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Title:
Easy-to-assemble building structure with a mountable frame for supporting solar panels
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates generally to an easy-to-assemble building structure with a mountable frame for mounting solar panels, solar water heating panels, fuel cells or any other renewable energy device and more particularly relates to a gazebo or a storage space or an overhang used for purposes of mounting solar panels.


Inventors:
Sinha, Sunil Kumar (Pleasanton, CA, US)
Kishore, Vineeta (Pleasanton, CA, US)
Singh, Ajeya Prithipal (Milpitas, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/835737
Publication Date:
11/03/2005
Filing Date:
04/30/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04D13/18; F24J2/52; H01L31/042; (IPC1-7): E04D13/18
View Patent Images:
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Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Evergreen Valley Law Group (2670 S. White Road, Suite 275, San Jose, CA, 95148, US)
Claims:
1. An easy-to-assemble structure for capturing solar energy comprising; a. a mountable structure for mounting a renewable energy device; and b. a renewable energy device.

2. The structure according to claim 1, wherein said renewable energy device is solar panels.

3. The structure according to claim 1, wherein said renewable energy device is photovoltaic cells.

4. The structure according to claim 1, wherein said renewable energy device is solar hot water systems.

5. An easy-to-assemble structure for supporting solar panels, said structure comprising; a. a plurality of stanchions to support said structure; b. a support frame resting on said stanchions; said frame being fastened to said stanchions; c. an apex frame assembly resting on top of said support frame, said assembly comprising of a plurality of braces, said braces being connected to one another, wherein said apex frame assembly is fastened to the support frame to provide support to solar panels; d. an interlock assembly comprising of two components, a first component and a second component, wherein the first component is an apex cap with a projection and the second component is an apex support element containing a recess, wherein said second component receives the projection extending from the apex cap and aligns the two components together, wherein said interlock assembly passes through the center of the apex frame assembly from front to back; e. said first component having shelves in the form of winged flanges on the sides to hold down solar panels and said second component having shelves to support solar panels; f. a joint at the proximal end of said interlock assembly, said joint connecting the interlock assembly and braces on either side of the interlock assembly; g. a joint at the distal end of said interlock assembly, said joint connecting the interlock assembly and braces on either side of the interlock assembly; h. horizontal braces mounted on top of the support frame, said braces being on the two sides of the supported structure and providing support to the solar panels; and i. an inverter mounted in said supported structure.

6. The structure of claim 5, wherein the stanchions are made of wood, aluminum or any other alloy.

7. The structure of claim 5, wherein the support frame is made of wood, aluminum or any other alloy.

8. The structure of claim 5, wherein the support frame is fastened to the stanchions with the help of a plurality of arms.

9. The structure of claim 8, wherein the arms are twelve in number.

10. The structure of claim 5, wherein the apex frame assembly is fastened to the support frame with the help of bolts.

11. The structure of claim 10, wherein the apex frame assembly is fastened to the support frame with the help of twelve bolts.

12. The structure of claim 5, wherein the interlock assembly is horizontal such that the solar panels supported by the interlock assembly are slopingly mounted on the horizontal braces.

13. The structure of claim 5, wherein said first and second components of the interlock assembly are made of wood, aluminum or any other alloy.

14. The structure of claim 5, wherein said joint at the proximal end of said interlock assembly that connects the interlock assembly and the braces is a spider joint.

15. The structure of claim 5, wherein said joint at the distal end of said interlock assembly that connects the interlock assembly and the braces is a spider joint.

16. The structure of claim 5, wherein said braces are connected to one another at each comer of the easy-to-assemble building structure with the help of a square tube.

