- What’s so special about your design?
We feel our design is unique, because of the gentle curve of the support holding up the panels. We have engineered the curve to be strong enough for the loads, while creating a graceful appearance. The materials we use are standard aluminum sections, however the size and thickness are proprietary, in that we have figured out the optimum strength to weight ratio for these sections.What also makes our brackets special is the quality of the TIG welds* done by certified welders on every bracket. If you have ever tried TIG welding you will appreciate how every weld has smooth consistent beads, like you would see on a custom-built bicycle frame. This is accomplished by many years of experience by our welders in a certified fabrication shop. The connection of the horizontal to vertical member at the top is welded all along the joint-a total of 5” of welded connection-overkill for the connection perhaps, but better safe than sorry.
Our brackets are made in Northern California, and qualify for “Buy American” jobs. They are hand welded, not produced by robots. Each is visually inspected for defects before shipping. They are warranted for the lifetime of the solar installation. If any material failure occurs in brackets installed at the proper spacing, the bracket will be replaced free of charge.
* TIG welding is a process where the weld is shielded by Argon gas as the Aluminum filler rod is fed into the arc.
- What is contained in the Engineering Documents?
Our structural engineering company has done an extensive computer analysis of the materials, joinery, and geometry of the Bracket. The 16-page document proving the strength of the design for wind conditions up to 140 MPH. and live loads up to 40 Lb’s sq/ft. The engineering is Unstamped.This document can be used by a licensed engineer for your state, to stamp your plans for a building permit submittal. Awnings are considered roof structures by building departments and are subject to the requirements that roof structures fall into. The engineer will have to review the calculations to understand the values of the bolt loading and design the specific connection to your structure. Local loading conditions, such as wind uplift & snow load at the site, must be considered by the on-site engineer.
- Can I see the engineering?
We provide the engineering with every order. If you would like to review the engineering before ordering, we can make that available to you for $150. We will deduct this from your order, at time of purchase.By purchasing the engineering separate from the actual brackets, it gives you time to make sure the brackets are going to work for your application before ordering the whole lot. The financial commitment is relatively small, while we are paid for our time assisting you getting your project through the building department. (Click to see a sample Engineering Document)
- What if I have greater than 40lbs/sq ft. snow load?
With greater than 40 pounds per square foot snow load (portrait) or 50 lbs (landscape), the straight armed bracket must be deployed. Loading exceeds the capacity of the curved support to withstand bending at the spacing indicated on the span tables.
- Do Your brackets work with frameless panels?
Yes. We drill brackets for frameless panels such as to the exact specifications of the manufacturer. For Lumos panels there is no charge. On other frameless panels there may be a fee for custom drilling. (Click to see Lumos examples)
- Can I use larger panels with your brackets, or do 2 rows of panels in landscape?
No, not without different engineering. For the larger (77” long) panels,
a larger bracket could be fabricated that would probably work fine, however this would not come with engineering or guarantee’s. With 2 rows of panels in landscape, the wind uplift is probably prohibitive. These large brackets would also be more expensive to ship. Best to limit your awning to 60 cell panels that are about 64” long.
- Can I use any solar panel?
Yes, as long as the panel is about 40” wide or less and about 65” long or less. However for Landscape applications, the racking runs the long direction of the panel. Certain module manufacturers do not warranty their products for running the racking in this direction. Check with the module manufacturer first.
For small landscape orientation projects, or single panel over a window, consider bottom mounting a module with two brackets each.
- What type of racking should I use to span between the Brackets?
The racking must be able to span the distance between brackets. Most racking manufacturer’s have span tables on their websites. Power-Structures likes ProSolar Racking for it’s simplicity and economy. It is a channel that can bolt directly to the Bracket, rather than using L-feet. However all major brands, such as UniRac, IronRidge, SnapNrack are compatible with our system.Our brackets come predrilled for 3/8” bolts to attach racking.It’s also possible to bottom mount modules directly to the brackets. Power-Structures will custom drill holes at specific locations as directed by the customer/ module specs.
- What sort of bolts attach the brackets to the structure?
For specific attachment methods, the installer must rely on the recommendations of their engineering professional. Particular attention must be paid to using anchors that will not corrode by electrolysis with aluminum.
- Stainless Steel anchors are recommended, with galvanized steel anchors perhaps being acceptable. NOT acceptable are “zinc covered steel” bolts that are commonly sold at hardware stores.
- In Wood Framing the most common bolts used are lag bolts
- In Masonry Construction the engineer may specify expansion or epoxy anchors
- In SIP (Structural Insulated Panels) the anchors would be through bolts in the space between framing members, lags into framing members.
The brackets are predrilled at 3 points along the vertical member. Additional anchors may be required as determined by the on-site structural engineer.
- What is the waterproofing on the penetrations into the building?
We recommend using a very good exterior polyurethane sealant in and around all penetrations. Some popular brands we have had success with are Sikaflex, Vulcum and PL.On beveled siding, it may be necessary to custom fabricate washers/shims to the bevel angle.
On very rough stucco, it may be necessary to remove high spots and or fill in low spots to get the brackets to sit plumb.
- Can I paint the brackets?
Painting the aluminum is not a recommended finish for the brackets. Powder-coating, which is a process of the pigment being electrically attracted and then baked in an oven is a much better, longer lasting finish.
- How far apart do the brackets need to be?
It’s determined by your loading. See span table
- What is the lead-time to receive brackets?
In -Stock orders under 12 brackets usually ship in 5 days
Orders over 12: 2-4 weeks
Custom orders: 6-8+ weeks
- How Much are they?
We don’t publish our prices on the internet. You can probably expect to spend 40 cents, and up to 75 cents per/watt on the brackets to hold up your awning. Each job is priced on an individual basis, based on the number of brackets involved, as there are economies of scale to filling an order. To get a quote, please use our Order Form. Remember to include your zip-code to get a shipping quote as well.
- Do you take credit cards?
Yes. We process credit card payments through PayPal. The fee’s will be split and 1.45% will be added to your invoice. If there is time on your job, your order can be paid with a check through the good old US mail, and you’ll save the charges.
- Do I pay in Advance?
Orders under $1000 are paid in full at the time of the order. Orders over $1000 are split in half, with a 50% deposit and 50% paid COD to the trucking company.
- Why can’t I just weld or bolt up my own brackets.
You can! Just don’t use our design or engineering. If you want to do it your-self, put together a triangle and get an engineer to stamp it! (not such an easy task as you shall see……)