Solar + Storage Best For Energy Independence And Backup Power
Are you looking for a solar panel system to store energy and provide power during grid outages? In that case, youll want to add a solar + storage system that pairs your solar panels with a battery backup.
Just be aware that solar batteries are expensive. Even with a daily-use solar battery that qualifies for incentives, you’ll break even at best. A single Tesla Powerwall costs about $13,000 with installation depending on your situation, you may even require two.
Tip: You can always add solar storage later. Newer AC-coupled solar batteries like the Tesla Powerwall and sonnen batteries allow you to easily retrofit an energy storage system to a solar panel installation.
Coupling Of The Mount
To install racks on the roof of your vehicle, youll need spacers, bolts, fitting applications, and kits.
Once youve got a rack that fits your vehicle, you can now move on to installing it. The first step is to couple your mount to the raised rails or the roof rack adapter. We mentioned before that the mount is the foundation of the roof rack, and it provides stability for the tower.
To attach the mount, you might need to use screws to fit it into the holes provided. Ensure that you use the right screwdriver for the screw head. Also, when fixing your mount, it is essential that you fix it on the part of your roof that is very sturdy .
In some cases, you might need to make holes for your mount, which is common to vehicles with naked roofs.
Learn The Parts Of A Roof Rack
Roof racksRoof racks come in a few different configurations. The parts can also vary based on what your rack is made to carry. For example, a rack designed to haul skiing or snowboarding equipment will look different than a rack made for a mountain bike.
However, there are a variety of pieces youll get with most roof rack kits.
- A mount: this piece is what attaches to your vehicle. While some universal kits do exist, mounts are often made for certain types of vehicles.
- Cross bars: these run across the roof of your car to hold mounting hardware. Different styles exist to fit the type of mount and other hardware you choose.
- The tower : This is how your mount connects to the cross bars that provide support for your equipment. Tower and rack styles across models.
- Accessory kits: A basic roof rack kit will come with a mount, cross bars and a tower or rack. These three pieces make up the majority of your roof rack system. Accessories are typically mounted to the cross bars and help hold certain items in place. You may be able to buy a range of accessories to help you secure multiple types of equipment and cargo, helping you get the most out of your roof rack.
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Lets Find Out What Are Roof Rails For
When it comes to roof rails and racks, many people consider it for luggage cargo or only for the aesthetics as it makes it look sporty and gives height to the car.
However, there is so much more to them. Its type determines the purpose of the rails either it is aesthetic or functional.
Lets talk about the mainstream function, i.e. luggage cargo. Many cars come with already mounted rails that can be used for cargo purposes, but here is the thing you will need to install crossbars, wings, etc. to support the luggage.
Another utility of a car roof rail is that it contributes to the roofs structural strength and provides support. With the aesthetics of a sporty car, you also get durability which is a pretty good deal.
Checking The Roof Of Your Vehicle
Installation of racks is completely legal irrespective of the type of car you are driving down the road.
To successfully carry out your kayak rack installation, you need to verify the type of roof of your vehicle. All vehicles dont have the same roof. Some come with attachments from the manufacturers called raised rails, while some dont have any form of attachments they are often referred to as naked backs.
For vehicles that come with raised rails, the manufacturer has already prepared the vehicle for roof racks and has made provisions on the roof such as rails and holes for direct attachment of your roof rack. However, vehicles with naked roofs will need some extra components before any rack can be installed.
For naked roof vehicles, you will need to get a roof rack adapter that will allow you to attach your mount to the roof and also conveniently bear your racks weight. Also, there are some other ways that you can transport your kayak without using a roof rack this is also a valid option if your vehicle has a naked back.
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Is This Roof Rack Compatible With Cargo Boxes Baskets Bikes Skis Snowboards Or Water Sport Carriers
If you enjoy participating in other sports and activities that require a rack to carry equipment such as bikes, skis, snowboards, or a cargo basket, then purchasing a durable roof rack with crossbars is a great option for cross functional compatibility.
Menabo branded roof racks are compatible with many bike carriers, ski and snowboard carriers, kayak carriers, and cargo boxes. You may require adaptors and additional attachments in order to securely install and mount one brand of cargo carriers onto another brand of roof crossbars as the width of the crossbars and total weight capacity may vary.
Aluminum roof racks that connect to raised rails tend to have a higher weight bearing capacity than racks and crossbars that connect to flush rails, and both types can carry more weight than racks and crossbars that are installed directly to a vehicles roof. Plastic roof racks carry even less weight, so its important to understand how much combined weight you need to carry on your vehicles rooftop prior to purchasing roof crossbars.
