Best Practices in Solar Pole Mount Design

Maximize the efficiency of your solar pole mount design with key factors and best practices.

Led by Jamie Blum, an experienced Applications Engineer at MT Solar. This webinar is a must-attend for anyone looking to design solar pole mounts that meet engineering standards. Gain valuable insights into the factors that impact racking, foundation, engineering, and costs. Learn effective tips that can help you move past the engineering phase with ease. You'll also have the opportunity to improve your proficiency using MT Solar's AutoDesigner software. Don't miss this chance to enhance your solar pole mount design skills and take your projects to the next level.

Key Highlights

• Solar mounting structures and their benefits. 1:36
• Solar panel design factors, including tilt, wind exposure, and more. 3:55
• Solar expertise, passion, and configurators. 12:56
• Solar panel mounting system design tool. 15:30
• ECommerce and manufacturing transformation. 17:58
• Solar panel ground clearance and its impact on value. 21:28
• Dual axis solar tracking technology and cost-benefit analysis. 25:27
• Solar panel technology and permitting requirements. 27:40
• Pole mount systems and design flaws. 30:54
• Repairing solar panels with a team. 36:24
• Solar panel installation efficiency and safety. 38:26
• Solar panel innovation and customer success. 40:33
• Improving solar panel installation experience. 44:25
• Solar panel design and manufacturing. 46:31


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Curt Anderson 00:05

Happy Wednesday. Hey Nicole Donnelly. Happy Wednesday. How are you my friend?

Nicole Donnelly 00:09

Curt Anderson Happy Wednesday,

Curt Anderson 00:11

man. I like it better when you and I are in person we got to spend last week in person but I'll take virtual that you know it's better than nothing so, man um, were you able to sleep last night? Like how excited are you for this little jam session today? Is this is this is gonna be Rohit? Can you feel the heat? Like can you feel like like we're talking solar? Can you feel the heat coming on already?

Nicole Donnelly 00:34

For sure we've got some major powerhouses on the show today, I've had the wonderful, it's been so wonderful to work with these two wonderful people over the last several months. So this is going to be a great conversation, so much value for any installers out there who are really looking to design the best systems for their customers possible and avoid some of the biggest issues. So I can't wait to talk with Mike Henderson and Jamie at MT Solar and dive into this amazing topic. Thanks for being with us guys.

Curt Anderson 01:07

Let's dive in. So Mike unite, we go back aways dude. Like in COVID time, it's like dog years, like we go back like like decades, right? I think you and I met in like 2020 2021 ish or so. And so we came together, I was working doing some work with different MEPs we got together at a Webinar Jam Session. And so you are a fierce marketer at Mt. Solar. Mike Henderson, can you please explain to the folks who and what is empty solar? How do you guys make the world a better place?

Mike Henderson 01:36

Okay, yeah, well, thank you carry out has been really do enjoy being on your show. And I like being in the audience and just listening to you guys. I've learned a lot over the years. So thanks for having us. I guess empty solar for those uninitiated. You know, I think there are probably some people here today that know who we are, but I can kind of back it out and give a good overview. We're a USA based manufacturer, we're in the solar industry. And we manufacture a specific type of mounting structure for solar arrays and they go on the ground and they use a pole to to raise them up off of the ground. And that's really really the the benefit and kind of the Golden empty solar is that we're moving solar arrays up off of the ground where you can, you can still use the ground beneath your with your neath your solar is which kind of differentiates us from other ground mount may solar. It's kind of sticks lower to the ground. So you get benefits of shedding off snow, you can have animals graze underneath them, you you can put a picnic table we've had some that are next to pools are like a pool shade deck, you can park cars and so forth. So what we're doing is we're trying to give solar good name by like getting the getting the solar up on the ground and making the ground underneath is still usable. And then we prefer to work with solar installers directly, people that are really close to the project, because each each structure that we manufacture is really made for that specific site and the conditions that happen in that area. And Jamie's going to go over some of the details as to how we, how we we take a look at those those factors and design something that's perfect for the site. It's not overbuilt, it kind of just fits into what they need for their customer and or if they're the owner, so they can pass something on to their customer. That's, that's, you know, they can be proud of. Well,

Curt Anderson 03:33

that's perfect. So Nicole, I know, man, we've got some really deep dive questions. And so you know, for folks, you know, you can't go anywhere without seeing solar. It's great energy efficiency. Jamie, just before we dig into a lot of these juicy questions that we have lined up, share a little bit about like your How do you make the world a better place your role, MT Solar, what's going on in your world?

Jamie Blum 03:55

MT Solar, I do a lot of the designs. I act as a liaison and a friend for the customer. And try to make sure that they're getting the best product that fits their needs. And trying to do it all in a timely fashion and getting their projects going.

Curt Anderson 04:15

Love it. All right, let's I Nicole sleeves are rolled up. Let's dive right in. I know we've got some great. Yes, we are. We're let's let's make it happen.

Nicole Donnelly 04:25

So we're talking all about design today. And so to just kind of kick off our conversation for listeners and those folks out there that are doing these projects ongoing. What are the top factors that need to be considered when you're designing a ground mount solar system?

