, but designs that will be safe and efficient.

So if your company uses aluminum single angle beams in your PV array, watch this Youtube video and you may find that you can use less aluminum and have fewer posts in your solar array.

Aluminum Rail Span Calculator (Check back later for updates to this calculator)



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    This blog is the view of the solar industry from the point of view of the professional engineer.  A lot of what we do and think can be very confusing to our clients, but I promise we're not crazy (most of us).  This content is targeted at engineers and contractors in the solar industry so if that's not you, some of what ends up here might be a little overly technical.


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