Solar Speaks: Tile roof install advice from Quick Mount PV On SPW Podcast

In this Solar Speaks episode, Solar Power World chats with Jeff Spies, Quick Mount PV’s Sr. Director of Policy, about solar installations on tile roofs, including when solar installers should suggest new roof installs before putting in solar.

Where are tile roofs more prevalent? What are the different kinds of tile roofs? What happens when you break an individual tile? All these questions and more are answered, and we get a preview on what Quick Mount PV products are appropriate for tile roofs.

This podcast was sponsored by Quick Mount PV for Solar Power World’s Solar Speaks podcast.

Can Solar Shine in Coal Country?


In a state where the political climate is dominated by a belief that there is a “war on coal,” the prospects for solar energy may seem dim. In the face of this political backdrop, a surprising story is unfolding on the ground. 

Though still in its infancy, a movement is afoot in West Virginia to adopt renewable energy, not in opposition to coal, but as a sensible augmentation to help the state sustain its proud tradition of powering America. This article, written by Ronald Fel Jones, spotlights two social enterprises leading the way in this grass-roots effort, Solar Holler and Coalfield Development Corporation.

Led by two native West Virginians, Dan Conant and Brandon Dennison, these innovative organizations are are making it possible for under-employed young men and women to gain technical expertise, earn AA college degrees, and acquire the life skills necessary to combat generational poverty and deeply ingrained hopelessness caused by the collapse of the coal industry.

The article is based on interviews with the three prime movers of this joint enterprise; three young coal-family men who have benefited from these efforts; an elected member of the West Virginia House of Delegates; two solar trainers who worked with both entities; and other stakeholders.

Their compelling story offers hope and encouragement for the citizens of West Virginia, and provides lessons for other coal-producing states on how to help workers in distressed communities gain new skills for new jobs.

Not only does their on-the-ground success suggest that renewable energy is “not as bad for West Virginia as the politicians keep telling us it is,” it demonstrates why West Virginians are well-suited to succeed in creating and sustaining a viable renewable energy industry in Appalachian coal country.

Read the full article here, and tell us what you think! You can also view the full article on


Download PDF


Vlog Series: Installing Wood Blocking

The second video in our vlog series is here! Today’s video is about installing wood blocking. Learn the best tips and tricks from our industry expert and Sr. Director of Policy, Jeff Spies!

As always, we’d love to hear from all of you about your experiences with challenging installations and how you ensured the project was a success. Or if you have a subject you’d like us to cover in this series, comment on the post and we’ll follow up with you. Hope you enjoy it!

Holiday recipes from our family to yours!

Gingerbread cookies hanging over wooden background

As another year comes to an end, we reflect on all that we’re grateful for, we celebrate, and we spend time with the people that matter most in our lives. Whatever your traditions are this time of year, December is usually a time for family, friends and good food. Instead of the routine, “happy holidays” company blog post, we thought it would be fun to have our staff share some of their favorite family holiday recipes. We hope you enjoy this list of holiday treats and maybe add a few to your own line-up this year! Happy Holidays from our Quick Mount family to yours!

Lemon Glazed Persimmon Bars

My grandmother made these bars and passed them on to my parents and now to me. These were one of our favorites that she would make for the entire family at Christmas time. When I make these it reminds me of the good times we had at her house during the holidays.

Judy Murch
Front Desk Receptionist 

1 cup thawed frozen persimmon pulp (or fresh pulp, add 1.5 tsp. lemon juice)
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
8 oz. pitted dates, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (unsifted)
1 tsp each, salt, cinnamon & nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground clove
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Mix persimmon pulp with baking soda and set aside. In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg; then stir in the sugar, vegetable oil, and dates. Combine the flour with the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves; add the date mixture alternately with the persimmon pulp just until well blended. Stir in nuts. Spread evenly in a greased and flour dusted jelly roll pan (10 by 15 inches). Bake in a 350 degree oven until lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Cool the cookies in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then spread with lemon glaze. Cool thoroughly, then cut into bars about 3 by 1 ½ inches, remove from pan and store. Keep well wrapped. Makes 30 bars.

Blend 1 cup un-sifted powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons lemon juice until smooth.

