Hardware Brief: Solar mandate in real life, two types of weird new racking, 50/150 cell 500 watt module, more!

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Our featured image shows the California solar rooftop mandate in real life, as Sunrun installs modules at the time of construction.

Note that the flashing for the racking is installed below the roof shingles — directly to the plywood making up the roof. This will lower installation time, costs, and the risk of roof leaks. Refer to pv magazine USA‘s calculation on the impact of installation at the time of construction (hint: $1/W and 2.5¢/kWh).

Trina’s new commercial solar module is a 50-cell product, but more accurately described as a 150-cell solar module.

Trina found that cutting the 50 210-mm solar cells into three led to greater electrical output rather than keeping the unit at 50 large cells, or cutting them into four or five. The company expects this line to yield 500-watt solar modules in a standard 72-cell package size.

Trina’s first large-size module using the 210mm silicon wafer formally rolled off the company’s production line. The module uses an innovative 1/3-cut design, based on a consideration of potential challenges including strong module power, yield, manufacturing difficulties, hot spot risks, output current performance and junction box safety. Source – Trina

Unirac has gained global distribution rights to Solarstack. Install images plus technical documents can be found here (including an installation guide). Essentially, on a tar roof as shown above – the unit attaches directly to the surface. Spanish tiles get a cut through them, and then get attached to the surface below. The solar modules are attached directly to these units, no rails required.

Note that the product is designed for the Florida solar market — which has wind load considerations of up to 185 mph. The documentation notes that each 8″ unit, connected to the surface with DAP Touch N’Seal Stormbond 2, is able to withstand 750 pounds of uplift. Source – Unirac

And now, some commercial and industrial solar racking: Acme Express has won a $1-million Small Business Innovation Research grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office to refine its product further, and test whether it can stand up over the required 25-year lifetime.

Acme Express claims that this new solar-panel racking system would reduce the racking and installation costs of traditional systems by 33%. Similar to rain gutters, which are formed and cut on demand, roll-form machines will produce custom solar racking on site and on demand. The single-component Roll-A-Rack is significantly simpler than today’s multi-component racking systems, which require pre-ordering, shipping, inventory and assembly.” Source – Acme Express

Chinese New Year is this Saturday, so it’s flat pricing this week as one of the world’s largest population migrations heads home to see mom and dad — and no module pricing updates next week.