Make it snappy – SMASH Solar aims to halve PV installation time

SMASH Solar have received US$1.5M of funding from the US Department of Energy (DoE) to further develop their snap-together PV mounting system.

The product is designed to simplify mounting structures for PV modules, potentially reducing the time required to install PV systems by half and significantly lowering the skill-level required for installers.

The ‘PowerStation’ system comprises of frameless modules interconnected with snap-together mounts, which reduce the need for conventional bolts and nuts. Rear mounts are used to anchor the system in place. The product is currently designed for pitched composite shingle roofing but will be developed for a range of other common roof types.

The Californian company has received funding from the DoE’s SunShot Incubator Program on two separate occasions thus far – the first amounting to US$500,000 in 2013 and the most recent award doubling that at US$1M. The latest round of funding is aiming to accelerate the products commercial release, a date for which has not been announced.

Other notable products aiming to simplifying the installation process include RPS’s non-penetrating roof mounts, Zep Solar’s standardised PV mounting systems and pre-mounted PV modules developed through a partnership between Solon and Trina.

In addition to reduced labour costs, simplifying the installation process promotes the idea that PV is an accessible, straight-forward technology. With products such as these making aspects of PV installations as easy as constructing other household goods – think flat-packed IKEA furniture – solar DIYers may be able to assemble the majority of their PV systems themselves!

Top Image Credit: SMASH Solar

© 2014 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

John Rodriguez

John regularly contributes original technology articles to Solar Choice News. He is a PhD candidate in solar PV engineering at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), having graduated with First Class Honours in a Bachelor of Engineering (UNSW, specialising in PV). His knowledge of and passion for renewables technology led to him receiving the federally-funded Australian Postgraduate Award and Engineering Research Award for research excellence, in addition to being a Co-operative Program scholar during his undergraduate studies. John also works as an energy efficiency and process engineer and analyst.
John Rodriguez