Silverback Compared to Other Solar Racking Systems

When it comes to solar racking systems for commercial roofs, there are basically two categories: ballasted and penetrating. Silverback falls into the penetrating category, but with a twist. Our twist is that we actually know how to properly penetrate a roofing system without creating a leak. We like to refer to our system as integrating, rather than penetrating. For more information on that subject, please see our article titled Why Roof Penetrations Are Actually a Good Thing


Roof Attachments

Silverback Solar Rack Other Racking Systems  Ballasted Systems

Few mounting points.

Adjusts to roof pitch.

Accomodates any thickness of rooftop insulation.

RotoLockā„¢ feature creates rigid frame and reduces stress on the roof framing members.


Weaker connection requiring many more penetrations. 

Can't handle thick roof insulation.

Often mounted with a bracket or other hardware that is very difficult to make watertight.

Many ballasted systems still need attachments into the roof system at some interval.  

These penetrations are often done incorrectly resulting in chronic leaks. 


Effect on Roofing System

Silverback Solar Rack Other Racking Systems Ballasted Systems

Watertight roofing industry approved penetrations.

Developed by roofers with roofing in mind.

Works with all types of roof systems.

Small footprint allows water and debris to flow through.

Waterproofing left up to the installers to design on the fly often resulting in chronic leaks.

Relies on caulking and sealants, which leak over time.

Creates depressions in roof causing roofing to deteriorate.

Blocks water flow.

Relies on mastics and adhesives.

Prevents access for maintenance and repairs.


P.V. Array Efficiency

Silverback Solar Rack Other Racking Systems Ballasted Systems

Elevated frames allow air flow around PV panels making them more efficient.

Adjustable design allows installation at correct angles and pitch.

With a higher number of attachment points, placement options are limited, reducing the ability to set proper angles and achieve desired module count.

Low profile reduces air flow and lowers module efficiency.

Limited tilt angle lowers module efficiency.




Silverback Solar Rack Other Racking Systems Ballasted System

Roofing fully accessible for maintenance and repairs.

Racking and hardware fully accessible for maintenance and repairs.

Re-roofing can take place without removing system.

Requires more frams, reducing accessibility.

More frames and penetrations makes roof repairs and replacement more expensive.

Roof not accessible for maintenance, repairs.

Finding and repairing an emergency leak is almost impossible.  Very high cost!

Entire system must be removed for re-roofing.


Roof Usage

Silverback Solar Rack Other Racking Systems Ballasted Systems
Fewer frames and attachment pointes allow system to elevate over rooftop equipment resulting in higher density of usable space. Reduced density due to inability to span over most rooftop equipment. Can only be used on wide open roofs with no equipment or pipes in the way.



Silverback Solar Rack Other Racking Systems Ballasted System

Fewer frames equals less installation time.

Parts shipped in assemblies for fast installation. 

Simple tubular design with telescoping fittings allows for unlimited adjustment during installation.

Framing elements (tubing) pre-cut at factory to allow for roof pitch and slope.

Many nuts, bolts and hardware pieces to assemble and install.

Limited adjustability for roof pitch during installation.

Fairly easy to install with unskilled labor.

Handling many heavy ballast blocks is labor intensive.

Often times this is the cheapest installation, but it is never the best long term solution for the building, the roof system, and ultimately the owners return on investment.



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