What makes an Emerald Coast Solar System different
We are the best at what we do and we show you how we are different. Included here are a series of pictures detailing the differences between an Emerald Coast Solar install and the competition. The competition pics are from a number of different installs done by 4 of our main competitors.
All pictures in this section are from actual installs and have not been altered in any way - other than to magnify to highlight certain issues. As well, all pictures here are open source and freely available on the internet. Competitors pictures have been taken directly from their FACEBOOK or web sites.
We thought the best place to start was with the very basics of how your system is secured to your roof and build up from there.
On top, is one of the bolt systems used by our competition. It is a 3” (8CM) stainless steel bolt with a thin expansion sleeve and SS nut, washer, and lock washer. Others we have seen include: galvanized bolts and even plain metal bolts.
This is placed into the roof (or a column) by drilling a hole inserting the bolt and sleeve and then placing the foot or leg on top and using the nut to tighten the entire set into the roof. The tightening actually pulls the bolt up leaving less (max. 2.5” (6cm) of the bolt actually in the roof or column.
Emerald Coast Solar does not use this bolt. We use (as shown in the this pic) a stainless steel rod and a threaded expansion bolt. We drill into your roof, insert the expansion bolt, add a stainless steel lock nut and then insert the stainless steel threaded rod. When this assembly is tightened, it actually pulls more of the rod into your roof.This ensures the maximum amount of the rod is locked into your roof.
We start with what they use to secure your system to the roof and what we use.
Some companies attach the mounting legs directly to you roof using the above noted bolts. Others, build a cement column. In either case, the bolt is set in a drilled hole and is only a maximum 2.5” (6cm) into the concrete.
You should also note that in all of these installations, by our competitors, the roof and/or the column is left unprotected or simply painted.
Emerald Coast Solar takes a different approach. We want the base of your system to be as secure as possible. In order to accomplish this, we set our expansion bolt and stainless steel rod as noted above. Then, we chip your roof about 1 to 2 cm deep. We then use Festerbond as a bonding agent to ensure a strong connection between the old and new concrete. We set our column form and pour 10 cm of concrete. This gives our base much more strength. We have at least 5.5” (14 cm) of stainless steel locked in place with 4.75” (12 cm) of concrete bonded to your existing roof.
Even when building a pedestal set up for panels, they just paint the pedestal. You can see the rust already forming on the securing bolts. This is a new install and it is obvious that stainless steel was not used for securing this pedestal..
Emerald Coast Solar goes the extra step and coats both the new column and the surrounding roof with 3 coats of roof sealer.We do this even when we are elevating the entire system off the roof.
Now the system is ready for the legs to be installed. Again, we are substantially different from our competition. The competition uses (for the most part) the same basic mounting system we do. They use it as it comes right out of the box. These Mounting systems are either a back side adjustable mounting system or a fixed multi-panel mounting system.
This is a picture of the fixed position foot mount installed at the front of the panels to support the rails for the panels.
This picture shows the back adjustable legs. You can also see that the panels slope down to a front fixed position foot mount.
With a back side adjustable system, you can achieve (depending on the back legs used) adjustments of about 10 - 15 degrees or 15 - 30 degrees. Most installers set the panels at between about 15 - 20 degrees and just leave them. Even if they do offer an adjustment, it cannot be more than 30 degrees or less than 10. That is the restriction of this system. Also, note how close the bottom of the panel is to the roof. It will make sealing the roof difficult to do without getting some coating on the panels. The issue with applying roof coating is very difficult if the panel supports are connected directly to the roof.
The fixed multi-panel racking system does not allow for any panel angle adjustment. It is fixed in position and, as purchased, cannot be adjusted.
We achieve this increase in power because, we are the only company to use a front adjustable leg in combination with the back adjustable leg. The front adjustable leg is only available through Emerald Coast Solar.
At Emerald Coast Solar we take a different approach. Our investigation has shown that the best angles for the solar system are not at a fixed angle (usually 20 degrees) but, should be seasonally adjusted. The summer angle is, in fact, 0 degrees and the winter angle is 40 degrees.
While we do not adjust our panels to the full 0 or 40 degrees, we do adjust our panels far more than anyone else. Most installers set at 20 degrees and leave them fixed. Our maintenance programs include twice yearly adjustments. Summertime is about 3 degrees, just enough to ensure the rain rolls off the panels. For the rest of the year, we set about 23 to 25 degrees. Any greater, angle would be dangerous for the system given the high winds we do experience regularly from the North. With these angles, we increase panel production between 5 and 12%.
The next difference between Emerald Coast Solar and our competition is how we mount the legs that secure the rails that the panels are attached to. Our competition uses the standard mounting system.
We use our threaded rod and secure the legs to the rod with stainless steel nuts, washers, and lock washers.We also add a plastic washer to separate the stainless steel from the aluminum legs.This is important as different metals, when they come in contact with each other, will corrode and the softer metal (the aluminum leg) will corrode more quickly. This process is accelerated when you add corrosives such as salt and water.
As you can see, above, we are the only company to use the plastic separator.
We import these from Canada.
As stated, there is also a different type of mounting for panels. This mounting allows panels to be stacked, one above the other, up to 4 high.
Our competition uses these as they come from the supplier. They are a fixed position system that does not allow for adjustment seasonally to take advantage of the sun angle.
This is a three-leg system with a front, centre, and back leg. “L” shaped aluminum is used for the legs and they are attached with only 1 bolt at the base. This bolt is the same as what is supplied for the regular mounting system.
We have modified this system to allow it to be adjustable in the same manner as the regular system. We have also found this system to be less stable than the regular mounting system and have added stainless steel braided line attached to the rails and secured to the roof with eye bolts to add stability and security against high winds.
All our column work is the same as we normally do, including the threaded rod, roof sealer, etc.
The front and back legs are modified and the centre leg is used as the pivot point.
We also added 6 securing lines to this system. Two in front, two in back and one to each side for increased stability.
We continue the explanation and photo examples on the 2nd page.
Just click the link below.