Technology, Flexibility and Personalized ServiceFri, 02/01/2019 - 14:08
The abundance of PV manufacturers and installers on a global scale means differentiators are more important than ever. Manuel Sánchez, Director General of CSolar, says the way to stand out from the crowd is by treating each project as unique rather than providing the typical one-size-fitsall solution. “We elaborate a comprehensive study of the roof’s details and wind load bearing capacity, after which we provide a solidity certification to guarantee no problems will ensue after the installation,” he says.
One way to increase the accurancy of this process is through the use of specialized software that CSolar, which designs, manufactures and supplies support structures for PV facilities, has developed. “Our Fluent software generates a variety of simulations in fluid dynamics applied to solar panels to fill the gap in wind load factor calculations for roofmounted structures,” explains Oscar Montenegro, Argentina General Manager of CSolar. “With it, we can analyze wind loads affecting both the solar panels and the base structure and design the best-adapted PV system for it.”
The Barcelona-based company believes attention to detail is paramount. “Our engineering and architecture department is solely focused on the delicate issue of placing roof-mounted structures,” explains Montenegro. He says this expertise means the engineers can easily address any doubts customers have. “Often, facility owners raise concerns that their activities will be disrupted while the installation is ongoing or worry about possible water filtration during the work.” In response, CSolar schedules recurrent site visits and follows-up on the PV system’s performance once the installation is concluded.
Montenegro says the strong competition also requires companies to be flexible and willing to innovate. “We continuously think of ways to lower a structure’s costs, optimize the use of materials and profiles, decrease mounting times and use as few tools as possible for the mounting process,” he says. “Our R&D department works around the clock based on our clients’ feedback.” Sánchez adds that CSolar looks at every aspect of a project from improvements to its design portfolio and mounting methods, to evaluation of new materials, incorporation of new aluminum alloys that can better resist long-term weather effects and development of new functional shapes and figures adaptable to any and every roof. “Our structures are adaptable to any panel available in the market. For the more uncommon, thin-layered panels, we are capable of developing a tailored mounting structure within two to three weeks that complies with the manufacturer’s warranties over the panel’s lifetime,” says Sánchez.
In 2012, CSolar patented a mounted module that does not need to be anchored to the floor nor to the roof. It is a selfsupported system that works with a light concrete ballast, ideal for nondrillable roofs. It includes wind baffling plates on the back, preventing wind suction and mitigating wind load factors. “We expect it to become our star product Mexico’s given the extensive number of flat roof surfaces available,” Sánchez explains.
The Spanish PV company has had its sights set on Mexico from the very beginning, even when initially developing the company. Now employing 50 professionals, CSolar jumped at the opportunity to internationalize, starting in Chile and Argentina. Cementing its South American foothold, CSolar inaugurated the operation of a PV support structure manufacturing plant in Mendoza, Argentina. It will be the focal distribution point for the region. The decision was made to provide improved delivery times to the final client and capitalizing on the trade benefits of MERCOSUR. “As UNEF members, we continuously received market intelligence about business opportunities in Latin America. With Chile’s favorable policies toward renewables and its trade agreements with the EU, we decided to start there,” explains Sánchez. CSolar has a fully-fledged subsidiary operating in Chile. For Mexico, the company opted for a different approach and is looking to close a strategic local partnership. “To create brand awareness, we are looking for a local distributor with a developed and sturdy distribution chain and an efficient logistics network that extends nationwide,” Sánchez says.