04 Mar 2015

Improving PV installation efficiency

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David Jackson, Director and General Manager of one of Europe’s leading distributors of stainless steel and brass fasteners, STF – Stainless Threaded Fasteners – talks saving time and money in a buoyant photovoltaic market.

Last year it was announced that solar photovoltaic capacity deployed in the UK had already exceeded the original forecast of 2.875GW, with it set to overtake Germany for the first time ever and claiming the number one spot in the European PV market.

Despite the recent uncertainty over energy efficiency schemes, there is no doubt that there is clearly a demand for energy efficiency measures and people are becoming more aware of the significant financial savings and reduction of carbon emissions that their properties can achieve. Subsequently, the PV market is growing as energy prices and awareness of environmental responsibilities continue to rise.

With this in mind, home-builders need to be up-to-speed on recognising a top-quality PV system, but also need to understand how to make the installation process as efficient as possible.

Imported roof hooks tend to be designed for European roofs, meaning that precious time is often spent modifying tiles or slate to get hooks to fit. Using UK designed and manufactured products not only reduce transport emissions, but also promote local employment.

Many sustainable PV projects are faced with a stringent set of standards for the installation process and the roof construction can often provide several challenges in terms of structural and wind loading. On top of this, it may require third party approval of any component used in the installation which means that manufacturers’ claims and product specifications could be taken at face value.

Since our beginnings in 1986, we have found that the construction industry has generally seen a full-circle shift back to quality branded fasteners and fixing products. When asking our customers why they think this is, feedback tends to focus on the continuity and power of a brand, with builders and installers giving more thought to what is in their toolkit than before. Furthermore, solar panel installations are becoming more frequent in residential areas as more people start to see a return on investment. However, this is still a significant home improvement expense and therefore installers need to ensure they are buying the most robust solution for their new asset.

Many PV installers are solving PV installation issues by using new solar mounting systems. Created by installers for installers, this product has been designed in the UK to fit UK roofs, providing a time and cost-effective alternative to standard European systems. REDtip Roof Hooks offer four stainless steel variations, which are of the roofhook, which are compatible with 90% of UK roof tiles.

This type of system uses innovative roofhooks that fit the dimensions of UK interlocking roof tiles, reducing the need for on-roof adaptations such as grinding or costly soakers and flashings. This aids faster, easier installation; saving time and therefore money. It also means a more secure and weatherproof finish.

Like many others, the construction sector has met various challenges over recent years. However, there has been a noticeable month-on-month upward trend within the industry that proves things are looking up. At STF, we anticipate a continuation of improvement, fuelled by growing output in the construction sector, and energy efficiency in particular.

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