Jamie Blum 04:49

I would say probably the top factors would be your tilt at any time of year. Site specifications like your wind exposure, how far you need it up off The ground, the modules you're using, and how many?

Nicole Donnelly 05:08

Awesome, I'm excited to talk about all of these wonderful factors today. So let's dive into that. Let's first start with tilt. Jamie. So when, when you're looking at the tilt of the arrays, how does this affect snow and wind loading in your in your in your project design? What should What should people be thinking about that when it comes to tilt?

Jamie Blum 05:30

Well, people should be ultimately thinking about production at any time of the year. So the sun is often lower is always lower in the winter. So your tilt is always going to be steeper for your best production and vice versa for the summer. So you also want to be thinking at that point, you know, what's going to shed your snow the best, we're talking about lateral loading, and then top downloading as well. So you're really going to want to design for that best for your area. So when we're talking about like high snow areas, you want to make sure that you've got a nice steep tilt. When doing so you're kind of reducing that double load factor from the top and the side. So you want to kind of design for that your controlling load is right there at that area. And that's going to keep your costs down as well, because you're not going to be over building that rack.

Nicole Donnelly 06:29

Very good now, so if I'm an installer, how do I know and figure out what is the right tilt based on my snow and wind loads,

Jamie Blum 06:37

you're gonna want to go off of your latitude. So anytime it's winter, you're usually gonna go about 15 degrees higher than your latitude, and the opposite for the snow are for the summer. So 15 degrees lower. And that's going to be the best production, it's also going to be the best snow shedding to reduce those loads.

Nicole Donnelly 06:57

Very good. And I imagine the tilt will need to change, how easy is it to change the tilt? When the seasons change? Like, what does that process look like?

Jamie Blum 07:08

It's very easy, there is a manual handle that you will just crank. And what that does is it just adjust that tilt. If you have a multi pole, it's a little bit more difficult, but not not terribly you have a friend there who can do one pole with you. Or you can just do about five cranks on each pole first at the first pole, then go to the next one, do five cranks. So you can do it all by yourself. Or if you have a partner, it's gonna be even easier.

Nicole Donnelly 07:39

We love having a partner right always makes everything easier.

Curt Anderson 07:45

makes everything easier. Nikolas. And hey, for those of us that live in the snow belt in New York, like this is a great conversation to have, because like, you know, we get tons of snow. So these are great tips. Jamie, how can I go rogue for a second here? And Nicole? Like how about, you know, so we're talking about talking about snow? What about like, Phoenix? What about the real hot weather areas?

Jamie Blum 08:07

So Phoenix is closer to the equator. So you're gonna have a shallower tilt anyway, so snows not so much concern down there. And you're also not really needing to have that steep tilt for that better production. So it's kind of a win win.

Curt Anderson 08:25

Nice. Awesome. Thank you. I was just curious for the other folks in the hot area. So take it away, Nicole. That's great.

Nicole Donnelly 08:33

Let's talk about wind a little bit, you know, I imagine depending on the location of where your project is going to be installed, wind exposure really can make a big difference in terms of how you're designing your system. So how does if I you know, if I'm an installer, and I'm trying to figure out what the winds look going to be like, how do I figure out what exposure what the categories are? You start there, and then how does that affect design?

Jamie Blum 09:00

Yeah, so there's three categories. When it comes to engineering, there's B, which is sheltered. So that's like trees or buildings that are like, you know, 20 to 30 feet tall, that are near in the area that I think the code says like within 1500 feet. C would be open so that is you know, on like a Plains area. And then D would be like coastline with water, or big lakes or anything like that. So you really want to design for the correct wind exposure. Say you're designing at sea when you're actually in a B area. You're really going to be beefing that rack up more than you need to. So you really want to get that right. So that you're getting what you want but not overpaying for something you don't need.

Nicole Donnelly 09:56

I love it. Like I can follow the alphabet ABCD for categories that makes it really easy, right? So very nice. And there's no overlap there. So it sounds like it's pretty straightforward, pretty cut and dry. Like, it doesn't matter where you're located longitudinally, longitudinally, as long as you're within those

Jamie Blum 10:17

categories. In your immediate area. They're very nice.

Nicole Donnelly 10:21

Okay, that's awesome. And next question is, when you're designing that you're pulling out system, do you need the actual modules and dimensions of the solar arrays that are being used in order to design a system? How does that work? Do? Do you need to figure out your pole mount system? First, you have your race first, what's the order of operations? And how do you kind of factor that all in?

Jamie Blum 10:47

Now, it's very, very important that you get the correct dimensions. Solar modules, or solar panels come in a wide variety of sizes, you know, anywhere from like 50, all the way up to like 96, I think is the biggest one I've seen. So really want to get the accurate dimensions on that that way the rack is built, in able to, it's able to support the entire array itself. modules have a certain limit for their overhang before they kind of get too heavy on one side. So you want to make sure that you you reduce that, make sure that it's the proper size. And also you want to make sure you get the right rail links.

