The PV Pod is a High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) vessel that is filled with water as a ballast and used to mount single Photo Voltaic modules to flat roof tops. Unlike other systems, it’s a flexible array of nodes that can fit any roof shape and tie together to create a distributed load that is also wind resistant.
The design for the PV Pod was inspired by other Polyethylene vessels such as water-filled road barricades, driveway basketball goal bases, and curbside dumpsters, all of which are made by the same roto-molding process. PV-Pod is fabricated in the Hill Country area near Burnett, TX.
The PV Pod allows for quick and safe installation by simply loading the roof with plastic tanks, mounting the panels, arranging the array, filling each tank with the specified amount of water ballast, and finally wiring the array together and into the building’s electrical grid.
Because there is one Pod for each panel, the layout is flexible. Adjusting the amount of water in each tank allows for the array to respond to different wind loads across a rooftop, and minimizes the weight that is added to the rooftop. Installation of each panel takes only minutes, and uses only a garden hose and a wrench.
The PV-Pod design is based on wind-tunnel testing and is verified by a professional engineer for wind zones of up to 120mph. The ergonomics of the resulting shape also allows PV-Pod to be comfortably carried over the shoulder by individuals or teams. In the design process, the product was carved into a U shape, reducing the surface area of the shell while optimizing aerodynamics and the volume (allowing more weight). Each PV-Pod has a dry-weight of 24 lbs and can be filled with 24 gallons of water for a distributed load of 11psf.
Most of the current systems for mounting solar panels involve aluminum “stick-built” racking, and concrete block ballast to counterweight the solar panels from high winds. Such systems are problematic due to the labor cost and complexity of assembly, the need for these “racks” to be contiguous in rows across the roof, and most importantly, the potential of the concrete ballast blocks to be dropped and damage the roof membrane.
Unlike other systems, PV-Pod allows for a safe and easy install with minimal roof-membrane risks with only a hollow body and water hoses.