Obtain Permission To Operate
The PTO allows for utility interconnection so you can connect your solar power system to the utility grid to import and export electricity.
The utility company will either install a second meter or replace your current one with a bi-directional meter, allowing for tracking your solar power exports. To turn the system on:
- Flip the breakers: There will be breakers for the solar panels on your electrical panel, probably labeled PV system or Solar PV . Flip them!
- Turn battery and inverter on: Some battery storage and inverters have their own ON buttons youll want to hit these too.
- Switch the disconnect: Switch the emergency disconnect to ON this will complete the system circuit and allow energy to flow from panels. You should now be producing solar energy!
- Check the inverter app: One last step: make sure everything is working as it should be using your solar monitoring app. These apps link to your solar inverter to display your solar panel performance and energy usage in real-time. If a solar company performs the installation, it will handle all system activation requirements, including getting the PTO. We recommend picking a local solar company as they will be most familiar with the rules and regulations where you live.
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Your Guide To Car Roof Rails And Racks
If outdoor activities or road trips are a big part of your lifestyle, you may consider adding a mounting system to your cars roof to bring along all the gear youll need. Car roof rails and racks can help you expand your options for packing and transporting your stuff. They can also be a great solution for carrying equipment thats too big for your cars interior like bikes or kayaks without resorting to a trailer. While car roof rails and racks often work in conjunction, they do have some distinctions.
Buyers Guide: Best Roof Racks
Roof racks are a necessary tool for those who want to transport their bikes, kayaks, skis, or any other outdoor equipment that wont fit in a trunk. Roof racks can also be used for additional storage space if you pack heavy. When selecting the best roof rack for your needs, first consider what it is you want to transport.
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How Do I Install A Roof Rack
Every roof rack will have a specific set of hardware and manufacturer-specific instruction for operation, but there are a few general guidelines to follow when installing aftermarket equipment.
- Position the rack on top of your vehicle: This is when you make sure the rack properly fits your vehicle and is properly centered on the vehicles roof.
- Use provided equipment to secure the rack: Fastening equipment will vary by manufacturer, but usually includes bolts that can be hand tightened or wrenched into place.
- Check for stability: Once installed, make sure all points are securely fashioned and that any cross rails that were adjusted are locked in place.
How Do You Attach Roof Racks To Roof Rails
If youre looking to add some roof racks to your car, there are a few different ways to do it. The most common way is to attach them directly to the roof rails. Most roof racks will come with all of the necessary hardware for this, and its usually a pretty straightforward process.First, youll want to make sure that the roof racks are the right size for your car. They should be long enough so that they can span the entire width of your car, and they should also be wide enough so that they can sit flush against the sides of your car. Once youve confirmed that the racks will fit, its time to start attaching them.The first step is to put the rack in position on top of your car. Make sure that its level and centered before doing anything else. Once its in place, take a look at the instructions that came with your rack. There will likely be four bolts that need to be tightened down in order to secure the rack to your car. Two of these bolts will go into holes on either side of the front of the rack, while the other two will go into holes on either side of the back of the rack.
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Position And Install The Rack
To attach the roof rack to your car:
- Open your vehicle’s doors
- Place the rack on the roof, centering it and positioning it safely away from the top of the windshield. You will also want to make adjustments based on the length of your roof and to clear a sunroof or moonroof.
- Lock the foot mounts in place with the clamps. These clamps hook to the underside of your door and tighten in place.
After you’ve installed your roof rack you can still make adjustments to the rack’s location or the distance between each crossbar.
Roof Bars Do Increase Fuel Consumption
Long story short: Roof racks are a drag on fuel economy. Still, there is nuance to this statement.
The reason why roof racks can lead to increased fuel consumption is because of the additional aerodynamic drag they create. Unless heavy cargo is loaded onto the rack, drag is the only reason for lower fuel efficiency. As you know, air drag is greater the faster you go and the greater the frontal surface area.
It is therefore recommended to remove empty roof racks for fuel efficiency reasons when you travel a major portion of miles at high speeds like on highways. Conversely, there is virtually no hit on gas mileage from roof racks when traveling at a slower pace like in city traffic. The same is true for loaded roof carriers. Higher speed equates to greater decreases in fuel economy.
So roof bars can only have any effect when the car moves, obviously. Which is a weird way of saying: If you rarely use your car anyways, this topic is a no-brainer.