Nicole Donnelly 11:35

Very good. Very good. And what are your thoughts on the orientation of the arrays? I understand that there can be a landscape orientation versus portrait orientation. Are all of the modules that you guys support in landscape orientation? Or how does that work?

Jamie Blum 11:56

All of those are in landscape. Yes. And the reason for that is, most of them are not rated for the span between our IBM's it's quite long. So even if they are, it can be kind of difficult to to make that fit well. So landscape is optimal with our mounts.

Nicole Donnelly 12:15

Okay. Is there ever a an application where the other orientation would be better?

Jamie Blum 12:26

I don't see an advantage really. If you could make it fit, and if it is rated for that span? Absolutely. You can make it happen. But I don't. I don't really see an advantage either way.

Nicole Donnelly 12:42

Okay, that's fine perspective, as far as far as production goes, either works just fine. And landscaping in that case would be a great option. Okay. Very good. Awesome.

Curt Anderson 12:56

Hey, Nicole, I have a question. So Jamie, I am just so impressed with your expertise, your passion, and what's great when you open it up. And so you know, somebody's touching it. They're like, you know, boy, we're really geeking out into like, you know, solar solutions. But this can be representative for any manufacturer listening that you know, like, hey, we want to do we want to do business with you. You're showing your you're passionate you your empathy, how you care for your clients. How did you become such an expert? Like, how did you, you know, as a little girl, where you're like, hey, I want to grow up and be a solar expert. Like, how did you bring your superpowers? Like, this is so impressive. Can you just share, like, how did you derive such a passion for solar and going this direction with your career?

Jamie Blum 13:38

Well, I definitely didn't think I was going to do this as a little girl. I am a nature lover. So I've always been a big fan of renewables, keeping things pristine, I love to hike and camp and do all the things outside. So if we could keep it that way, a little bit longer. And for future that's great. I also work for an awesome team. Our company is really great. Our leaders are really great. So it makes it easy.

Curt Anderson 14:13

It makes it high to call that might have been a job for Mike Can we can we Dyken Can we go into we're talking design it would this be a good opportunity? Could we slide into our little configurator conversation? Is this a good opportunity now for that is that we're getting a thumbs up. Okay. Michael, let's pull you into stage. So we you, Nicole, did you Mike's a repeat offender on the program, by the way, Mike. So it's just you know, might need to find new friends. I'm just teasing. So Mike was on the show with Travis and man, you guys lit up. You talked about having this the chat box was on fire. We were talking about the configurator you went through a full demo. Now when I say the word configurator. Guys, if that's new to anybody out there, just you know as a manufacturer out there, or really any space that you're in what your solution is As you're telling from Jamie and from Mike, they are dedicated to that customer experience just really hitting the ball out of the park with us. configurator is folks can land on the website and create a product. So say, whatever product you're making somebody could come on and create that product. Mike, you guys have hands down when the most sophisticated configurators I've ever witnessed you ran through a full demo. Can you just share with folks a little bit on the background? And what when they land on MT solar? What's that experience look like for that?

Mike Henderson 15:30

Yeah, okay. Well, I'll give you just like a little historical context that, you know, in the back in the good old days, we had a table, you could look up kind of what your needs were for your solar array when you're planning it, and the industry made standard sizes, and solar modules, and so forth. But what happened, the industry really threw us a curveball. And all these module manufacturers started producing wild sizes, and everything went a little crazy for us. And we wanted to give our customers a better way to really design a mount that, you know, fits their situation. And so we went on some deep dives, to building a configurator. And how to do this. And we've luckily found some great talent. And so are we built as a system that takes all the inputs for the site conditions into account, that includes the module sizes, and how much power they want to generate, and the things that Jamie is talking about wind and snow and so forth. And you put all those into our configurator. And then it pulls it does a live query of all those conditions at the site based on the location. And so what we're doing, we call it pre engineering, it tests for all those forces on on our mounts, and then it kind of slowly starts at the smallest duty class, kind of the the latest one, which is, you know, the least expensive, and then it kind of starts to work its way up in the testing to get us to where where it fits what they need, and then it stops without overbuilding it. So we can, we can try to keep the the prices, you know, efficient for the for the customer, so they don't have to over build it. But it still fits what they need at their site. And so yeah, the configurator is has some pretty neat technology built into it with queering engineering codes from around the country and, and some of that sort of stuff. So and we really, we just launched it this year, earlier this year. And that's when we were on the show talking about it, and getting into our customers hands and trying to figure out what they need and how we can improve it and, and so forth. And Jamie's here. We've learned a lot since then. And Jamie's here to provide some ideas as to how to how to think about things when you're using the tool and how to get your designs. And you know that there's so many options, really. And it's awesome that you can do whatever you want with the tool. But that many options also becomes a problem if you don't know what to do with it. So that's why we're here talking about some best practices.

