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Solar Panel Kits and Products

Unirac Racking: The Complete Review

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Unirac manufactures high-quality racking equipment for both residential and commercial solar energy systems. Their racking is known for being well constructed and suitable for a number of site conditions, including challenging locations where snow or wind loads may be high. Engineering documentation is easily available through their website, which ensures speedy permit approval. While their web-based design tool makes it easy to generate a bill of materials for both DIY and professional installers. From construction to installation, Unirac may offer the racking solution you have been seeking for your next solar installation.

Unirac's SolarMount rails are the structural foundation for both of their residential and commercial racking equipment. The rails are available in light, standard and heavy construction, which rail you will need is dependent on the mounting application as well as the site conditions. Light rails are cost effective and work well for small and medium sized solar systems, where site conditions are light, meaning, below average wind speeds, snow load, etc. Standard rails are used in the majority of residential roof mount installations, like Light rails, they are affordable, but stronger and able to handle a higher load than the light rails. Heavy rails are most commonly used for ground mount installations, which typically call for a higher grade rail to meet county requirements. Heavy rails may also be used for roof mount installations when necessary.

DIY and professional installers can take advantage of Unirac's design platform, Ubuilder, to generate an accurate layout and bill of materials. The tool also provides clear indicators of module placement and allows for more versatile design completion than competing design platforms. The Ubuilder's learning curve ranges between beginner to intermediate depending on which tool is being used.

In this complete review of Unirac racking equipment, we will be looking at the following:

  • Unirac Roof Mount Solutions
  • Unirac Ground Mount Options
  • Designing a Unirac Solar Racking System
  • Unirac Pricing and Warranty
  • Solaris Recommendations

Unirac Roof Mount Solutions

Unirac is compatible with shingle, tile, flat and metal roofs through the utilization of their wide range of attachment point solutions in combination with their SolarMount rails. There are minor differences in cost across the various attachment points, however installation is largely the same and often require single tool installation across the various attachment point options. Unirac's kits provide complete attachment solutions no matter the roof type, diminishing the need for supplemental racking equipment like L-feet, wiring, lag bolts or attachment hardware.

See Here: Unirac SolarMount Brochure

See Here: Unirac Residential Attachments Brochure

Unirac FlashKit Pro

Composite shingle roof rack mounts are installed with the use of the Flashkit Pro , these flashings feature Unirac’s patented Shed & Seal technology, a waterproofing technology that provides protection against roof leaks. These flashings are recommended for solar systems that will be installed on an angled roof. The kits include everything you need for installation, the flashing, L-foot, lags and hardware. Unirac's racking system calls for about 20% fewer attachment points than other racking solutions, streamlining installation and decreasing the number of places you need to drill into your roof.

See Here: FlashKit Pro Brochure

Unirac Tile Replacement FlashingsTile roofs can use either replacement flashings or hooks for their attachment solution. Replacement flashings are available for Spanish, W-shaped and flat tile. In combination with their Universal Base, the tile replacements offer complete attachment solutions with a polished finish. The flashings are available in three colors to match your roof-top and utilize the same Shed & Seal technology to protect against roof leaks. Unirac's SolarHooks is compatible with both tile and stone coated steel roofs. The hooks feature PowerArch technology, which increases the strength of the attachments 60% more than competing tile hooks. These hooks are ideal for sites with extreme weather conditions such as high wind speeds or heavy snow load.

See Here: Unirac FlashKit TR Brochure

Unirac Ballast BaysFor flat roof mount solar systems, Unirac offers the RMDT, RM5 and RM10 series ballast bays .The RMDT series is an 8° dual tilt ballast solution that eliminates the need for wind deflectors and fire skirts, allowing for up to 33% more modules to be installed for commercial projects. The RM5 and RM10 series are more ideal for residential solutions, the mounts are designed at 5° and 10° angles. All Unirac’s ballast bays use optional perimeter and column spacers and allow for multiple block configurations which allows for more flexibility in design.

In addition to the above roof mount applications, Unirac’s SFM Infinity is a rail-less racking system that is compatible with composite shingle, and tile roofs. The rail-less design allows for a lower bill of materials (up to 40%) which saves on your initial investment and saves time during installation. Solar panels can be easily configured in mixed panel orientations to maximize space and increase energy production.

See Here: Unirac SFM Infinity Brochure

Unirac Ground Mount Options

Unirac offers two ground mount racking solutions: Ground Fixed Tilt (GFT) and the Unirac Large Array (ULA) series . As the name implies, the ULA series is ideal for large projects, most commonly large scale commercial and utility installations. The GFT series works for both lightweight and standard solar system demands and work across a wide range of environmental conditions. The system comes with 20° and 30° tilt options for systems between 2kW to multi-MW.

Unirac’s ground mounting solutions are pre-engineered on a regional basis, ensuring a smooth permitting process and quick approval with city planning offices and utility providers . Knitted hardware with integrated bonding and pre-assembled parts fast track the installation and provide stable, grounded structural support for your solar array.

