Published on September 17th, 2015 | by Derek Markham8
JA Solar’s New Modules Need No Racking, Reducing Installation Costs & Time
September 17th, 2015 by Derek Markham
A new line of solar modules from JA Solar, dubbed Spice Solar, eliminates the need for racking, allowing for direct mounting on rooftops, and can cut both installation time and costs.
I once spent a summer installing rooftop solar arrays, and one of the most pain-in-the-rear parts of the process was dealing with the racking – both cutting it to size (which required a portable bandsaw or a hacksaw and plenty of elbow grease) and then attaching the modules to the racking. At the time, I remember thinking that there has to be a better way, at least from a materials and labor standpoint. The aluminum rails we used were certainly strong and rigid enough, and could be adapted to a variety of different types of rooftop installations, but the sheer amount of hardware and man-hours required to put it all together seemed like a lot more work than it ought to be.
With the latest offering from JA Solar, that element of rooftop solar installation may be about to get a lot more streamlined, in terms of both the time it takes and the amount of parts needed, and could save solar installers up to $0.30/watt or more per project.
The Spice Solar modules are made up of 60 “cell laminates” per unit, surrounded by a heavy-duty aluminum frame that is strong enough to allow them to be mounted directly to the roof, without any additional racking. The modules can be snapped together in both rows and columns, allow for up to 72″ wide attachment spans, and only require a single grounding point per array.
“By eliminating rails and complicated fasteners, residential installers in the U.S. can dramatically reduce their parts and labor costs on every job. Installers only need to stock one system on their trucks that works on all residential roof types, both portrait and landscape orientations, and all typical wind and snow conditions in the U.S.” – Wei Shan, CTO of JA Solar
According to JA Solar, the new system of modules only requires about 50 distinct pieces, compared to the 300+ pieces required for conventional solar racking systems, which cuts down on overall materials costs, while also reducing the labor costs for installation.