Nicole Donnelly 17:58

Yeah, I have to say I just love your whole approach to how you've been able to marry eCommerce, with manufacturing and with the sales team. And really positioning your sales team as these high level consultants who are there to help support while also creating an amazing digital self serve experience for your customers, where they can self select and get all of their questions answered through the website before even talking to your sales team. And that is just I think just the goldmine for manufacturers out there have a solution a transformation and E commerce transformation that can really work for some of these complex, you know, products that that people are making, like pole mount solar. So I just commend you, because I think this is just, this is the path forward for so many manufacturers who manufacture custom products is, you know, really elevating the reps to be more of those consultants and allowing the e commerce Store to serve as like the sales admin providing that support early on. So kudos to you guys for building that out. It's exciting.

Mike Henderson 19:03

Yeah, thanks. We want our customers to be able to self serve, you know, whatever, time they have to jump into this and then maybe they need to get a bid to their customer in the next hour. And if they can hop on and do it and get that together, then that's great. But you know, so we're also here to help them and, and provide advice and so if we can be involved in their project and be close to it, you know, we're more than happy to do that, too.


Very good.

Curt Anderson 19:28

That's fantastic. Nicole, we've got a couple of questions in the chat box. If Is this a good time to dig into those real quick?

Nicole Donnelly 19:35

Let's do it. Yeah, looks like we got one from Paul Dersch ska to empty. This designer is a remarkable tool to visualize and maximize the available area to implement a PV array. I recently discovered that the sky sieve software has a steel base plate designer as I'm not an engineer, is there a way to get the modeling software to offer a base plate alternative to the concrete foundation design? Why Ah, that's a that is a really meaty question. Jamie, Mike, what do you think?

Jamie Blum 20:08

I think there might be in the future. At this time, we don't have anything to address it. Most base plate designs do require, like a stamped engineering process. So that's a little bit more difficult to kind of just automate there. I'm sure Travis has been thinking about it, as he is always throwing around these ideas. But right now, we don't have anything to offer that unfortunately.

Mike Henderson 20:36

Yeah. And just to add to that, like the, we tried to set up the system so that once the design is kicks through our skies of software, we can immediately support the customer in the permitting process. And so part of the limitation that we don't have the base plate yet is that we found engineers that are willing to work with us in all 50 states, and take what we put out of our system and stamp it for them, so that they can get the local permitting. So the base plate design is still possible. But the permitting and engineering is a little more complicated, and we don't have the efficiency to push that through as quickly for our customer. But yeah, so that's kind of where we are, but we have looked at it. And we have used base plates on our system in the past. And right now we're kind of going with what does the most for most of our customers? Great,

Curt Anderson 21:28

great answer. We've got another question coming in and not sure who it's from. But how about rails are all rail manufacturer rails? Okay, what do we think of that question?

Jamie Blum 21:41

All manufacturers, possibly not all types. So you can't use like a lighter duty rail like a roof rail that just doesn't support the spans with our IBM's. So you have to use a heavy duty rail. For that, we do work with Tamarack. They've made a custom extruded rail for our mounts specifically that spliced together so they have a little bit more structural stability. So we prefer those, but you are welcome to use another kind of heavy duty rail if that's something that you prefer. Awesome, man.

Curt Anderson 22:20

I teach it. Jamie is so impressive. And by the way, how about Larry Happy Wednesday to my friends. So Jamie, I know you're very modest, very humble. Plug your ears close your eyes. But look at this comment here and your call. We can. Jamie you might want to put this one in your fridge when you get home tonight, right? And preschooler has been a fabulous partner to work with Jamie has consistently been a great resource sharp knowledgeable stays on top of my projects. Great to change the tilt at will. These guys are capital G R E A T to work with. So how about another job to migrate there. And it just you guys are just getting a great sense of just the passion, enthusiasm and the expertise that these guys bring in. Boy, if you if you want to catch Travis on our last episode, you're just as equally on fire. So Nicole, let's get back to our questions and get rollin for everybody here.

Nicole Donnelly 23:12

Let's dig in. Let's get technical. Let's do it. So the next question I have we talked about till we talked about wind exposure and how that impacts design. We talked about the the ABCDE wind exposure categories super, super helpful for someone like me who loves, you know, simplicity. So we talked about the modules and dimensions. So the next question is all about ground clearance. So as you're thinking about Grant ground clearance for your project, how does that affect the overall value of an array?

Jamie Blum 23:46

Well, it really depends on how you're going to be using your ground mount. Where we kind of shine is with our ground clearance. It allows you to use the area below the mount, whether it be a shading, structure, patio, parking, anything like that. If you're in a difficult area to install, such as a sloped area, having that additional ground clearance can really help them out there. You know if your H J has any rules against low exposed wires, that prevents you from needing to put a fence up also protects you from vandalism, livestock, wildlife, anything like that. So and then snow, any snow on the ground. So if you're up here in Montana, and you've got a couple feet, you're able to kind of clear that and then avoid getting damage on your on your modules. So it's really all about how you're using your RAC and what your requirements are. They're

Nicole Donnelly 24:53

very good to know. And it's just truly remarkable to think about all of like the dual use cases for Poland. about solar that you can use. Like, it's I've seen some really wonderful examples. And I know you guys have some on your website of, you know, carport structures, even shading structures for pools in your backyard. And I just think that's so amazing that these can be dual use in so many different ways for agriculture for, you know, agravic tax, as you guys have talked about before, too, so that's really, really cool. Got a couple more questions, Kurt. Man,

