Steel Tubing in the Solar panel industry

Steel is widely used in the building, manufacturing, and construction of solar support structures. The use of steel tube, lip channel, open profile, and sheet metal has numerous advantages including structural integrity, the extended life span of pre-galvanized and 3CR12 material, and is 100% recyclable.

Steel tube and open profile are also highly customizable, allowing designers and structural engineers to design structures from various materials such as higher strength galv, reducing the overall weight of the structure allowing for more economical designs.

By manufacturing these structures out of steel tube and profile you can create sturdy structures for the panels to sit on which prevents the panels from being damaged. These steel structures are commonly designed using a torque steel tube allowing the solar panels to tilt and move in the direction of the sun, allowing for maximum exposure.

These solar steel mounting structures can be mounted in various places and locations such as rooftops, carports to even floating solar structures. Solar systems are usually intended to function for 20-25 years therefore the choice and the strength of the material is important, this is usually established by the predefined geographical location/environment in which the structures are going to be installed. Common material types used in solar include high strength pre-galvanized and 3CR12 steel tubes, open profile, and sheet metal.

Solar Panel mountings:

Solar panel mountings refer to how these solar panels are secured into place. Some various structures and designs allow for manufacturing flexibility and ultimately greater solar generation.

The steel used within the solar racking structures must be able to sustain climatic loads as they will be exposed to extreme weather conditions this is where Z275 Pre-galvanized tubing comes in, this tubing is coated in a layer of zinc that acts as a corrosion protective later ultimately protecting your tubing for the future. High tensile material is also often used as this material offers greater strength and saves on weight, therefore, reducing the overall net weight of the structures, this may be beneficial when you intend to install these structures on top of a rooftop, etc. High tensile steel also helps with high stress that may occur from possible gusts of wind etc.

  • Roof Mounted Racks - Thin gauge lightweight steel profiles to ensure that the roof structure can carry the weight
  • Ground Mounted Racks - A sturdy metal frame is constructed out of thick steel tubing to support the weight of the solar pane array. The ground-mounted structures are usually installed at a fixed angle and cemented into a permanent position.
  • Top-of-pole Mounted Racks - To protect the solar array mounting it to the top of a thick hollow steel pole is a great option. By Lifting the solar array off the ground you protect it from any low moving objects that may come into contact/collision with your panels. It is important to consider the wall thickness, as well as the tensile strength of the tubing chosen when constructing this structure as wind speeds, wind resistance, and tension stress, will play a critical role.
  • Side-of-pole Mounted Racks - Side of pole structures are manufactured to be strong and rigid. These steel structures are also specifically designed to have as few components as possible allowing for quick and easy assembly and installation. Side of pole mounts are usually designed to fit on steel tubing with on a 76mm -114.3mm OD
  • Tracking System Mounted Racks - This type of structure is usually manufactured from steel tubing with a thinner gauge. The steel tubing used in this complex design needs to be as ridged as well as light as possible for it to physically move on its axis to follow the sun's path across the sky ensuring that the solar array has optimal sun exposure throughout the day.

Common areas of use for various profiles:

  • Pillars - Thick gauge punched lip channels/ Square steel tube
  • Panel Supports - Lip Channels are usually pre-galvanized.
  • Rotational devise - Thick gauged long length square or rectangular steel tube used as torque tube.
  • Cross Section for pillar - supports smaller customized lip channels or galvanized steel tube