Aerocompact: Smart Mounting Solutions
Written by Mike Leone
There is roughly 50 billion square feet of commercial rooftop space in the US and only 2% of these rooftops currently have solar. This leaves an enormous untapped market for solar contractors to target.
There are plenty of flat roof racking solutions available in today’s solar industry. If you attend Solar Power International or other industry trade shows and conferences, you are likely familiar with at least a handful of them. Despite a strong field of contenders, Aerocompact stands among the leaders as one of the most efficient and cost-effective flat-roof solutions on the market today.
I’ll start with a brief overview of Aerocompact’s design concept. There are three main system parts coming in 5, 10, and 15 degree tilt angles: the front-foot, mid connector, and endfoot. Each row has a wind deflector and possibly a ballast tray. This largely pre-assembled design minimizes on-site labor and eliminates long, heavy rails.
The above image shows the integrated grounding feature incorporated into Aerocompact’s current 2.0 system. The 2.0 design elevates the system further off the roof leaving room for wire runs and roof unevenness. These contractor-driven improvements demonstrate the Aerocompact contractor-centric approach.
Aerocompact developed this design concept with the goal of making installation as simple as possible. This is evidenced by speaking and working with contractors who previously used railed systems. There are other flat roof providers, however, with a similar design to Aerocompact.
Aerocompact separates themselves from these providers by going the extra mile to optimally design each project. Their design team and CivicSolar work to understand design parameters, site limitations, and system goals. Systems can be designed to maximize roof space, hit a certain system capacity or production target, and stay below a PSF load threshold.
An in-depth engineering report is created to show all applicable engineering codes and thresholds, module and ballast layout, and load calculations. This report will optimally place any necessary roof penetrations and can design for multiple roof faces and elevations. An aerial layout, 3D array image, and statics report are included.
Aerocompact’s team of professional engineers is incredibly knowledgeable, responsive and works hard to meet solar contractors' goals. There is also a free lite version of their industry-leading design tool for contractors to develop preliminary layouts and designs.
Two specialized systems were developed based on conditions Aerocompact saw in the market. Aerocompact’s Alpine system is designed for snow loads up to 96 PSF. The only additions are extra support brackets as shown below.
Aerocompact’s East-West system is well suited for maximizing roof space and tropical applications with high wind speeds and low latitudes:
This design uses modules as wind deflectors which results in 30% less material and makes for a faster install.
Aerocompact recently released a5-degreee South-Facing system with 7” interrow spacing for projects that cannot use an East-West orientation and need to maximize roof space.