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US7592537: Method and apparatus for mounting photovoltaic modules

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Filing Information

Inventor(s) John Raymond West ·
Assignee(s) None listed in document.
Attorney/Agent(s) Larry D. Johnson ·
Primary Examiner Alexa D. Neckel ·
Assistant Examiner Miriam Berdichevsky ·
Application Number US11053524
Filing date 02/07/2005
Issue date 09/22/2009
Predicted expiration date 10/03/2026
Patent term adjustment 603
U.S. Classifications 136/251  ·
International Classifications H02N600  ·
Kind CodeB1
Related U.S. Application DataCROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
The present application claims the benefit of the filing date of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/542,463, filed 5 Feb. 2004, and U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/568,513, filed May 5, 2004.
23 Claims, 8 Drawings


Abstract

An interlocking photovoltaic module mounting system that provides a one piece, integrated photovoltaic module frame portion that is directly mountable to a support structure and interlocks with separate adjoining photovoltaic module frame portions. The apparatus includes a frame member for enclosing the perimeter of a photovoltaic module, having an inside surface and outside surface, with the inside surface including a recess for capture of the panel. The frame member outside surface includes at least one interlocking means for affixation to the complementary outside surface of an adjacent frame-member. The frame member includes a height-adjustable foot portion for supporting the frame member on a roof, so that adjacent frame members may be interlocked to form an array, and the foot portion may be adjusted to level the formed array on the roof.

Independent Claims | See all claims (23)

  1. 1. A photovoltaic module array comprising: a first frame member enclosing a single photovoltaic laminate, said first frame member having a plurality of side wall portions each having a top portion, bottom portion, inside surface, and outside surface, said inside surface including a recess for capture of said photovoltaic laminate, at least one of said side wall portions including at least one interlocking means comprising a female receiving portion integrated into said outside surface; a second frame member enclosing a single photovoltaic laminate, said second frame member having a plurality of side wall portions each having a top portion, bottom portion, inside surface, and outside surface, said inside surface including a recess for capture of said photovoltaic laminate, at least one of said side wall portions including at least one interlocking means comprising a female receiving portion integrated into said outside surface; and a discrete male coupling portion interlocking said first frame member female receiving portion and said second frame member female receiving portion, wherein said first frame member female receiving portion comprises an inside surface which positively engages an outside surface of said male coupling portion to resist a downward force on said second frame member.
  2. 9. A photovoltaic module array comprising: (a) a plurality of photovoltaic modules; and (b) a plurality of coupling members; wherein each photovoltaic module comprises an integral frame member enclosing a single photovoltaic laminate, said frame member having a plurality of side wall portions each having a top portion, bottom portion, inside surface, and outside surface, said inside surface including a recess for capture of said photovoltaic laminate, at least one of said side wall portions including at least one interlocking means comprising a female receiving portion integrated into said outside surface, each coupling member interlocking a first photovoltaic module and second photovoltaic module and comprising at least two male portions, a first male portion being inserted into the frame member female receiving portion of a first photovoltaic module, and a second male portion being inserted into the frame member female receiving portion of a second photovoltaic module, wherein said first photovoltaic module frame member female receiving portion comprises an inside surface which positively engages an outside surface of said male coupling portion to resist a downward force on said second photovoltaic module frame member.
  3. 15. A method for mounting photovoltaic modules to a roof structure, said method comprising the steps of: providing a first frame member enclosing a single photovoltaic laminate, the first frame member having a plurality of side wall portions each having a top portion, bottom portion, inside surface, and outside surface, the inside surface including a recess for capture of the photovoltaic laminate, and at least one of the side wall portions including at least one interlocking means comprising a female receiving portion integrated into the outside surface; providing a second frame member enclosing a single photovoltaic laminate, the second frame member having a plurality of side wall portions each having a top portion, bottom portion, inside surface, and outside surface, the inside surface including a recess for capture of the photovoltaic laminate, and at least one of the side wall portions including at least one interlocking means comprising a female receiving portion integrated into the outside surface; and inserting a discrete male coupling portion into the first frame member female receiving portion and the second frame member female receiving portion to interlock the first frame member and the second frame member in an array above the structure, wherein the first frame member female receiving portion comprises an inside surface which positively engages an outside surface of the male coupling portion to resist a downward force on the second frame member.
  4. 19. A photovoltaic module array comprising: a first frame member enclosing a single photovoltaic laminate, said first frame member having a plurality of side wall portions each having a top portion, bottom portion, inside surface, and outside surface, said inside surface including a recess for capture of said photovoltaic laminate, at least one of said side wall portions including at least one interlocking means comprising a female receiving portion integrated into said outside surface, wherein said female receiving portion only opens substantially perpendicularly relative to said side wall portion; a second frame member enclosing a single photovoltaic laminate, said second frame member having a plurality of side wall portions each having a top portion, bottom portion, inside surface, and outside surface, said inside surface including a recess for capture of said photovoltaic laminate, at least one of said side wall portions including at least one interlocking means comprising a female receiving portion integrated into said outside surface, wherein said female receiving portion only opens substantially perpendicularly relative to said side wall portion; and a discrete male coupling portion interlocking said first frame member female receiving portion and said second frame member female receiving portion, wherein said male coupling portion solely spans between immediately adjacent side wall portions in said photovoltaic module array.

