Setting a new standard for more sustainable solar rails

Kellie Moore | October 25th, 2021

Capral Aluminium is used widely throughout Australia by a variety of industry sectors and in a diverse range of applications. In recent times, growing demand for locally sourced aluminium to service the solar sector has led to Capral Aluminium considering the best way to support this growing industry.

You might not realise that when solar panels are fitted to the roof of homes or commercial buildings the panels are typically installed using a series of aluminium rails. The rails allow for consistent and regular fixing to the roof structure and deliver a robust and streamlined way for panels to be installed.

As homes and businesses choose solar to improve their carbon footprint and reduce energy consumption, it is important to consider the full life cycle of the solution. While considerable research has been done into the payback period, life cycle and emission offset for solar panels, have you ever read about the impact of the many thousands of kilometres of aluminium solar rails spanning the roofs of Australian homes and businesses?

When it comes to solar and environmental sustainability, credentials matter. That’s why Australian manufactured Mill Finish aluminium solar rails are fast becoming a material of choice for Australia’s expanding solar industry.

Locally manufactured Mill Finish aluminium solar rails provide a more sustainable and economical solution for the Australian solar industry. The entire life cycle analysis (LCA) is impacted positively with reduced energy consumption in the manufacturing process, and the environmental footprint is further improved with the reduction of carbon emissions by not anodising the solar rail extrusion. Additionally, the sourcing of locally manufactured Mill Finish aluminium extrusions further reduces carbon dioxide emissions, by minimising the impact of sea and road freight.

If your business is in the solar industry, your environmental and sustainability credentials matter.

Traditionally, anodised aluminium has been the default choice for installing aluminium solar rails, however research undertaken by Capral Aluminium demonstrates that this additional finishing process is unnecessary for the use of aluminium in this application.

Michael O’Keefe, General Manager Marketing and Technology Solutions, comments:

For years the solar industry has been choosing anodised solar rails, often imported, for use in Australian solar panel installations. We wanted to investigate how we could reduce the carbon footprint of the aluminium used by this sector and quickly came to realise the anodising process was not adding any value to the end product but was certainly increasing the energy consumption and waste implications of the product.
Clenergy Solar Rail
Non anodised solar rail by Clenergy & Solar Cutters
Clenergy Solar Rail
Long term perfromance and durability for commercial applications

Partnering with Clenergy & The Solar Cutters, with their brand ‘Cutter Rail’, who are specialists in the development, manufacturing, and marketing of solar mounting gear, Capral has worked hard to demonstrate that Australian manufactured Mill Finish solar rails offer a more sustainable and economical solution for Australia’s rapidly expanding solar industry. Cutter Rail is part of the PVezRack series from Clenergy.

The energy required to produce anodised solar rails is around seven times that to produce Mill Finish solar rails. Life cycle analysis (LCA) of Mill Finish aluminium reveals dramatically reduced energy consumption, CO2 emissions, toxic waste and water consumption when compared to anodised versions. And best of all, this eco-friendliness doesn’t come at the expense of quality.

The product’s performance is indisputable – and because Mill Finish solar rails can be rapidly sourced locally, its environmental footprint from supply and transportation is even further reduced.

Mill Finish aluminium has equivalent physical properties and durability to anodised aluminium. So you can have absolute confidence in Mill Finish solar rails, which meet all Australian Standards. It’s also more sustainable and cost-effective, making it the optimal choice for Australian solar rails.

What sets locally manufactured Mill Finish aluminium solar rails apart?

Their sustainable credentials. Locally manufactured Mill Finish aluminium solar rail extrusions require reduced energy consumption to manufacture, when compared to anodised extrusions, they are fully recyclable, and reduced greenhouse emissions in both manufacture and supply contribute to their optimal life cycle analysis. They’re the ideal fit for a renewable industry!

Why choose Mill Finish aluminium solar rails?

  • They’re greener! Mill Finish aluminium solar rails create dramatically less toxic waste than anodised versions and are fully recyclable – a win-win for the environment.
  • They’re fully compliant and quality assured. Purchasing Australian Mill Finish aluminium solar rails ensures quality assurance and compliance. Mill Finish solar rails are strong, corrosion-resistant, lightweight and durable.
  • They’re plentiful! Australian Mill Finish aluminium solar rails are ideally suited for providing supply on demand, with stock readily available.
    They’re versatile! An extensive range of colour options is also available. Powder coating is a far greener alternative to anodising for customers choosing to match solar rails to their roof colour.
  • They’re dependable! Mill Finish aluminium solar rails perform equivalent to anodised extrusions in the field, maintaining the material’s structural properties.
  • They’re competitive! Sourcing locally supplied Mill Finish aluminium solar rails enables our industry to source materials at the most competitive price, with surety of supply.
  • They’re Australian! Sourcing locally manufactured Mill Finish aluminium solar rails allows the Australian solar rail industry to supply quality materials and support Australian jobs.
    By using Mill Finish aluminium in the solar industry, Australia’s manufacturing sector can ‘walk the talk’ – saving money and the environment

The Industrial Team at Capral Aluminium are committed to partnering with Australian manufacturers to support them in bringing innovative products and initiatives to life. An experienced team, with a solutions focus can support you in identifying opportunities for using Aluminium in unique, optimal, efficient and sustainable ways.