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Practical fastenings make light work of solar industry applications

02 September 2019

In the UK and worldwide, solar energy remains one of the most popular renewable energy options. From an engineering viewpoint, there are two primary waypoints that manufacturers of solar panels and arrays need to consider as their products make the journey from the factory to where the end user will install them.

While the panel manufacturers’ design and production engineering teams will strive to achieve the desired combination of technical performance, weight, durability and reliability, the field installation teams subsequently charged (no pun intended) with installing and then maintaining them will have an entirely different set of essential criteria. All parties will be keen to reduce failures, and keep downtime and essential maintenance to an absolute minimum. So, as with every project, care and understanding in the initial selection of appropriate materials and the best joining methods is likely to yield significant dividends over time.

By definition, with solar panels and arrays likely to spend their entire service lives in an (often hostile) outdoor environment, manufacturers need to deliver equipment that can cope with extremes of both heat and cold, yet survive and perform without fault for years at a time. Designers must allow for the possibility of differential thermal expansion and contraction occurring between dissimilar materials, especially at the points where they are joined together. Clearly, while differential thermal expansion can and will occur in any part of a panel, the areas where joining is present can prove especially problematic. It takes experts to understand and produce joining products and Bollhoff is one of the preferred fastening specialist for many in the solar energy market sector. With a wide portfolio of proven joining solutions that have stood the test of both weather and time, Bollhoff numbers amongst its satisfied solar customers some of the biggest names in the industry, including Citrin Solar, Vaillant, Solvis and Clage and more. 

Read the full article in the September issue of DPA.

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