Van der Valk Solar Systems Blog

The ever-increasing panels and panel load - is that still going OK?

Solar panels keep getting bigger, they have reached almost 2 m long and 1 m wide. This trend has not yet reached its peak, and as a result, panel manufacturers keep innovating with larger sizes. At Van der Valk Solar Systems, we closely follow this trend as well and expand our portfolio with the aim to keep delivering suitable systems for the increasingly larger panels. However, it is important to check that the solar panels are still suitable for the mounting systems. We are often asked, “Won’t the panels bend too much if they are covered in snow?” or “Is my panel suitable for clamping on the short side?” You can read about our answers and solutions in this blog.

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Centre of gravity & clamping on the short side

Because mounting systems and solar panels are interdependent, it is essential that the manufacturers remain in close contact. At Van der Valk Solar Systems we have built up a network with panel manufacturers and together we analyse our systems and their panels. To the best of our ability, this allows us to be aware of whether a panel is suitable or not for our mounting systems. And what do we find? Clamping on the short side is rarely a problem. Although the centre of gravity of the panel lies elsewhere compared with clamping on the long side, a majority of the panel manufacturers did not experience problems when clamping on the short side. Thanks to our collaboration with the different panel manufacturers, we know how much pressure each type of panel of many manufacturers can withstand when mounted in our flat roof system, ValkPro+. This pressure is expressed in Pascal units (Pa), which is equivalent to Newton per square meter (N/m²). We base our calculation on the norm for wind loads (NEN_EN_1991-1-4) and snow load (NEN_EN_1991-1-3) in combination with wind tunnel tests done by Peutz and the NEN 7250. The load on the system is distributed over the entire panel or over two solar panels in an East-West system. Since we know the surface area of the panel, we can calculate the maximum number of Pascals that the panel can support. This can subsequently be verified by the panel manufacturer.

Practical situations in Europe

Because our mounting systems are widely used in large constructions, we regularly encounter situations in which the pressure on the solar panel is a consideration. For example, here in Tilburg (NL) a ValkPro+ East-West system was installed with a panel measuring 2,102 x 1,040mm, and the pressure on the panel remained well within the margin. In more critical areas like a sea terrain category and buildings that are 25 m high, the pressure on the 2m panels is not problematic with the ValkPro+ flat roof systems.

High snow loads

In some areas of the world, we need to take high snow loads into account, as for example in Scandinavia. The pressures exerted on the panel rise precipitously. This may mean that the panel requires additional support to match the maximal force. It is apparent that additional support in the middle of the panel is very effective and allows the maximum permitted force to be used in the calculations. Van der Valk Solar Systems developed this additional support. This foot is easily mounted directly on the roof and supports the panel in the middle. This allows the panel to be placed, because thanks to the support, it can resist the higher pressure that may be exerted on it.

Projects via Van der Valk Solar Systems

We advise, develop and produce solutions, so our systems remain eminently suitable and can provide security even for projects involving large solar panels in critical areas. Are you interested in the possibilities or curious about the loads on the panels in your project? Then contact us at +31 (0)174 – 25 49 99 or e-mail to sales@valksolarsystems.com.