How To Install Our Solar System

Considering a DIY Solar Install?

If you’ve thought about putting solar on your home and are handy enough to do at least some of the work yourself, you might be a candidate for a do-it-yourself (DIY) solar project. See First Steps for a DIY Home Solar System.

IMPORTANT: Our installation process is different!

Our mounting system is safer and easier to install, but has a slightly different sequence and uses different materials from what most PV installers are used to.

Please review our training materials before installing a Concise Designs Solar system, to ensure that your project will be a success.

Before You Begin

You may want to consult Google’s Project Sunroof for online tools to plan plan your installation.

  1. Review all instructions before beginning installation.
  2. Determine direction of sun for optimal solar panel placement.
  3. Remove or cut back trees that shade installation location.
  4. Verify actual dimensions of the roof rather than relying on architectural drawings.
  5. Check with roofing manufacturer to ensure solar panel installation will not void roof warranty.

Plans and Permits

  1. Research local permit and neighborhood covenant requirements.
  2. Decide whether panels will lie vertically or horizontally on roof. Typically panels are placed vertically with wires at the top.
  3. Plan solar system design based on roof measurements and energy needs.
  4. Consult your city or county building departments to obtain any necessary permits.
  5. Important Note on UL Listing for Pivot Mount Living Ground™ System:
    “As the attachment of these systems to a building must be evaluated “on-site,” based on system size and local building code requirements, this Listing does not attempt to provide certification of suitability with respect to building attachment.”

Install Your Solar System

Complete step by step instructions will be delivered with every complete Concise Designs mounting system purchased. These are abbreviated general steps.

On the Ground

Assemble Solar Panel Hardware

Caution: Be careful not to scratch the back-sheet of panel modules to avoid risk of damage that could invalidate panel warranty.

    1. Line up the pre-punched slotted holes in panels with the vertical spacing between support rails. Use hex socketed cap screws, serrated Belleville washers and serrated flange nuts provided.
    2. Attach Pivot Mounts (PM-1) at lower underside of module side frames with “tooth” pointed downward.
    3. Attach Secure Locks (SL-1) at underside of upper end of module side frames with locking setscrews at the top.

On the Roof

Mark the Placement of Rails

Snap clearly visible and straight chalk lines.

If using drywall screws for chalk line anchor points, remove screws and immediately seal holes after installation.

Chalk snap lines should extend beyond start and end of array.

Establish left corner of module array relative to lower edge of roof. Make sure this distance conforms to local codes.

    1. Mark lower rail chalk line. To establish height of this chalk line, take distance from lower edge of roof to bottom of array and add distance from bottom of module to pivot mount hole, not to exceed 12” from lower edge of module.
    2. Mark upper rail chalk line. Use pre-punched holes to determine distance between mounting holes to set vertical distance between support rails. This dimension will be the same as the distance between Pivot Mount and Secure Lock.
    3. Mark third chalk line. The vertical distance from second to third chalk line is twice the distance from upper mounting hole to top of module plus ½” vertical gap between modules.
    4. Mark fourth chalk line. The distance between the third and fourth chalk line is the same as the distance between module mounting holes as the first row.

Install Standoffs and Rails

Use the Drill Guide to set spacing and drill pilot holes in identified locations.

Rails with standoffs accommodate an array up to 80’ long. Standoffs are free to slide in their slotted rails.

    1. Use Rafter Finder™ to establish exact edge of rafters.
    2. On the second module row, space standoffs in 4’ intervals .
    3. Continue the 6’ and 4’ staggered standoff placement on all rows to better distribute the load between roof rafters.
    4. Position and level support rails (AR-0).
    5. Attach lay-in ground lugs (GL-8) to end of rails.

If Using Micro-Inverters

Lay the prepared trunk cable in the rails.

Then attach the micro-inverters to the rails with appropriate fasteners and wire the trunk cable into the junction box prior to installing the solar modules.

Place Panel Modules on the Roof

For safety, do not stack loose modules on roof.

    1. Place pivot mounts on panel into bottom rail and lower panel. Wedge grounding clip between rail sides to provide grounding and avoid lateral movement.
    2. Connect wires and dress into upper rail for protection prior to closing secure locks and tightening setscrews to 80 in-lbs torque.
    3. Continue placing and connecting panels and wires. Allow about ½” space between rows to allow pivot of panel in next row.
    4. Connect wires to the junction box or combiner box as required.

solar panel array installation on composition roof