As more people are taking their solar installations into their own hands, and new installers are taking to the market, user friendly tools are become more important to the installation process. Solar racking in particular requires a number of components to ensure a complete and secure installation to protect your investment. With various roof types and ground mounting requirements, finding the right components that meet or exceed building requirements is needed. The leading solar racking manufacturers have met the need for user-friendly design tools that ensure a complete bill of materials for any project. Not only are the tools high effective, they are easy to use and offer unique insight to all the various materials needed for the system. The visual aspect of many of the designers give the installer a better understanding of the system component functions and makes the final installation process more streamlined.
SnapNrack’s design tool allows users to create both roof-top (Series100) and ground mount (Series 200) installations. The tool gives the user control over the specifications of the project, including the desired tilt of the system, column and row configuration, as well as roof and terrain specifications. The roof-mount application has a visual composer element which is helpful to new users to visualize their systems. The ground-mount system does not have a visual component; however, they provide a clear diagram of the ground mount system to help the user easily visualize the components of the array. The tool requires technical knowledge regarding the data of the environment and installation area conditions. However, the information necessary to utilize the tool is often sourced when seeking your permits. If the information is unavailable, looking up the environmental conditions in your area will be necessary in generating a correct bill of materials. The effort is well worth it, as SnapNrack’s final bill of materials will be uniquely specialized for your roof and environmental conditions.
UniRac’s U-Builder allows you to scale your project from residential/light commercial, to commercial to utility applications. UniRac is the only building tool to allow you to build your system via an overhead map, or on the classic design. Their tool is also the most highly effective tool for generating a bill of materials for ballast systems. Ballast systems typically require a specific roof type and grade as the systems are typically extremely heavy. UniRac further has a wide range of tools to pinpoint your environmental conditions. The components will change along with the data that you enter, and the easy layout of the additional tools makes it easy for you to determine the grade of rails and other components you need based on your zip code, or if you are in a city or country landscape. The map tool can be difficult to use at first, but once the user gets used to it, it adds a great visual component for complicated roof mount systems. The final bill of materials provides pictures of the components which further makes it easy to visualize how your system is put together.
IronRidge also offers a strong visual composer that calculates environmental conditions based on your zip code. The pre-determined environmental conditions offers a great experience for first time users of the application. IronRidge further offers a wide array of attachments that you can select for different roof mount applications. For roof mount attachments, S-5! Clamps are compatible with their rail sets, one only needs to determine the type of clamp you will need and follow the attachment point recommendation on IronRidge’s tool for a successful installation. The bill of materials also generates pictures, as well as a full list of documents such as installation guides and certifications. Both of which are helpful in the installation process and submitting your system for final approval on permits. If you need help getting started on your system, IronRidge further offers highly informational guides for each system with specific examples that provide confidence in moving forward.
Overall, all manufacturers offer a number tools that cover a wide variety of installations and make composing a bill of materials easier for those who are new, and streamline the process for well-seasoned installers. With the new product lines created by the manufacturer’s their tools play an important role in fully understanding the minor and major alterations for solar array systems. Selecting the right system often takes a great deal of time, and each manufacturer offers extensive support in recommendations and on-site technical support in your system. Making the three of them more user-friendly and efficient, and keeping them all at the top of their field.