Great Grandma’s Potato Latkes

One of our favorite family holidays is Hanukkah, when we light candles and eat delicious potato pancakes. All the children pile the latkes high on their plates, gobbling them up faster than we can make them!

Stri Zulch
VP of Marketing

3 large potatoes (about 1 pound)
2 eggs
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoon flour
vegetable oil

Peel the potatoes and rinse them in cold water. Grate very fine. Place the grated potatoes in a colander and run cold water over them (this keeps the potatoes from turning dark.) Using your hands, squeeze out all the water. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the onion, parsley, salt, pepper and flour.  Stir. Add grated potatoes and mix well. Heat a small amount of oil to sizzling in a large frying pan. Drop large spoonful of pancake mixture into the oil and slightly flatten. Cook until golden brown, turn and cook on other side till golden brown. Makes one dozen.

Tip: eat while hot and crisp! Our family enjoys them with applesauce and sour cream.

Mom’s Fudge

My mom made this fudge all the time during the holidays. We would have tons of it in the house and I loved it so much I would hide it in my closet to save for later!

Kelli Ross
Channel Sales Manager

4 cups sugar
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
2 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
2 1/2 8 oz. Hershey bars, broken into pieces
1 cup butter
12 oz. bag of semisweet chocolate chips
2 tsps of vanilla
1 lb. walnuts

Use 8 qt stockpot to bring sugar, evap. milk and marshmallows to a rolling boil (turn heat down if scolding). Stir now and then with a spatula for about 8 mins. Have ready in a bowl, Hershey bars (broken into pieces) butter, bag of semisweet chocolate chips and vanilla. Pour cooked mixture over second mixture. Mix together until smooth. Add walnuts. Place in 11 x 13 (1″ thick) buttered pan. Let set over night in the fridge.

Curry Cocktail Nuts

Every year my wife, Colleen, makes these delicious curried nuts and I bring a batch to QMPV headquarters. They are a major hit around the office! We get special requests for extra batches so people can take them home to their families.

Jeff Spies
Sr. Director of Policy

Vegetable cooking spray
2 egg whites
2 cups raw almonds
2 cups roasted and unsalted cashew nuts
2 cups walnut halves
2 cups pecans
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet, liberally, with vegetable cooking spray. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, curry powder, cumin, garlic salt, cayenne pepper, cardamom, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the nuts and stir until coated. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the nuts and toss until coated. Arrange the nuts in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes until golden and fragrant. Let it cool for 10 minutes. Using a metal spatula, remove the nuts from the baking sheet. Break the nuts into bite- sized pieces and place in serving bowls. Tip: I use McCormick’s Hot Madras Curry Powder. I’ve tried other brands of curry powder but they were not as good – lack that curry ummphh!

Orange Drop Cookies

For years I would send these cookies to my nephews for Christmas and gifts to their parents. One year my brother asked for cookies for himself instead of a present. I said sure and would send him a separate tin. His sheepish response was ‘can you send it to my office?’ He did not want to share them with his family and he’s been happily teased about it ever since, especially by his wife. However he did start a trend and now all the parents asked for the cookies instead of a present.  Another generation into the tradition and boxes of cookies are mailed all over the USA, from New York to the hand delivered ones here in San Francisco.

Anne Wright
VP of Sales

2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice  (Valencia or Cara oranges are the best)
1 Tablespoon freshly grated orange peel
2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 1/2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange peel

Tip:  Make sure you use fresh orange juice and orange zest, makes a huge difference in flavor.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Generously grease baking sheets.  Cream butter with sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy.  Stir in eggs, orange juice and peel.  Add flour, salt and baking soda and mix well.  Drop dough by large tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets.  Bake until golden brown about 10 minutes.  Frost while warm completely covering the cookie. Makes 3 Dozen.

Mom’s Sugar Cookies

Growing up my mom would make these sugar cookies for most holidays. During Christmas we would make hundreds to give as gifts and for school holiday parties. The days leading up to Christmas we would spend a couple evenings with the whole family sitting around the kitchen table frosting, applying sprinkles, and packaging cookies. To this day, when my siblings and I run into people from school we haven’t seen in years we are asked if our mom is still making her sugar cookies. Today, I get to share this tradition with my sons, but on a much smaller scale.