See Here: Unirac Fixed Tilt Brochure

Designing a Unirac Solar Racking System

Unirac provides DIY homeowners and installers with a quick, easy and accurate tool to size out their solar energy racking system with Ubuilder. Ubuilder can be used to design both roof mount and ground mount systems and allows for custom configurations.

The tool allows you to design your project off of an aerial view of your roof or by entering the system configuration manually. Mapping a rooftop for solar with the draw shape tool can be difficult to get the hang of, however, it is very useful for complex projects with multiple roof faces. In addition, installers can import project details from Helioscope, a feature only compatible with Unirac's design tool.

Unirac's Ubuilder provides an accurate bill of materials, project details, engineering information and more, making racking design and system approval simple for installers and DIY homeowners alike. Of the available racking software solutions, the Ubuilder is the most useful for multi-faced roof mount systems, the draw tool allows the user to map multiple roof faces while the solar addition provides clear representations as to the quality of the placement of the modules. Other design tools are limited by their dimension based design technology in this regard.

Unirac Pricing and Warranty

Unirac's roof mount racking equipment is suitable for residential, commercial and utility scale solar energy installations. Unirac's focus on easy installation and lower bill of materials makes them a high quality option at a cost effective price point no matter the project size. Unirac's racking is backed by a 25 year warranty with additional warranties such as 5 year finish, depending on which series line is installed. These specialized warranty periods are useful to the end user and can provide additional incentives depending on the project requirements and site conditions.

The below table reflects the racking equipment needed for a 7.9kW solar energy system. The array was designed in a 2x10 configuration with twenty standard sized 72-cell modules on a composite shingle roof. Both kits include accessories such as wire management clamps, miroinverter/optimizer attachments, conduit mount and finishing pieces like rail end caps. The racking system totals are close, however, Unirac comes in a slightly lower price point - due in most part to their pre-assembled equipment and lower bill of materials.

Unirac Roof Mount
Unirac Racking
IronRidge Roof Mount
IronRidge Racking
Rails SM Standard 14' Rails x4
SM Standard 20'5" Rails x 4

XR100 17' Rails x8
Splice Kits Splice Bar Pro x 4
XR100 Splice x4
SM Pro Mid-Clamps x 36
SM Pro End-Clamps x 8
UFO Mid-Clamps x 44
UFO Stopper Sleeves x 8

Grounding Ilsco Grounding Lug x 2
XR Lug x 2
SM FlashKit Pro x 36
FF2 Flashings x 36
Bonding Attachments x 36
Accessories Rail Tray x 20
Micro./Opti. Attachments x 20
Conduit Mount x 5
Wire Clips x 2
End Caps x 1
Micro./Opti. Attachments x 20
Conduit Mount x 1

Sub Total $900.47 $1,030.74
Est. Shipping $160.00 $160.00
Avg. Total $1,060.40 $1,190.74

*Prices reflective of current pricing as of the posting of this article. Click on the item image to check current pricing. Does not include potential taxes and fees which may apply. Prospective system owners will also need a permit plan.

Unirac Ground MountMuch of Unirac's ground mount racking equipment is sold in large bundles, making them a a cost effective solution for large residential, commercial and utility scale applications. These bundle packs are best suited for 30kW and above. Unirac's ground mount includes all structural components from foundation to the racking mount. Other racking manufacturers, like IronRidge, only provide the racking mount, schedule 40 mounting pipe needs to be sourced elsewhere. If you are comparing the costs of installation between Unirac and other racking manufacturers, it is important to consider these additional materials.

Solaris Recommendations

Unirac racking equipment stands out from other racking in a few ways, the first is with through their careful selection of equipment packaging. Unirac's racking kits save in overall bill of materials cost and is priced out under many of their competitors. The second is through the versatility of their racking equipment, both roof multi-roof and small roof sites benefit from the ability to design at multiple angles. While other competitors may offer solutions for multi-angled racking, Unirac's design tool for challenging sites is more accurate and simple to utilize. The technology comes at a steeper learning curve than other design tools, but ultimately users can get more out of it.

Unirac's ground mount solution ideal for many sites as the foundation poles are a part of the overall unit, however, sourcing on ground mount systems may be difficult due to the size of the bundles that Unirac offers. We highly recommend Unirac ground mount racking equipment for commercial and utility scale solar energy projects. Installations can be simplified to two people in order to save on time and overall cost, ensuring you can move quickly to installation completion.

We recommend looking into Unirac's roof mount racking solutions as a racking option for both residential and commercial projects. The range of roof accommodations offered by Unirac makes them compatible with most roof types, and the simple construction is simple for beginners, which makes them a good option for DIY installers looking to complete their first solar energy system. Engineering documentation not only assists in permit approval, but knowledge of your racking equipment as well.

Overall, Unirac provides high-quality racking equipment for most solar panel installations. If you are interested in a Unirac racking system for your next solar project, we recommend looking at Unirac's design tool, or requesting a quote for your solar energy system.

See Here: IronRidge Racking: The Complete Guide

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