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PV Components Selection

December 06 , 2016
Metal components on rooftops are exposed to rain as well as daily heating/cooling cycles. Components made of improper materials will corrode over time and can eventually fail, causing severe damage to the panels and rooftop. For expediency and cost issues, non-outdoor rated materials are sometimes used in rooftop installations. Ordinary steel, even when painted or galvanized, will rust and weaken over time in certain environments. Although commonly used, wood and plastic components are generally not durable enough to provide structural strength after long-term exposure to bright sunlight and heat. Almost all plated or coated fasteners will corrode and weaken on rooftops. Coastal environments make these problems even more severe because of additional corrosion from salt-water droplets in the air.

For these reasons, best practices for solar installers include using aluminum-framed panels and aluminum racking in combination with aluminum or stainless steel mounts. Almost all fasteners (e.g., nuts, bolts, and washers) are stainless steel to prevent corrosion and weakening over time.

Besides, Grounding components are used to connect electrical equipment safely. However, copper in contact with aluminum outdoors rapidly corrodes from a galvanic reaction between the metals, leading to a degraded grounding connection. Correct practice is to prevent copper and aluminum from coming into contact, typically using an appropriate barrier material (like stainless steel) between the adjacent aluminum and copper components. There are certain some grounding lug designed for easy fastening to solar racks. When the panels are mechanically connected together, a reliable grounding path is established among all the panels in the array.

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