A welsh timber firm are the first to commercially produce wooden solar panel mounts.
Clifford Jones Timber has now added ‘TimberSol’ to its product line – a laminated timber solar panel mount.
Alistair Syme, a spokesman for Clifford Jones Timber told Solar Power Portal that the idea was an extension of the company's timber garden posts which are manufactured from renewable, eco-friendly sources. As wooden mounts could be more eco-friendly than steel and the company was already familiar with solar, after installing it on their facility roofs, the idea for TimberSol was born.
All the mounts are made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) timber from sustainable forests. “It’s that commitment to sustainability that has encouraged us to develop the wooden frames for solar panels” said Clifford Jones Timber’s sales director, Nigel Bacon.
Clifford Jones offers a 25-year guarantee on TimberSol mounts, and can produce a mount for up to 16 solar panels. Syme noted: “They are laminated so still light but still up to four times as strong as normal wood and don’t splinter”. He continued: “Usually places with lots of sun don’t have as many trees, so Clifford Jones could help, the mounts are not difficult to fit panels too.”
The firm are a mass timber garden post manufacturer who operate across Europe, with their own glulam plant – a facility for the tricky process of laminating timber. Using this facility Clifford Jones Timber already make over two million posts annually from their base in Ruthin, North Wales and another facility in Scotland.
Bacon said the Timber firm already has the capacity to manufacture up to 1.5GW of timber solar frames a year, to hold up to six million solar panels. Syme also said Clifford Jones Timber could help to reach the Governments target of 22GW by 2020 with the TimberSol frame system. “Timber frames have been made before but the difference is that we are the first with the capability to mass produce them, enough for up to six million solar panels a year.”
The mounts can be used for either small domestic installations or on large scale solar parks and are designed to be easily adjustable to the angle of the sun to be fitted anywhere in the world.
“The potential here is enormous because a medium-sized solar park producing 15MW of electricity would require 60,000 solar panels which would need over 20,000 posts and beams” added Bacon.