Tim Johnson
Sales Operations Analyst

2/3 cup of margarine
1 Egg
2 cups of Flour
3/4 cup of Sugar
1 tsp of Vanilla
1 1/2 tsp of Baking Powder
1 oz of Milk

Cream margarine and sugar. Add egg and beat together. Add vanilla and milk, mix well. Mix together dry ingredients and add by mixer to creamed mixture. Divide dough in half and put in waxed paper. You can double this recipe and divide dough in 4 waxed paper packets. Chill at least 1 hour, overnight is better. Roll out on floured surface, cut cookies and bake at 375 degrees 7-1/2 to 12 minutes (depending on the oven).

1 cup Confectioners Sugar sifted
1/2 tsp or more of water
Food coloring of your choice

Stir together and add water until desired consistency.

Christmas Morning Frittata

Since I was a little girl, my Mom would make this frittata for Christmas brunch, which she always served with a Sara Lee frozen coffee cake (remember those?) I have so many fond memories of cozy Christmas mornings eating this meal. It’s such a simple dish, but the texture and the flavor of this frittata is really amazing, and it makes great leftovers too!

Meghan Vincent-Jones
Director, Media & Creative

2 bunches green onions
2 tablespoons parsley
1 small can diced green chiles
4 small jars of artichoke hearts
16 oz grated cheddar cheese
24 saltines, crushed
8 eggs
Salsa or tabasco to taste, plus any other seasonings you like

Saute 2 bunches chopped green onions, with 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus one small can of mild green chiles diced, and 4 jars artichoke hearts drained and chopped. (This can be done with cooking spray or part of the oil from the artichokes.) Beat 8 eggs. Crush 24 saltine crackers fine with a rolling pin (put crackers in plastic bag) and add to egg mixture. Add 16 oz. of grated cheddar cheese and several tablespoons of salsa or other hot sauce. Season mixture to taste and add sauteed items. Mix well.

Bake in a 9 x 13 pyrex or similar at 325 degrees for 35 minutes. I like to sprinkle paprika on top for color.

Lace Cookies

I’m not much of a baker, but my sister-in-law has the magic touch, and makes these delicious cookies every year at Christmas time. I called her up to get this special recipe to pass on to all of you!

Cynthia Johnston

1 stick of butter
1 egg
1 cup of sugar
3 Tbsp of flour
1/4 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup oatmeal
2/3 cup of chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coconut

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Over stove or in microwave melt butter. Add egg, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix together well. Add oatmeal, walnuts and coconut. Mix well. Drop by spoonful on cookie sheet covered by aluminum foil. Pat cookie down a little. Bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly brown. When done, peel cookie off foil when cool.

Solar Pioneer Party 2015

Photo courtesy of Rachel Bujalski

In October of 2015, a group of solar professionals gathered in the capital of off-grid America – Southern Humboldt County – for the first ever Solar Pioneers Party, which was conceived and produced by Jeff Spies, Senior Director of Policy for Quick Mount PV, with generous contributions from Backwoods Solar and PV Cables. The group assembled to celebrate the roots of residential PV and recognize the contributions of all the intrepid back woods solar engineers and mad scientists that made solar home power possible. The event was a huge success, bringing together numerous PV visionaries and pioneers. Many of whom, dating back to the early 1970’s, were integral to bringing solar to the public and helping fuel a true, “power to the people” revolution in off grid living, as well as usher in the modern era of grid tied residential solar.

We’ve put together a short video of what transpired. Stay tuned for the full Solar Pioneers documentary, based on the hours of interviews performed by Tor Valenza and Tristen Kreager. All video shot and edited by Jason Vetterli and Kristen Huster Young.

Solar Pioneer Party from Quick Mount PV on Vimeo.

New products, trainings & more at SPI next week!

Visit us at booth 2910 at Solar Power International next week and see live demos of Quick Rack™, our patented rail-free mounting system. Check out our full product line of mounts for comp/asphalt and tile roofs, including Quick Hooks and E-Mount Lag, designed to make installations even faster and easier. Our technical and sales staff will be on-hand to answer all your questions. We are also offering several exciting training opportunities. Read below to learn more. See you in Anaheim!


Install SolarEdge Optimizers in 10 seconds!

