International: Snow load

 

Donald Williams is responsible for International Sales at PVO International. We asked Donald a number of questions to gain insight into his work.

What kind of issues do you encounter regularly?

An issue we are constantly dealing with at the international level is snow load. In other words, how much weight from snow can a panel withstand. Of course, this issue is common in traditional cold weather countries like The Nordics (Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark). Now we are seeing concerns all over Europe. For example in Germany, The Baltics and Poland.

Can you tell us more about snow load?

It is important to pay attention to snow load as panel manufacturers warranty snow load under quite strict conditions. Also as panel sizes increase, the snow load usually decreases. This is a challenge especially in colder countries. The snowfall in these climate zones exceeds the standard acceptable snow load. We work directly with the panel manufacturer and the mounting system manufacturer to find solutions. Keeping costs low while quality stays high is important to us. These are issues we deal with all the time. Our manufacturer relationships are critical in these situations.

Can you give an example of a case?

Of course! For example, one of our Nordic partners was required by their client to use a specific panel for a project. The standard snow load was not sufficient for the project climate zone. I contacted the manufacturer and asked them to look deeper into the project.

The panel manufacturer thoroughly reviewed the project; including the project location, panel and mounting system specifications. With a minor modification to the mounting system the manufacturer approved the project. The manufacturer issued an approval certificate for the project which banks and insurance companies often require.

What about mounting materials and snow load?

In certain countries such as Sweden and Finland, specific mounting solutions are very important as there are many soft roofs in these countries. Some clients are concerned the weight of the PV system creates ‘pointload’ that could settle or even sink into the roof and cause a leak. We work together with a specific manufacturer to provide mounting materials that distribute the weight of the system over a wider area. This lowers the pointload and minimizes the risk of roof failure. Once again, these solutions need to be at a low cost. We support quality projects built safely, on time and under budget.

 

Would you like to know more about the specific brands in our assortment that offer solutions for snow loads and pointloads? Please contact us today. We are happy to help.