How To Install S5! Solar Clamps
On A Metal Roof
The S-5-N Clamps
are a little tricky to install on a standing seam metal roof. Here’s a few tips to make the job go smoother.
S-5-N solar clamps
Installing a PV Solar system on a metal roof presents a few challenges. There are a few mounting systems that require you to drill holes through the metal. A better alternative is available from S5! – clamps that attach to the ribs between the metal panels that do not penetrate the roof. Here we are installing the clamps (S-5-N mini) on Taylor Metal Easy Lock Roofing.
Mark the Edges
Position the clamp in line with your string line and mark the top and bottom with a sharpie.
Adjust the Vise-Grip
Set your Vise-Grip locking pliers about 1/16″ smaller than the opening at the bottom of the clamp.
Crimp The Rib
Use the Vise-Grip to crimp the rib where the clamp will attach. Overshoot your layout lines by about 1/8″.
Fit The Clamp
You’ll notice that the clamp will not slide all the way down- it’s up about 1/4″ off the flat part of the metal roof. I’ve heard that some installers like to cut the tab off the bottom of the clamp to make the installation go faster. Do Not do this! When properly seated, the tab will help keep the clamp from rotating while you tighten the set screw.
Tap It In
A couple of swift whacks with a hammer will seat the clamp down onto the rib. Make sure the tab is engaged with the lip of the seam.
If you want to use an impact driver to tighten the set screw, it’s virtually impossible to get the bit into the set screw correctly because of the angle and lack of space between the roof and the screw.
Or Use A Ratchet
Even though it’s not as fast as using an impact driver, we find that using a ratchet actually works better. When you tighten the set screw, there is a tendency for the clamp to want to ride up the rib slightly, due to the angle of the rib.
Be sure to finish off with a torque wrench set to the recommended amount of torque. Here we’re tightening the set screws to 11 foot pounds.
The only drawback to using the S5! clamps is that you’ll need to install quite a few more than compared to installing lags into the rafters or trusses on a composition roof, but far superior to drilling holes in a metal roof.
Ready for the Rails
Ready to install the rails.
Ready for the Panels and Inverters
Ready to install the solar panels and inverters.
Ready to start producing electricity!
A Note About Safety
Safety is important. I can’t say it any better than my all-time favorite woodworker/ TV host, Norm Abram, so I’ll just leave you with his famous quote:
“Be sure to read, understand, and follow all the safety rules that come with your power tools. Knowing how to use your power tools properly will greatly reduce the risk of personal injury. And remember this: there is no more important safety rule than to wear these (Norm points to his glasses) — safety glasses.”
-Norm Abram, New Yankee Workshop