The Accessory Frame Bracket offers fast, on the ground installation for mounting SolarEdge Power Optimizers directly to the module frame, saving you time and money. Stop by our booth to see for yourself!

Learn More


Thursday, Sept 17 | 1:30 – 2:30 PM

PV Technical Training Booth # 5142

Join our Director of Training, Johan Alfsen, for a one-hour training put on by Solar Energy Internation (SEI) on best practices in mounting and racking rooftop solar. This presentation covers best practices, codes, and standards that will help solar installers protect the roof and choose the appropriate solutions for residential and light commercial PV racking and mounting systems.
One NABCEP CE credit.

One NABCEP CE credit.

Jeff Spies, our Director of Policy will also be participating in a number of trainings and discussions at SPI. Visit our website for more information.

Tools & Techniques: Attaching solar on steep slope roofs

Roofs over 2:12 pitch are considered steep slope and instead of using a waterproofing membrane like a low slope roof, they typically use water shedding roof coverings that rely on gravity to keep the water out of the structure. The significant majority of steep slope roofs use asphalt shingles or tile. The other common steep slope roof options include wood shake, wood shingles, metal shingles, slate, standing seam metal roofs, or exposed fastener metal roofs. There are a variety of roof attachments and flashing methods available for each roof type, and careful selection is needed to insure you are able to deliver a structurally sound, waterproof, code compliant solar attachment system.

Waterproofing basics

Building codes require that roof penetrations be flashed per the roofing manufacturer installation instructions. A significant majority of asphalt shingle manufacturers follow the National Roofing Contractors Association guidelines for penetration flashing which mandate metal flashing for all penetrations and specify the upper edge of the flashing must reach up into the third course of shingles. The vast majority of tile roof manufacturers follow the Tile Roofing Institute’s installation guidelines that requires metal flashing to be installed at the underlayment level and sealed using bibbing or three coursing with roofing cement and reinforcing fabric.

Structural attachment method

Rafter attached systems have been the norm for solar installations as the tried and true attachment method. Building officials allow rafter attachment as long as the roof meets established criteria. An alternate attachment method secures the racking system directly to the roof sheathing. Using sheathing attached systems may be inadvisable since it can be difficult to verify whether the sheathing is reliably secured to the rafters. As a result sheathing attached systems are often not allowed on existing roofs in many jurisdictions. Sheathing attached systems can work well for new or re-roofs applications since the installer and building official can verify that the sheathing is attached to the rafters before the roof covering is installed. If a sheathing attached system is used on a new roof, it’s important that point loading on a single attachment does not get concentrated on a single fastener. This could initiate a structural problem if the fastener pulls out under dynamic uplift forces from windstorms.

This flashed roof attachment is rafter mounted and provides a reliable structural attachment for full code compliance
This flashed roof attachment is rafter mounted and provides a reliable structural attachment for full code compliance

Shingle roof attachment

Options for shingle roof attachments include standoff cone flashings, hooded flashings, and integrated seal flashings. Standoff cone flashing use a metal cone flashing that elevates the seal area above the roof plane. Hooded flashings are inexpensive, but have a major vulnerability as they have an opening on the downhill side of the attachment, which can allow wind driven rain to access the penetration. Integrated seal flashings use rubber seals and can be very effective. Seals located at the waterline will degrade more quickly than elevated seals particularly in cold climates where freezing water can wear out a rubber seal.

Metal cone flashing provides ample elevation of the seal above the waterline, assuring longer seal life

Metal cone flashing provides ample elevation of the seal above the waterline, assuring longer seal life

The patented QBlock waterproofing system elevates the seal of this integrated flashed attachment above the waterline.
The patented QBlock waterproofing system elevates the seal of this integrated flashed attachment 0.7” above the waterline. This approach positions the sealing area in a protective cavity shielding the seal from moisture and UV exposure.

Tile roof attachment

Options for tile roof attachment have expanded dramatically in the past several years and fall into three general categories: standoffs, tile hooks, and threaded bolts. Regardless of which method you choose, flashing at the deck level (underlayment level) is code required by the Tile Roofing Institute. Underlayment flashing can be challenging for certain tile attachments including the sliding track style base mount, but fortunately a growing number of code compliant tile roof attachments include preformed metal flashings to seal the penetrations at the underlayment level. This code compliant tile hook (pictured at top) is quicker to install and has no visible flashing. The standoff on the right is super strong and uses a malleable tile level flashing. Both roof attachments are sold with deck-level flashing that are sealed to the underlayment under the tile.

