Flat Roof

by Fred on July 1, 2012

flat roof

Ground Mounted and Flat Roof Solar Arrays

Not all domestic systems have to go on your roof.
Sometimes it is not always possible to fit a solar array on the roof of your house, there may not be enough room, the roof might be north facing or the roof may not be strong enough to take a solar array- though this last one is quite unusual. If you are keen to take advantage of the feed in tariff but are unable to have a straight forward roof mounted solar array what are the alternativesc

Well, If you have an area in the garden or spare land that is free from shade you could have a ground mounted system. Here we will look at some of the options available for this and for flat- roof mounted arrays- which are usually very similar.

Console Mounted Solar PV.

This is one of the easiest methods of mounting solar PV. A console is a moulded plastic bucket that can be filled with ballast and upon which a solar panel can be mounted. There are lots of different types for different applications and in different price ranges.
a console arraySolar console
Above are two pictures of Plastic consoles. The two pictured can be used on a flat roof or can be ground mounted. As you can see ballast is added into the console and the PV panel then sits on top. For flat roof installations weight may be an issue and the amount of ballast would have to be kept to a minimum or not used at all. In cases like these similar consoles can be used that have a lower profile and fit together to limit the effect of wind.
A solion console system
The picture above is of a system done using Solion mounting consoles. They are normally used for flat roof applications where space is limited and/or the weight of the array needs to be kept low. This system also give a great looking finish, with the whole array compact and neat. They can be used for ground mounting but require a nice flat surface. The more basic console units are better suited to ground mounting on less than even ground.

Frame Mounted Solar Arrays

A more traditional means of ground or flat roof mounting is to build a frame to which the solar panels are mounted. This can be a bespoke designed and built frame or it can be built using a purpose designed system and components.

A bespoke system is more likely to be used for an array that has some sort of unusual requirements, we have built array frames that have been need to be elevated up a couple of meters from the ground and ones that have needed to be mounted on a slope. These have meant we have had to build a frame ourselves using steel.
a sunken array we designed.
A more standard method is to use purpose designed components to build the array frame. There are many different types of frames available from the solar mounting manufacturers such as Schletter, Schuco, Hilti and others. They are all basically a pre-fabricated A-frame up which the solar modules can be mounted. . These can the either be weighed down with ballast or fixed in position. They can be built onto purpose built concrete foundations or built in an area already suitable. These array can be of different sizes- some may be juts one panel high, whilst others can be up to 4 high- though these types of array are more normally used for commercial installations.

Some framed arrays are shown above, ranging in size from small single panel size to a large field mounted frame.

On the larger arrays such as large field mounted commercial arrays sometimes solar trackers are used. These track the sun throughout the day and the array moves around to face the sun.
A Solar Tracking Array.
These are some of the ways we can mount solar arrays on the ground or on a flat roof. If you would like to know more, please get in touch!

Northern Sunlight, Solar PV Installers in Yorkshire

About the author: Northern Sunlight are solar PV experts based in Yorkshire. We design and install solar PV systems. Visit our site where we are putting together a wealth of knowledge and information about solar PV and the UK feed in tariff. We welcome any questions- it helps us keep the info coming- so please, get in touch.

Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/construction-articles/ground-mounted-and-flat-roof-solar-arrays-5206977.html

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. QUESTION:
    How to add a pitched roof to amobile home with exiting flat roof?
    Flat mobile roof leaking around the edge of the roof line. Not repairable, would like to attach pitched roof to exiting flat roof.

    • ANSWER:
      Most mobile homes are not designed to support the added weight of roof timbers and roofing. If you add the weight of Roof Lumber and roofing, the walls most likely will push out or crack.

      Most people just build a Car Port type structure over the mobile home. The support post are set on the ground next to the mobile home and the roof covers the mobile home, but the rafters never touch the mobile home.

      Many people extend the “Car Port” past the street end of the house, and then pour a drive way in it so from the street it looks like a Car Port on the end of a regular house.

  2. QUESTION:
    How do I calculate roof loadings for a flat roof?
    I am considering building a roof terrace on top of my kitchen extention, which is a flat roof construction, approximately 2.5M by 3.5M.

    I am aware that in order to do this, I need to be able to demonstrate to the local council planning department that the construction will be strong enough to carry the additional load of people & garden furniture on the roof.

    1. What is the weight that I need to allow for (presumably based on the maximum number of people that could be assumed to be on the roof at any one time)

    2. How do I calculate whether the existing joists and board are strong enough?

    Existing joists run across the shortest run, and are 150mm x 55mm spaced approx 35cm intervals.

    Roof board is particle contruction, however as the current felt roof has deteriorated and is now leaking I am planning to replace the boards with marine ply roofing board (18mm?)

    Any comments / advice appreciated.

    • ANSWER:
      I would start by getting a building engineer, to look at your roof 1st.. They will tell you, the weight per square foot allowed for your roof. Have your plan ready for him, he/she will then inform you on your next step on your project.

  3. QUESTION:
    What are the pros and cons to building a flat roof instead of a triangle roof on a greenhouse?
    my girlfriends building a small greenhouse for our apartment balcony, and we were thinking it would be easier to build a greenhouse with a flat roof instead of a triangle roof, just like some commercial building have flat roofs.

    Is there a reason why every greenhouse I’ve ever seen has a triangle roof?

    • ANSWER:
      Well it would depend on the kind of material you are using. If it is a soft vinyl/plastic, then it could get ruined by rain. An angled roof lets the water run down the sides easier, while a flat roof can sometimes collect water, making the roof sag down or even burst if it builds up enough.

  4. QUESTION:
    Is it difficult to replace a flat roof with a patio/balcony?
    I have an addition built onto the first story of my house which has a flat roof. I would like to put a doorway in the second story of my house and change the flat roof to a balcony/patio off of the 2nd story master bedroom. How difficult would this be and what procedure should I take to get it done? I would really like to do this project without hiring a contractor.

    • ANSWER:
      It depends entirely on how strong the addition was made. If the roof is just 2×4 studs instead of 2×6 or greater, you have a good chance of problems. And if the waterproofing of the flat surface may break if you try to use it to walk on a lot in all kinds of weather and poke through with chair legs, etc.
      The usual solution if the strength is there is to build the “patio” almost like you were making a deck near the ground: a strong sill atfached to the house and pads to rest on the roof and spread the force. Then the waterproofing of the addition stays intact and the deck can be level even if the roof has some slope for drainage.
      If the floor of the house is very close to the level of roof, then there isn’t really space to do that above. I would suggest getting someone to design it or ask for estimates based on a design being described to you and see how much trouble they think it will be.

  5. QUESTION:
    How to add a pitched roof to a mobile home with existing flat roof?
    How do I re-roof my mobile home with a pitched metal roof? It is flat right now. My concern is the weight on the walls and floor perimeter. I want the roof attached not like a carport over the trailer.

    • ANSWER:
      let the air out of the tires on one side of the house


Flat Roof Material, Flat Roof Building, Flat Roof Design, Flat Roof Products, Flat Roof Repair, Flat Roof Houses, Flat Roof Installation, Shed Roof,

flat roof

Fred (380 Posts)


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