Canadian Solar Adopts Zep’s Modular Rack – March 10, 2010, $CSIQ
Canadian Solar has launched a new line of solar modules compatible with the racking system from Zep Solar that Zep says can slash the costs and time surrounding installation.
Instead of mounting solar panels on the traditional metal frames used now, Zep props up on a device its calls the Interlock Zep. In layman terms, the Interlock is essentially a leg that clamps onto the frame of a solar panel and serves to prop up the solar panel and fasten it to the other panels in the array. Instead of a table, you just buy the leg. Overall, Zep says it can cut the time contractors spend on a roof by 75 percent.
The key is that the system requires a module with a specially grooved frame. Canadian’s NewEdge panel is the first from a major manufacturer to be compatible with the Zep system. Canadian will start selling the panel next month through GroSolar. (Side note: Zep did not name itself in tribute to Led Zepplin. All the good names were taken, a company spokesperson told me.)
Although it’s not as glamorous as cell design or efficiency, installation is rapidly gaining more attention in the solar industry as a way to bring down costs and/or percolate demand. Installation can account for one-third of the cost of a solar project and in some ways, it can be more difficult to control than manufacturing. Installation doesn’t take place in a factory after all. The work ultimately has to be performed on location in varied conditions by people with a wide range of skills.