Curt Anderson 25:27

up here. So we've got Darren bishop in the house, Darren, Happy Wednesday to you, my friend, any dual access tracking tracking options in the works. And hey, look at this dude who's popped in here, Travis, Happy Wednesday to you, brother. So we gotta go. We gotta get Travis back on. But dual access is really expensive to manufacture. And the cost benefit, rarely ever justified in my humble opinion. And he also says panel prices have dropped so much over the years. What I think I missed one right here, I wanted this one. We have an awesome patent on dual axis but so far does not make sense from what I can pencil. And lastly, Travis says panel prices have dropped so much over the years that it seems to make more sense in evey. I was my grandfather had expression, if it makes sense. Sen. Se, it might make sense as CNTs. Travis, there, it might make more sense, just to put more of them. Jamie, anything that you want to add to this little conversation that we have going in the chat box?

Jamie Blum 26:30

Travis pretty much hit it on the head there.

Mike Henderson 26:36

Dude, yeah, very exciting. And it's pretty neat technology. But you know, I think we what we found is that if it moves, needs maintenance, or it might break, you probably better off putting a little more of that money instead of a tracker into some panels because the prices in in modules have dropped. So when you're talking about, you know, put output and so forth, you know, that's probably where I put my money is in a few more modules.

Curt Anderson 27:05

Yeah, that's fantastic. And I know, Jamie, throughout the program so far, you know, you're sharing how like you're very cost conscious, you guys are focused on efficiency, you're focused on just really maximizing that value. You know, it's a big investment for folks taking this plunge. It's just great. Having a trusted partner like yourselves, we're like, you know, I know, you have our back. And you know, you guys are doing all the due diligence, all the homework, Travis is like rolling up his sleeves, you know, exploring everything. You guys even have patents on some of these products, you know, products. And so it's just great having that trusted value partner. Nicole, what else is on our list here as we're rolling along?

Nicole Donnelly 27:40

Yeah, man, we just more more to come. Right. So the next big question, and I'm sure this is one that you guys get a lot is permitting right was so many different permitting requirements, depending on your local jurisdiction, you know, state like I can only imagine, if I'm a solar installer, that can feel really overwhelming just trying to navigate that whole process, and making sure from a property perspective that I'm designing the system, and the best way that's going to meet those regulations and all of that. So let's talk a little bit about that. Jamie, could you just share a little bit about how what kind of information MT Solar provides through this process to help get past the local permitting?

Jamie Blum 28:20

Well, our design tool is, as we've said, pretty top notch. So that comes out with a 37 page report, it's full of calculations that most of us don't want to take a look at. But if you do need to get permitting or engineering, or anything of that sort, you can take that entire packet straight to them. It's got all the information right there for them. So it should make that process a little bit easier, and streamlined and better for you all the way around to get things rolling.

Nicole Donnelly 28:55

And the beautiful part about that is is just goes back to that digital self selection process where within within minutes of specking out your specific dimensions of what you need, you have access to that full packet of engineering drawings and information that you can take. So it just streamlines and create some efficiencies for the installers to get that information as quickly as possible, rather than having to get on the phone or wait for it to come by email, etc. So I think that's remarkable. Very good.

Curt Anderson 29:27

Another question here, Nicole and I and Mike mentioned that earlier, just you know, for any manufacturer catching us, you know, just dedicating yourself to that digital self serve. How can you just really focus on the customer providing those solutions, making it helpful on your website? Question here, Mike and Jamie and again, I see Travis job to know better to use bifacial panels and Travis chimes in Yes. My facial are great and an open high clearance Pole mounts definitely a win win. Mike Jamie anything that you want to contribute to that conversation?

Jamie Blum 30:00

Yeah, you can definitely get some better production using a bifacial. Especially with that high ground clearance as Travis mentioned, also, you can put, you know, in certain situations, you can put something down on the ground that will reflect it back, reflect the light back to towards it, and that can increase your production as well.

Curt Anderson 30:21

Awesome. Mike, anything that you want to add?

Mike Henderson 30:24

Um, I think Jamie's got it covered.

Curt Anderson 30:26

Jamie got it covered. She only Jamie said, man, what's life? Without Jamie? Right. So, Nicole, let's keep it rolling. What's next on our docket?

Nicole Donnelly 30:35

Yeah, this bifacial is really interesting. It seems like is this kind of like the newest and latest technology when it comes to solar arrays? Are you seeing that more and more projects are going in this direction? Like what do you see looking forward when it comes to bifacial arrays and the future of solar?

Jamie Blum 30:54

I think it's just going to keep growing. It is definitely one of the newer technologies. And we are seeing it more and more. It's a win win. Yeah.

Nicole Donnelly 31:04

Awesome. Very cool. We'll keep it going here. All right. So the next thing just to talk about is troubleshooting. Like, what are some of the most common design flaws or issues that you guys have seen? And how what what do you recommend that installers can do to kind of prevent those and get ahead of that so that those don't happen.

