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Solar Installation, Mountview Supermaket

The construction of a new supermarket in Redbank Plains called for the installation of a 300kWp solar installation onto the roof. STS Structural worked closely with AGL to provide the structural assessment of the roof system in order to confirm the suitability to support the weight of the panels, and the extra uplift loads induced by the wind acting on the panels.
The design also included the support structure and canopy on the roof of the building to house the inverter station and associated electrical equipment.
A construction loading assessment was also carried out to provide the contractor a clear plan of which areas of the roof could be loaded with pallets of solar panels and pallets or rails so that the roof would not be over stressed.
STS Structural has provided such structural adequacy assessments for solar installations for both new and old buildings. We have assessed sites all over the east coast of Australia either remotely, using local contractors or installers to gather the necessary structural details, or in person for on-site structural advice on the proposed installation areas.
The main challenges faced on these projects is breaking the misconception that each installation is the same as the last. The extra mass of the solar panels, although it replaces the allowed ‘foot traffic’ loads, often combines with the wind load cases to produce a critical load case that would not have been considered by the roofing designers. Recent changes to AS/NZS1170.2 (Wind Code) also provides clarity of ‘under panel’ pressures to consider, which in some cases results in new wind pressures exceeding the design pressure on a roof without panels. Therefore it’s best to employ an experienced engineer to carry out the assessment and provide an engineering certificate on each project.

Solar Installer: AGL Australia, Sustainable Business Energy Solutions
Location: Redbank Plains, Queensland