References Cited

U.S. Patent Documents

Document NumberAssigneesInventorsIssue/Pub Date
US6634077* Affordable Building Systems Layfield Oct 2003
US20030201009* KANEKA CORPORATION Nakajima et al. Oct 2003

Foreign Patent Documents

Document NumberAssigneesInventorsIssue/Pub Date
JP57087561*NIPPON LIGHT METAL CO LTDJun 1982
JP08296311*SANYO ELECTRIC CO LTDNov 1996
JP10159284*SHARP CORPJun 1998
JP11222991*KYOCERA CORPAug 1999
JP2000345664*KANEGAFUCHI CHEM IND CO LTDDec 2000
* cited by examiner

Other Publications

T. Yamawaki, Exterior heat insulating structure for roof floor, Dec. 12, 2000, JPO, online translation.*
K. Yamada, Fixing structure of natural lighting body, Aug. 17, 1999, JPO online translation.*
Machine translation of JP10159284A.*
* cited by examiner

Referenced By

Document NumberAssigneeInventorsIssue/Pub Date
US7866098 Andalay Solar, Inc. Barry Cinnamon Jan 2011
US7900407 PVT Solar, Inc. Joshua Reed Plaisted Mar 2011
US7721492 PVT Solar, Inc. Joshua Reed Plaisted et al. May 2010
US7774998 SunPower Corporation Peter Aschenbrenner Aug 2010
US7780472 SunPower Corporation Carl J. Lenox Aug 2010
US7832157 Andalay Solar, Inc. Barry Cinnamon Nov 2010
US7847181 Architectural Glass and Aluminum Corporation, Inc. Joe Brescia Dec 2010
US7847185 Solon SE Sascha Oliver Schwarze Dec 2010
US7845128 Architectural Glass and Aluminum Corporation, Inc. Joe Brescia Dec 2010
US7845127 Architectural Glass and Aluminum Corporation, Inc. Joe Brescia Dec 2010
US7845126 Architectural Glass and Aluminum Corporation, Inc. Joe Brescia Dec 2010
US7857269 PVT Solar, Inc. Joshua Reed Plaisted et al. Dec 2010
US7856769 PVT Solar, Inc. Joshua Reed Plaisted et al. Dec 2010
US7987641 Andalay Solar, Inc. Barry Cinnamon Aug 2011
US8096842 Bal Seal Engineering, Inc. Daniel Poon et al. Jan 2012
USD649929 Solar Power, Inc. Eric Hafter et al. Dec 2011
US8109048 Zap Solar, Inc. John R. West et al. Feb 2012
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