*Solar Panel Clamps*
By: Warlord
15 April 2003

Severe weather season is upon us here in Sunny South Carolina, which of course brings on survival preps of it's own, more so when you have outside preps such as Solar Panels that must be secured against high winds.

After we got our racks in frames and mounted on the roof, we worried about wind getting under the racks and lifting the panels out and blowing them into the next county. Solar panels are a bit too expensive to donate to strangers by having the wind stick em through some guy's house window at high speed, so we needed to clamp them into the frames.

I know, the panels have holes to bolt them to the frames, but have you tried it? It's a major PITA. You have to mark the holes that are recessed under an aluminum lip, drill the matching holes in the frame racks, try to jockey a perfectly sized bolt into the recessed lip, hope the holes you drilled actually line up, etc, etc, etc, .. just trust me here.. it complicated.

Additionally, as soon as you get the hateful things mounted, they'll need to be moved or worked on which means struggling to UNDO everything you've done... like I said, major Pain In The Ass.

The solution was simple actually. The racks are mounted to the roof, the panels need to be easily accessible, so we just needed to make some quick clamps.

For our particular setup, I needed clamps with an opening a bit bigger than 1.5 inches. HMMmmm 2 inch box tubing sprang to mind (Mainly cause I have a lot of it, and when you have a hammer the whole world looks like a nail ;)

(2 inch box tubing worked for our rack clamps)

Cut off lengths of box tubing about 3 or 4 inches wide... Each length will make one clamp. You'll need two clamps for each panel (one on top, one on bottom)

As you cut off lengths of box tubing, have one of your slaves.. uhhh.. I mean, Children.. yeah, children... clean them up with a wire brush.

Next cut off one end of the box tubing and then drill a hole in one lip big enough to accept a bolt (Hex head bolts work best, but I didn't have any, Sooooo...)

OK.. shove a bolt through the hole you drilled, and put the nut on the INSIDE of the clamp as shown below.. hitting the nut with a tack-weld helps A LOT!

When these are done.. have one of your slaves.. crap.. Children, paint them with Rustoleum :)

Once the paint is dry, you simply stick two clamps on each panel in the rack.. get them tight enough to hold the panel down without the clamp falling off, but not so tight that you crush the Aluminum frame around the actual panels... Crushing the Aluminum or breaking the Lexan cover would be a bad thing.

Let the wind blow bud, yer done!

BTW, While yer on the roof, take a soft brush or broom up there and sweep the pollen off the panels ;)

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