756 solar panels deck the roof of the Brink Recycling building in Kampen. Together, they generate 30,000kW every month, according to director Stefan Brink, who runs the company together with his parents. He installed the ClickFit mounting system for the solar panels on the roof. All by himself. “I’m pretty good with my hands and the system is very user-friendly, so it wasn’t much of a problem.”
Outside, on Brink Recycling’s yard overlooking the IJssel river, you will find high heaps of plastic waste in all the colors of the rainbow. Inside the building, there are rows of white big bags and blue shipping containers, full of plastic flakes ready to be reused. Turning the plastic waste into a reusable end product requires cleaning, grinding and drying processes, all of which cost energy. “To fill a single shipping container with plastic flakes, you need as much electricity as an average family uses in a whole year”, Brink shares. The sun is now beaming down on the solar panels installed on the Brink Recycling building, all 756 of them. Together, they generate energy savings of between 20 and 25%. “Sustainability is what we do, so I believe that our company should be green too”, Brink explains. That is why he ordered solar panels from Solar Nederland. His contact there recommended that he take a look at the Esdec EVO mounting system. “He was very enthusiastic about this system due to its user-friendliness. I had told him that I would be installing the mounting system myself, so that was a key aspect for me.”
Brink took to the roof himself and installed all the profiles in just one week. “I’m pretty good with my hands. Besides, there are very clear manuals on the Esdec website and the calculator can help you determine how to space the individual profiles, which was very useful”, Brink explains. The roof the Brink Recycling building is covered with sheet pile roofing. The mounting system for the solar panels was attuned specifically to this type of roofing. Each panel is ‘supported’ by four separate profiles, which are compatible with panels of various thicknesses. The distance between the grips on the profiles around the panels can be adjusted to match the thickness of the panel. To accommodate a thicker panel, you simply open the clamp a little further, increasing the distance between the two grips to fit the thicker panel. “Solar panels have a very long lifespan, So you will not have to worry about replacing them any time soon. When it is time to replace them, though, and you would like slightly thicker panels, that is not a problem. It’s a flexible system”, says Brink.
LESS MATERIAL, MORE SUSTAINABLE
As opposed to other systems, the EVO system is not based on long rails, which means that you will not have to drill into the sheet pile roofing as much. “Long rails have more attachment points. The EVO system is based on small profiles that are fixed in place with a few screws. Besides, the profiles located at the top of one solar panel also function as supports for the solar panel above it,” Brink explains, which means that you only need six profiles for two panels, rather than eight. Working with small profiles helps save time, because it means you will not have to drill as many screws into the roof. Moreover, it also saves on materials. “The profiles are smaller, which simply means that you use less aluminum – what the profiles are made of – and stainless steel – what the screws are made of. The fact that fewer resources are required to produce the smaller profiles makes them more sustainable. Brink has now also installed solar panels on his house. “I was at it anyway”, he shrugs. The house has a tiled roof, which means that a different system was needed to install the solar panels. “That system is also very user-friendly. I installed it all by myself”, he says enthusiastically