SolarCity has launched ZS Beam, a new product for solar car parks that it claims can reduce installation times and reduce costs, ahead of the company’s third quarter earnings report next week.

The US installer and leaser announced the new product yesterday, claiming ZS Beam would offer cost and installation advantages over its forebears. The product comes via Zep Solar, the photovoltaics (PV) mounting company SolarCity acquired in late 2013.

Among its key product lines, Zep Solar makes the Zep Groove range of mounting systems, which is a frame with a groove in it for easing of assembly and installation, which Zep then licenses to PV manufacturers. Through Zep, SolarCity recently also launched ZS Peak, a new East-West rooftop mounting system which is ‘Zep Compatible’ and is purported to allow for a larger number of modules to be mounted to a roof than with some other mounting structures.  

ZS Beam features a special clamp for connecting solar panels to carports from below, rather than above, which SolarCity claims improves safety as well as cutting installation time. Like ZS Peak, the carport beam creates an automatic grounding connection as panels are attached.

The carport market in the US has been talked up recently with a report from GTM Research in August forecasting that 180MW of such projects will be installed during 2014. GTM asserts that the US carport market will hit US$843 million, across 317.9MW of installed capacity, in 2016.

According to GTM analyst Scott Moskowitz, the average system price of carports is falling and projects getting bigger, while developers are looking for “lower cost structural suppliers” as one of their key strategies. ZS Beam is being touted by SolarCity as a product that will “significantly” reduce the cost of constructing such projects.

SolarCity is set to announce its third quarter earnings details next week after markets close on Wednesday, scheduling a conference call to discuss them that afternoon.   

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