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Old 05-25-2020, 06:36 AM   #1
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My probably over-engineered method to attach solar panel to the roof

Here are a few pictures of the way I attached a 100 W solar panel to the roof of my x213. In brief, I used aluminum flats mounted to the roof with two through bolts, to which the solar panels are attached with the regular z-brackets.

Once the flats were attached to the roof with three fasteners each, I covered everything with dicor and let it gas out for two weeks. Then, I covered the flats with a strip of 4 inch eternabond tape, and covered the bolt protrusions with a small dab of dicor. This provides double insurance against leaks. Note that I didn't come up with this myself, I watched Tom Silva from This Old House attach a snow guard to a flat roof, using a similar method.

Now, the second advantage is that the solar panel is removable, I can take it off any time I like without having to reseal the roof.

For fastening the flats, I used the self-tapping screws from the z-brackets into the rafters. However, at the back of the panel, there were no rafters. I felt that the screws didn't really have the bite in the decking that I would have liked, so I used well nuts for attachment. Now, it feels like I can pull the decking off with the panel, before the panel would come off the roof.
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Old 05-25-2020, 06:41 AM   #2
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Here are a few pictures of the way I attached a 100 W solar panel to the roof of my x213. In brief, I used aluminum flats mounted to the roof with two through bolts, to which the solar panels are attached with the regular z-brackets.

Once the flats were attached to the roof with three fasteners each, I covered everything with dicor and let it gas out for two weeks. Then, I covered the flats with a strip of 4 inch eternabond tape, and covered the bolt protrusions with a small dab of dicor. This provides double insurance against leaks. Note that I didn't come up with this myself, I watched Tom Silva from This Old House attach a snow guard to a flat roof, using a similar method.

Now, the second advantage is that the solar panel is removable, I can take it off any time I like without having to reseal the roof.

For fastening the flats, I used the self-tapping screws from the z-brackets into the rafters. However, at the back of the panel, there were no rafters. I felt that the screws didn't really have the bite in the decking that I would have liked, so I used well nuts for attachment. Now, it feels like I can pull the decking off with the panel, before the panel would come off the roof.
Nice work!

I like the idea of being able to remove/replace a solar panel without messing with roof sealing down the road. If I ever decide to ditch our solar suitcase and roof-mount panels I'll be borrowing this idea
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Old 05-25-2020, 09:49 AM   #3
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Am I seeing this correctly? How did you get the bolts up through the roof?
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Old 05-25-2020, 12:55 PM   #4
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Am I seeing this correctly? How did you get the bolts up through the roof?
The bolts are up through the aluminum flats, which are in turn screwed to the roof. Look at the first two pictures, which show the aluminum flats with the bolts and the screwholes before they were attached to the roof.
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Old 05-26-2020, 10:18 AM   #5
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The bolts are up through the aluminum flats, which are in turn screwed to the roof. Look at the first two pictures, which show the aluminum flats with the bolts and the screwholes before they were attached to the roof.
Oh I see! Great idea!
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Old 05-26-2020, 10:27 AM   #6
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Brian at RV With Tito did a similar install about a year ago on his YouTube channel. 100% Eternabond and Dicor. No holes in the roof. It's held up well.
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Old 05-27-2020, 06:05 AM   #7
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Brian at RV With Tito did a similar install about a year ago on his YouTube channel. 100% Eternabond and Dicor. No holes in the roof. It's held up well.
I believe that Tito's were flexible panels, though. My solid panel mounts are still screwed into the roof, so holes are necessary. While the aluminum flats could be technically attached to the roof with Eternabond tape only, I would not trust attachment of solid panels without screws to keep the panels on the roof.
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