Thermal Expansion of Solar Racking

Structural Solar LLC is a leading design-build company who specializes in durable, functional and economical solar canopies for institutional, municipal and commercial solar installations. Thermal expansion of the racking and structures is an important design consideration. Solar canopies by design are typically long structures installed in parking lots as an alternative to rooftop installations. The company designs, fabricates and installs foundations and “module-ready” solar structures as a subcontractor to leading solar developers and integrators.

When Structural Solar LLC designs solar canopies, its engineers consider the thermal expansion of solar racking based on the overall length of the canopies and the coefficients of thermal expansion for both steel and aluminum. Since solar canopies are typically not “fixed” at either end and otherwise designed as stand-alone structures, they can freely expand and contract. Consequently canopies up to 300 feet long can be designed without expansion joints.

Additionally, Structural Solar LLC designs purlin connections with a ¼” slotted connected between the steel trusses. The aluminum racking system connects to the purlins which in effect allow the rails and purlins to move incrementally over the length of the canopy. The incremental increase or decrease in length due to the thermal expansion of the solar racking is offset by the slotted connection.

Finally solar modules are designed to absorb and dissipate large amounts of heat. Most module manufacturers design to a NOCT (Normal Operating Cell Temperature) standard that allows for some expansion and contraction within the module assembly. For a complete review on the subject of thermal expansion on solar racking and structures, refer the product bulletin on the resource page of Structural Solar LLC’s website.

Structural Solar LLC designs and builds durable, economical and low maintenance “module-ready” solar carports and canopies. For more information on how the Structural Solar LLC can make a difference in your project, call or visit the website of the solar canopy company who will get the job done on time and within budget.