If you want to nerd out on the details of roof rack fuel efficiency, you are in luck! I got just the article for you.
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How Much Weight Can I Put On My Roof Rack
All Thule roof racks share several important features, and they all have the capacity to carry a significant weight.
- High load capacity– All roof racks are designed to carry up to 75 kg
- Quick installation – Easy to mount and to add accessories
- Safety first – Tested to the limit and beyond in the Thule Test Center
However, the maximum weight of the system is determined by the vehicle itself. Head to the roof rack page, click on Filter & sort, and enter your car model details to find a roof rack that will fit your specific vehicle. For more details or consult your vehicle manufacturer.
Roof Racks Vs Roof Rails
Something consumers should note is the difference between roof racks and roof rails. Roof rails, also commonly called cross bars, are on the sides of the bare roof of the car. Cargo racks then attach to these rails.
Most roof rails come preinstalled from the vehicle manufacturer, although there are some aftermarket options. Look for sturdy, yet lightweight options like aluminum cross bars that can support several types of mounting hardware.
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How Do You Put A Snowboard On A Roof Rack
Do you like to go skiing or snowboarding all winter long? With a Thule roof rack, you can easily fit your gear on your car. With a snowboard rack for your car, you can easily and safely take your board to the mountains. Check out Thule SnowPack Extender an aerodynamic slide-out rack for convenient loading and unloading of skis and snowboards.
How Do You Want To Mount Your Bike
Do you want a rack that forces you to remove your front wheel for transport or one that simply latches directly onto the frame? Plus, not all modern bicycles feature quick-release front wheels, so you need to make sure your rack is compatible with the bike you own or may buy in the future.
If you own a heavy e-bike and arent an Olympic power lifter, a roof rack isnt a great option for you.
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How To Install A Roof Rack
The guidelines in this piece are general and not meant to replace instructions for your specific vehicle. Please consult your owner’s manual or repair guide before attempting repairs.
Depending on the model selected and manufacturer, installation for each kit differs slightly. Generally, installing your new roof rack is easy.
Organize Permits And Approvals
As with any major home improvement project, youll need to obtain the appropriate permits and approvals before starting work.
Typically, youre looking at applying for the following:
- Building permit
- Permission from your electricity utility
- Incentive program applications
- Post-installation inspection
Youll generally need to submit the design for your solar panel system, which must be code compliant. The exact requirements will depend on where you live and the conditions imposed by the local authority having jurisdiction .
Your solar company can handle all installation-related permits and approvals on your behalf.
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Why You Can Trust Us
Each year, we test over 350 auto products on vehicles and in our testing lab. Our team of product testers thoroughly researches top products, unboxes and puts our hands on each component, and tests the items on real vehicles before making recommendations to readers.
We publish hundreds of product and service reviews to bring car enthusiasts detailed guides on automotive tools, detailing kits, car seats, pet products, and much more.
Benefits Of Mounting A Roof Rack On My Vehicle
Most vehicles are too small to fit bikes, skis, snowboards and water sport equipment between the backseat and trunk, especially when carrying other gear and luggages for a vacation or weekend road trip. Trunk and hitch mounted racks for bikes and cargo baskets can also restrict access to the trunk by blocking the rear hatch or trunk door, making it difficult to access your cargo while theyre mounted.
A roof rack designed for your car or SUV on the other hand allows you to safely and easily transport your bikes or sporting gear without taking up all of your interior cargo capacity and running the risk of damaging the interior fabric lining or scratching the exterior paint of your vehicle. Roof racks allow smaller vehicles such as sedans or hatchbacks to carry a large cargo box and as many as four bikes, six sets of skis, four snowboards, or a kayak without requiring a hitch mounted trailer.
Roof racks for pickup trucks are also useful as they allow you to maintain the truck beds full cargo capacity by holding your bikes, skis, snowboards, or kayaks above the box itself. Now lets look at the types of roof racks and how they function to help determine which one best suits your vehicle and budget for your next outdoor adventure.
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Truck Bed Mounted Roof Racks
Bed mounted roof racks are popular options for pick-up truck owners, especially ones with shorter boxes as they mount above the trucks bed without limiting cargo capacity.
These roof racks and crossbars require truck specific mounting bars or rails to be installed along the sides of the truck box the installation and removal process is similar to roof rack carriers but allows for a much easier process to mount a bike carrier or ski and snowboard carrier since you can stand level inside the trucks bed.