Jamie Blum 31:28

I would say your biggest one is using that tilt, we always suggest that you use your winter tilt. And as we said before, that is mainly to reduce that snow loading. So instead of having a flat tilt, where you've got all of that weight coming down from the top, you're going to have it a steeper tilt anyway for your best production. So you can negate that loading there. And oftentimes that can keep your IBM size down, or your pipe down, which in turn is going to keep your costs down.

Curt Anderson 32:04

Awesome. Hey, we've got a comment here. Nicole from Dawn woods, Dawn, Happy Wednesday, my friend. Thanks for joining us today. They also look nice and high visibility areas. And so that's another great point of like, aesthetically, looking pleasant. So thank you, Don, for your contribution. The cold weather we have next.

Nicole Donnelly 32:23

Yeah. So that's the net of the last question I have here is just about designs. Again, just common design flaws. And this, this is just goes back to installers who are struggling with their designs failing, do you have any other tips on what installers could do when their designs aren't, are working quite the way they like them to?

Jamie Blum 32:45

Yeah, definitely just keep an eye on those loads. If you've got a high wind or snow, adjust accordingly, as far as tilt, you can also go down in clearance, or maybe from a five high configuration to a for high. If you've got a higher wind and snow load that span on the rails, keeping that closer to the IBM's can often help quite a bit, or even breaking it down from one larger array into a couple smaller ones. Always, you know, installing a two or three pole is way easier anyway than doing a four or five pole. So if you're considering that you can also throw in a little bit of labor saving when it comes to that as well. So again, keeping that cost down

Nicole Donnelly 33:37

of it. Very good. Yeah, it's pretty amazing. Think about these pole mount systems because you are installing a structure into the ground with you know, with concrete as to be dug up and everything. So I love your point there about, you know, as much as possible, how can you create some efficiency in that initial build process by Max or you know, minimizing the amount of polls that you have to you know, install? So that's a really good point.

Curt Anderson 34:02

Yeah, Jamie, just by chance, did you do a little show and tell? Did we want to show off anything? Do we want to show any examples or anything on the website that you wanted to pull up here today?

Jamie Blum 34:12

Yeah, I've got a few slides here I can show you. Excellent.


So this is just

Jamie Blum 34:31

what our auto designer looks like. All of these fields over here, come pre populated, so you're just gonna want to fill those out for your site specific design factors. This one is just kind of an example of how you can save your money. I ran this one let's see on the wrong one. Here we go. I ran this design at a shallow tilt of 35 degrees with a high snow load of 40 PSF, which is a, it's pretty high snow load and have pretty shallow tilt. Anytime you've got a high snow load generally over 45 is kind of the tipping point there. So the price on this design came out at $1,715.18. Which is fine. But when I ran it at a 50 degree tilt, with that 40 PSF, you could see that price went down significantly. So just by using my winter till I was able to save just over $1,000. So just kind of a little example of how using the right design factors can really help you to save as well as get a better passing design. This one passed with a six inch pole and an SD frame. The other one was an eight inch pole in an HD frame, which is where your costs go up.

Mike Henderson 36:08

So you're you're saving on steel posts as well when they go down in size. And so there's even more savings than just the 1300 that you show in there. Because that doesn't include them still.

Jamie Blum 36:20


Curt Anderson 36:24

That's fantastic. Yeah, and we've got so eight and let's, let's come back. We've got a question here. And LinkedIn user here. So hey, thank you for joining us today as we're chatting with Mike and Jamie from MT Solar. I have a five high 15 Mount eight feet high need to replace a few panels better to drop the array or repair in place. Travis says I would probably tilt straight up and repair in place from the front with a ladder against the array like a wall. But dropping is not out of line either. Miss Jamie, do you have anything to contribute to this conversation?

Jamie Blum 37:06

I would ask where those panels are located. If they are the single center panels that are already over the pole, it might be worth just doing it up up in the air. If they're on the lower end, higher end, it all just kind of depends a little bit as to the ease of the location of those panels.


Excellent. Okay,

Curt Anderson 37:30

man, is this impressive? Alright, we got Jamie

Nicole Donnelly 37:36

knows a few things about how to do this right man.


I think she's done this a little bit.

Curt Anderson 37:44

Yeah, once or twice. Right, Jamie, just like you took a course over the weekend. And now you're an expert. Right? So this was this is really, this is really impressive amount of information that you have that you know, you mentioned. You know what, Nicole, if we ran through our questions, I'd like to let's touch on the team real quick. I know like I've had the honor privilege, Mike. We've again, we've been fast friends for many years, you know, relationship with Travis. Nicole, you've been working with a team, we're getting to know Jamie, here. Talk, Jamie. And then I'm going to come to you, Mike. You know, I'll start with Mike first. And I'll come back to Eugene, Mike, talk a little bit about the team, you've been on a team for how long talk about like how you've watched the company grow, let's get underneath the hood, a little bit on empty solar please,

