I feel like the archetypal Hare working on the truck lately. So many things that I want to do RIGHT AWAY, and so much time to do them since I'm in between mural jobs! Lots of very speedy, accomplish-able tasks to do, I'll have no problem bounding forward.... But somehow days keep passing without me doing anything at all??
Anyway, this has been holding me up for the past, like, TWO MONTHS.
I've poked around at a bunch of blogs and solar installer sites, and it looks like I don't need to worry about protecting the panels from either highway wind or tree branch stuff, though I'm still not 100% convinced on that front. First things first though is attaching them to the roof at all.
I am generally trying to avoid drilling straight down through my roof, because I'd like to actively avoid inviting leaks as much as I can. The roof is a single white painted aluminum panel riveted all around the edge to... something underneath. I know there's four aluminum c-channel bars crossing the width underneath, and another aluminum skin under them, but the top aluminum sheet doesn't seem to be connected directly to the c-channel underneath. I'm not 100% against drilling through the roof... but man it seems better to avoid it.
My biggest question: Once my panels are attached, how likely is it that I would ever need to look under them again? Options 1 and 2 would be pretty nnoying to get a. Option #3 would be much easie with those knobs, but also more theft-friendly.
Option #1 is mounting a roof rack: arms attached to the side of the truck that hold bars which span the roof's width, then attaching angle iron that runs lengthwise which the panels would sit in, bolted on. This might be around $400, or it could get upward of $600 if I do three like below.
This definitely looks the strongest. It's pretty involved. I think it would also allow me to get at the underside of the panels with some effort if necessary (easy to see under at least a little, more trouble to actually fiddle with anything - unbolting panels, or detaching bars from arms... heavy, cumbersome)
Very simple, very lowke, just use bolts to attach four little angles to the solar panel, and tape those to the roof. Now the tape sounded dumb to me too when I first read about it, but I've found a convincing number of people who are swearing up and down that they've never lost a panel, and that the tape's a great way to go, etc. (3M VHB tape) I'd also like to get them just a little higher off the surface of the roof than this picture, like maybe up to 2.5" off, so that there can be a little airflow underneath them for a cooling effect.
This is probably <$100
It worries me that it would be hard/impossible to get under them if necessary
Same as 2, but sold as a kit with a clamp for the panel, and separate pieces with a handle so that they are easy to remove if necessary, either for maintenance or for tilting them. n this picture, the foot is taped on and then sealed with Dicor. This would be around $320.
The little clamps seem nice, not having to bolt through the panel side, but this seems like a lot of $ compared to #2's parts that I could probably get at Lowe's