Solar PV Racking: Structural Engineering for Non-Engineers

A #SolarMOOC Lecture with Jean Arya

Designing for Strong Code-Compliant Systems 


View and Download Jean Arya’s slides here: Solar PV Racking

The lecture given on Thursday by Jean Arya, Technical Support Specialist at UNIRAC, was informative and entertaining. Jean’s sense of humor was much appreciated, as well as her professionalism and knowledge of the subject of racking.  And I must say- her lovely accent was music to the ears.

Jean was kind to share a multitude of resources for those pursuing a greater understanding of one of the most important, but perhaps to often under-discussed subject of racking and it’s structural engineering element.

A few questions that were answered include:

When do we not need to physically attach racking in seismic zones?

Are live loads excluded in Racking engineering calculations?

Is there any equipment or device that can accurately detect rafters under shingled or tiled roofs?

Why not create a wind berm to mitigate the wind on a reverse tilt design?

If a building roof with parapet walls is not perfectly south, should you install modules parallel to the wall or South?

For answers to these questions and many more, check out the lecture recording above that we have shared through YouTube.

Thank you, Jean Arya! And thank you UNIRAC!

Further resources on PV Racking for the avid #SolarMOOC student:

SolarMount Code Compliant manual– the first 13 pages of this document from UNIRAC runs through ASCE 7-05’s Simplified Method I for flush mounted modules: Click here to view

Acceptance Criteria 428 from the ICC (International Code Council)

Preventing PV Racking Failures– a Solar Industry Magazine article by Senior Director of Engineering, Juan Suarez (April 2012, Page 1)

A Racking Tutorial: Four Common Mistakes For Rooftop PV Systems– a second Solar Industry Magazine article by Senior Director of Engineering, Juan Suarez (January 2012, page 20)

If you would like to contact Jean Arya directly, email her at


There was also another great #SolarMOOC lecture of Solar Roof Mounting Methods by Johan Alfsen of QuickMountPV:

Installing Mechanical Components, #SolarMOOC Lecture, March, 2012



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