Tile standoffs

Tile standoffs are much stronger than hanger bolts as they have a larger diameter base and post, but both standoffs and hanger bolts require double flashing since the tile must be penetrated to allow for installation. The tile level flashing can be installed above or below the tile that is penetrated and the secondary flashing at the underlayment level would be sealed to the underlayment using bibbing or three coursing with roofing cement and reinforcing fabric. For curved tile, the TRI requires a malleable metal flashing molded to the tile.

Tile hooks

Tile hooks typically do not penetrate the top of the tile, instead they protrude between 2 rows of tiles. The tile lug will need to be trimmed using a tuck pointing diamond blade to allow for clearance of the hook and insure proper tile seating. Some metal strap style tile hooks allow the weight of the array to rest on top of the tile. This method of attachment is inadvisable, as the array will vibrate on the tile in a windstorm, increasing the likelihood of broken tile. The best tile hooks provide a strong mounting location that elevates the hook and racking system off the tile– preventing contact with the tile under full wind loading conditions.

Tile hook with underlayment bibbing

To be code compliant, tile hooks must have metal flashing installed using Tile Roofing Institute approved underlayment bibbing (shown on the left).Three coursing with roofing cement and reinforcing fabric (shown on right).

Less common roof types

Asphalt shingle roofs and tile roofs represent over 90% of all solar installations in the US, but many solar installers are confronted with less common roofs like wood shake/shingle, slate, or metal shingle. These roof types are often found on more expensive homes and are more challenging for the installer. The benefits of learning how to work on these upscale roof types are fewer competitors and better profit margins. Typically partnering with an experienced qualified roofer is advisable. Metal panel roofs are common in rural areas but exposed fastener roofs (corrugated or trapezoidal) may be less desirable than standing seam roofs as the fasteners often require periodic tightening and access to these fasteners is difficult after a solar installation. Standing seam roof rack systems typically attach to clamps on the standing seams. Standing seam panels are held on with clips, so the installer and building official should verify there are sufficient clips securing the roofing system, so it can withstand the uplift forces from the solar array when subject to strong winds.

This home with Decra metal shingles in Florida uses standoffs with flashing installed with a Decra

This home with Decra metal shingles in Florida uses standoffs with flashing installed with a Decra “Underpan” to channel any leakage safely to the top of the shingles below.

As flashed roof attachment options continue to expand, it’s important to verify your your attachment of choice will provide a reliable, long-term, structurally robust and waterproof system for the life of the roof and array. Your customers will thank you.


This article was originally written for Solar Novus Today

The Next Generation Home

We’ve been working with on their web series, First to the Future Home, featuring TV star and carpenter, Ty Pennington. The series covers the design, build and reveal of a truly next generation home, showcasing what it takes to make a house energy efficient, weather resistant, healthy and smart. As you might imagine, rooftop solar was an important aspect of this project.

We were honored to be included in the series and on the roof. Our QBase Composition Mount was installed on a sustainable and 100% recyclable Decra metal shingle roof during the SolarCity installation episode (episode 25). And just for fun, our first ever TV commercial is at the end of the latest episode (episode 28). Also, If you are interested in the Decra install, make your way to episode 18. The home will also include an AET solar thermal system, which they discuss in episode 24. Check it out, the episodes are short (less than 5 minutes) and it’s really amazing to see the latest innovations in smart, energy efficient home products, from foundation to rooftop. Enjoy!

Ty Pennington’s First to the Future Home

Ty Pennington’s First to the Future Home

Vlog Series: Locating the Rafter

Today we’re posting our first in a series of video blogs! This vlog series will discuss challenges solar installers face on the roof and offer solutions to many of the common problems you may run into when installing rooftop solar. Our first post is about locating the rafter on a particularly challenging comp/asphalt shingle roof.

We’d love to hear from all of you about your experiences with challenging installations and how you ensured the project was a success. Or if you have a subject you’d like us to cover in this series, comment on the post and we’ll follow up with you. Hope you enjoy it!