This ‘hidden-fastener’ solar mount avoids putting holes in shingles

martin roofing solar mount

Martin Roofing & Solar, based in Mascoutah, Illinois, is now promoting a first-of-its-kind solar mount that leaves no holes in roof shingles. To the company’s knowledge, this patent-pending solar mount is the first hidden-fastening solar mount (HFSM) to comply with the UL 2703 standard.

“UL Certification is an important milestone for industry acceptance, and market disruption,” said Preston Nelson, Director of Martin Roofing & Solar. The company has been installing the HFSM on roofs around Southern Illinois, and with the UL 2703 certification (Certificate No: E539869), the hidden-fastening solar mount is available for a wider distribution.

How does it install? The hidden-fastening solar mount avoids putting holes in shingles by attaching with screws to the decking underneath the shingles. Shingles then seal over the top of the mount, concealing the fasteners underneath for a seamless look.

“Hidden Fastener Solar Mount is versatile, applicable in both direct-to-deck and truss-attachment formats,” Nelson says. “As a direct-to-deck option, it is sturdier than anything else we can find on the market, and therefore requires fewer mounts per rail than competitors. Moreover, HFSM is compatible with numerous rail manufacturers, including Unirac, Ironridge, Sunmodo, and Pegasus rails.”

Why make their own product? “On one hand, solar panels work to extend the longevity of shingles by shielding shingles from the harshest weather,” Nelson says .”On the other hand, solar installations have created countless millions of holes in shingles via the solar systems’ traditional mounting methods. The sad truth is that those traditional mounts are guaranteed leak-free for only about 10 years, while a new roof is typically warrantied for anywhere between 30 and 50 years, depending on the grade of shingle. It’s an obvious problem, and this mismatch is the major motivation for many homeowners to refuse residential solar.

Doesn’t going under the shingle void the roofing warranty? This is where it helps to be a roofer. Martin Roofing has been in business for over 40 years ago, so they sought this new hidden-fastener design to avoid common issues associated with holes in shingles. The shingle suppliers Martin Roofing works with see no issue with lifting the shingle to fasten the solar mount as long as that shingle isn’t too brittle. If for some reason a new shingle is required, Martin Roofing and Solar would just put down a new shingle.

“But if the shingle is that brittle, you’re not going to want to put a solar system on top of it anyway,” Nelson notes.

“In order to put my family’s name onto solar, I knew that we would need to do something that hadn’t been done, to make something totally knew,” said Matt Brendel, President of Martin Roofing and Martin Solar, and grandson of the company founder. “We are really pleased with the result so far, and it has gained a lot of attention. Not only are some other solar companies interested in what we are doing, but it’s even got the attention of shingle companies. I think that our next step is to get these on top of brand new homes that can be sold as ‘Solar-Ready Homes,’ since it integrates so well with the shingles.”

From their perspective as roofers, leaving zero exposed penetrations is the best way to go — which is why HFSM is guaranteed leak-free for a term equal to the warrantied lifetime of a new shingle roof, whether that is 20 years, or 50 years.

In the case of installation on an existing roof, then the guarantee endures for a term equal to the existing warranty of the roof. While the solar mount lays in seamlessly during installation of a new roof, 15-years-old is the oldest shingle roof that was retro-fitted, to-date.

You can check out the Hidden Fastener Solar Mount at:

  • Midwest Solar Expo in Chicago, May 20-22,
  • Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s Energy Fair in Custer, WI, June 21, 22
  • RE+ in Anaheim, CA, September 9-12

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