Mike Henderson 38:26

on boy been associated with MT solar for over 10 years now I think are somewhere in that range. But I've been full time, full time working with the companies in essence 2020 And, you know, I really, I really enjoy this team. They're awesome people to work with, we meet every morning and talk about any issues any of our customers have and we can improve your experience and trying to solve any kind of problems and you know, there's there's always there's always so many factors to consider for everyone that's it's working with us and you know, we have some people that are really experienced with in solar and design and not just pull mountains but the founder of our company, you know, has a lot of experience in solar installation in general and and in worked in that for years and is and is where our kind of our company sprang up for it was that he's like He decided well maybe there's a better way to do this. After some jobs are hanging off some ladders and scaffolding and so forth, and that's where the we have the patented hoisted system which allows you to work on the ground which you know, keeps the installer safe and it's efficient, you know, it's much easier way to set out your whole your whole system and apply the modules to the to the racking and so forth and so on. Yeah, that's, that's that's a neat feature of our mountains, that sort of installation efficiency and working on the ground and then and then and then getting the ground clearance after the fact you can always get up into the air. And then now you've got that you got that ground underneath it. And so that's yeah, that's, that's, that's Travis Jordan. He's, he's the genius and the hoisting system. And, and we've got a few other people on our sales team that are just just awesome, really customer service oriented. And you can tell from a couple of comments that Jamie is a star. Yeah,

Curt Anderson 40:33

yeah, absolutely. So a couple couple of things. I want to point out real quick, Mike is just, you know, the fierce, just relentless dedication to innovation, you know, and we've seen, you know, you're talking about different patents that you guys have, you know, solar is a cutting edge technology in itself. And, you know, again, if you guys, man, I'd love for you to go back, you can go on our website, you can see the previous interview with Mike and Travis, and we took a deep dive into your configurator. Because it's one thing like, hey, we can be dedicated to our product, and you kind of ignore, forget technology, but you guys are dedicated, not being the best kept secret, you know, you're the marketer, getting that message out there. And again, providing that digital self serve. And another thing I want to throw out there as entrepreneurs, taking that risk, like it's not guaranteed that this patent is going to pay off. Like, I don't know if anybody checked lately, Nicole pans are not cheap man. And, you know, going into that configurator, you know, our show, you know, we do a lot with E commerce configurators that are not also, you know, inexpensive investments. So I really, my hat's off to you guys, hats off to Travis and the team that you've put together, and how your dedication, just your fierce, just wonderful attitude towards innovation and towards customer success. Jamie, from your perspective, you mentioned team when we kicked off the program, and when I asked you like, you know, what attracted you to this world, this industry to share a little bit of insight from your perspective, you know, what's so wonderful about MT Solar, your team and how you guys are just working diligently with your clients?

Jamie Blum 42:01

Yeah, we have a rockstar team all the way around. A lot of different strengths, that kind of just build everybody up from the customer service side all the way back to the ingenuitive side. And even the guys down in the shop, they do things so efficiently. It's really impressive what they can do over there with as small of a team, as we do have been up here in rural Montana. So yeah, just a lot of different talents that really make this versatile and awesome team.

Curt Anderson 42:40

Well, very impressive. And I'd say, you know, kudos to Travis for, you know, being the fearless leader and just kind of, you know, running. Nikolas, you'd like to say, and maybe this is appropriate for our friends in Montana, you always say like running herd, right. So Travis is running herd and just really being a leader and a pioneer in the solar industry, and just putting together our quote Jamie, a rockstar team. And it's just you know, you're getting a taste of like, when a customer comes in, you get the expertise of Travis you get patented products, you get Jamie who's like, like, covers all those blind spots that you might have have when you're putting in these installs. I think we had one more comment here, Nicole, if we want to pull that went? F why I use a short piece of aluminum hex doc inserted in the adjuster and an electric drill instead of the manual handle needs to change faster. Any comments that might chuckle That one? What do you got? What do you guys think of that comment?

Mike Henderson 43:36

Yep. It has a trigger and a battery. It's pretty fun to use. And we have we have seen we have seen some installers do that to get a quick tilt go in and, and we're working on a system to that can accommodate that too, to make those faster and easier for our customers. So yeah, thanks. Wow, that was


so crazy.

Curt Anderson 44:02

Jamie, any comments on your read?

Jamie Blum 44:04

I was just gonna say I I think that that's definitely been an idea that we've been floating around for for a while. And we're hoping to make that happen, actually.

Mike Henderson 44:14

Obviously the ingenuity of the the installers.

Jamie Blum 44:18

Yeah, we love hearing those ideas, too, because it gets the gears turning.

Nicole Donnelly 44:25

Yeah, and I just I would just like to add to what Curt was saying, just from our experience working with you, it's been really quite special to see how much evangelism there is with your customers, you know, how much they really truly advocate and love the MT Solar brand. And, you know, hearing directly from them and just seeing and experiencing that with how much they engage with the communications that you're sending out and everything, just as a testament that that there's such advocacy there. It's a testament to your fierce commitment to that creating that customer experience getting the feedback and talking about those challenges. On a daily basis and how you're going to solve them. And even just through this, this conversation, we've learned a lot about the customer experiences that you're, you've cultivated through that for them and how they design their system. They're not alone on an island, you've really created this really great way where they have the independence and the efficiency to be able to self select, but then also get that really nice, handheld, handheld, you know, you know, what do you call that high touch, high touch experience, you know, so that that combo is magic, when you can provide a really easy, seamless ecommerce solution, but also be able to provide that high touch customer service. And I think that's a very clear differentiator for for you and for your, your, your service that you're offering. So it's very exciting to hear about how you know, learn more about all these design tips, and you being able to, again, continue on with that high touch service that you provide by coming on this platform like this and talking about it and sharing these suggestions with your, your audience. It's just really cool. So,

Mike Henderson 46:04

yeah, that really touches into the mission and say, you know, make the install experience better, you know, every step, you know, we're talking about the planning phase now, and, and so forth to through through purchasing. And when you actually get onto the site, and you're working with our product, we we want every step of the way to be as easy as possible. And we're always trying to innovate to make that better.

Curt Anderson 46:31

This was just the coal. This was man, I knew this was gonna be good. I just didn't know it was gonna be this good. So if, boy, if we're gonna wind down, first off folks in the audience and the chats in the comments, thank you. Thank you for joining us today. And you know, if you've been sitting down kind of having lunch with us, or whatever time zone, you're in, great opportunity, if you want to kind of give a little stand and stretch and you can give a big round standing ovation for our wonderful guests today, Mike and Jamie for just absolutely crushing it. So a big thank you to you both, Mike about how many words words of wisdom parting thoughts, anything that you want to share with the crowd as we wind our program down today?

Mike Henderson 47:12

Um, yeah, just you know, I think as Nicole said, we're here to help. And if anyone has more questions for us, you know, pop into the chat on our website. So little, little pitch, we are going to do another webinar next week for folks that couldn't make it. That's on Tuesday. And so we're going to continue to go over some best practices and design tips. So if you have anything you can drop in there and ask us some questions. But yeah, just thanks for anyone that that made it out. And thanks for listening to this and it's good to see Nicole and Kurt as well. So

Curt Anderson 47:47

absolutely. So guys, again, drop stop by And again, we're celebrating made in us its manufacturing month and so just great boy, you see a manufacturer out there you have a friend, a family member, whatever, you hug them high five them, give them a little pat on the back. I'd say our manufacturers are truly the heroes of our economy here in the US, my friend Jamie, what an honor what a privilege you are so impressive in what an asset you are for the team at Mt. Sola any parting thoughts, words of wisdom that you would like to share with our guests today?

Jamie Blum 48:25

If you guys just need any help you know where to find me? Yeah, I'm here for you.

Curt Anderson 48:32

Speak softly carries a big stick. So Jamie, thank you for sharing your expertise, your passion boy, thank you for your as a girl Dad, you are so impressive in for young women out there, you know, thinking that they're, you know, there's a great opportunity for folks in manufacturing and Jamie and for our women out there. We're trying to recruit folks into manufacturing Jamie has just perfect proof of just incredible opportunities and just on cutting edge technology. Nicole I just thought this was just a wonderful program. Thank you for the opportunity to share this on stage with you any How about your parting thoughts, words of wisdom that you want to share as we close out?

Nicole Donnelly 49:10

Oh, man, you guys I'm just soaking all this wonderful Magic Drop the mic moments in. So yeah, I don't really have anything to add that hasn't already been said it's, it's pretty, pretty cool remarkable to see this customer experience in action. And really good to hear and understand all of the really big design tips. So the things that we learned today the top design factors just to kind of recap our conversation. For those listening. The top design factors that you really need to be thinking about with your project is tilt, wind exposure, ground clearance, your local permitting and how to navigate that and then orientation and dimensions of your, your arrays. So those are really the biggest most important factors and if you have any Any other questions or specific troubleshooting challenges? You know any projects you're having just reach out to the MT Silla team. You know, they're very approachable and accessible and of course there to help with any of these challenges that you're having.

Curt Anderson 50:13

So absolutely so guys, we will close out have a great amazing rest of your week happy manufacturing month and just you know, as we'd like to say is in Nikolas point out these things on solar, couple of things for our entrepreneurs and manufacturers out there, dedication to innovation, dedication to customer success in boy you are going to keep you will just crush it. And we will we'll close out guys just keep being an inspiration to anybody out there just like these guys here. Hey, we got another comment from Larry. Larry. Thanks for joining we're gonna close this up. And another plug out there these guys and gals are MT Solar, our hands on peeps, they work with all capital, all of their products. They know what works, how it works and, and share how to make it all come together. Larry, thank you for joining us today. Thank you for your appreciate you chiming in. So guys just be someone's inspiration just like our dear friend Jamie just like my dear buddy Mike Anderson, my good friend, my partner, Nicole, guys. God bless you. Have a great rest of your week and we will see you soon.

Nicole Donnelly 51:17

Thanks for coming, everyone.

Maximize the efficiency of your solar pole mount design with key factors and best practices.