17. The structure of claim 5, wherein each said brace has an insertable slot to support the solar panels.

18. The structure of claim 5, wherein the inverter has wires connecting the inverter to a circuit breaker.

19. A method for installing solar panels on an easy-to-assemble supported structure, said method comprising the steps of: a. installing a plurality of stanchions to support said structure; b. installing a support frame resting on said stanchions; said frame being fastened to said stanchions; c. installing an apex frame assembly resting on top of said support frame, said assembly comprising of a plurality of braces, said braces being connected to one another and being fastened to the support frame to provide support to solar panels; d. installing an interlock assembly comprising of two components, a first component and a second component, wherein the first component is a apex cap with a projection and the second component is an element containing a recess, wherein said second component receives the projection extending from the apex cap and aligns the two components together, wherein said interlock assembly passes through the center of the apex frame assembly from front to back, said first and second components having shelves in the form of winged flanges and flat areas respectively on the sides to support solar panels; e. installing a joint at the proximal end of said interlock assembly, said joint connecting the interlock assembly and braces on either side of the interlock assembly; f. installing a joint at the distal end of said interlock assembly, said joint connecting the interlock assembly and a brace on either side of the interlock assembly; g. installing horizontal braces mounted on top of the support frame, said braces providing support to the solar panels; and h. installing an inverter mounted in said supported structure.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein the stanchions are made of wood, aluminum or any other alloy.

21. The method of claim 19, wherein the support frame is made of wood, aluminum or any other alloy.

22. The method of claim 19, wherein the support frame is fastened to the stanchions with the help of a plurality of arms.

23. The method of claim 22, wherein the arms are twelve in number.

24. The method of claim 19, wherein the apex frame assembly is fastened to the support frame with the help of bolts.

25. The method of claim 19, wherein the apex frame assembly is fastened to the support frame with the help of twelve bolts.

26. The method of claim 19, wherein the interlock assembly is horizontal such that the solar panels supported by the interlock assembly are slopingly mounted on the horizontal braces.

27. The method of claim 19, wherein said first and second components of the interlock assembly are made of wood, aluminum or any other alloy.

28. The structure of claim 19, wherein said joint at the proximal end of said interlock assembly that connects the interlock assembly and the first and second brace is a spider joint.

29. The structure of claim 19, wherein said joint at the distal end of said interlock assembly that connects the interlock assembly and the first and second brace is a spider joint.

30. The structure of claim 19, wherein said braces are connected to one another at each comer of the easy-to-assemble building structure with the help of a square tube.

31. The structure of claim 19, wherein said braces have insertable slots to support the solar panels.

32. The structure of claim 19, wherein the inverter has wires connecting the inverter to a circuit breaker.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to an easy-to-assemble building structure with a mountable frame for mounting solar panels, photovoltaic or hot water or any other renewable energy device, and more particularly relates to an easy-to-assemble gazebo or a storage space or an overhang used for purposes of mounting solar panels.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Solar technology is not only environment-friendly but is also cost-effective in the long term. However, despite the distinct advantages of solar power, solar technology has still not gained wide-spread popularity largely due to the fact that the conventional method of installation of solar panels is fraught with complexities.

Traditionally, roof spaces of building establishments such as houses and offices have been used for installing solar panels. The conventional process of installing solar panels involves installation of panels on the roofs of building establishments such as houses and offices with the help of mounting brackets. Each solar panel is typically made of solar cells also known in the art as photovoltaic cells. Solar cells are generally very thin rectangular or circular wafers that are made of silicon. As soon as sunlight hits the solar cells, the electrons on the solar panels are released. These electrons then freely flow through wires, forming direct current (DC). This DC is the same kind of current that flows through a regular battery. This DC may be used directly for various uses like charging the battery, DC lighting, heating the pool, running the DC motors for pumps, machinery, and generating hydrogen by electrolysis. Charged batteries provide DC electricity when sun is not shining. Usually, DC from photovoltaic cells/panels or from chargeable batteries is sent to an electrical inverter, which converts DC to an alternating current (AC) and produces AC power to the standards of the local utility company. The hydrogen can be used in fuel cells for power generation. Solar hot water panels absorb thermal energy from solar radiation and heat the water. The hot water is used for heating pools and for consumer and industrial hot water use.

Installation of solar panels on roof tops can be prohibitively expensive owing to the fact that skilled labor is required for mounting the solar panels. In addition, the process of installing solar panels is labor-intensive in so far as roofs need to be worked on very carefully to prevent damage to roofs causing leakage after installation of solar panels. Yet another drawback of roofing panels is their lack of aesthetic beauty. In addition, cleaning of the roofing panels is also difficult, which in turn renders maintenance of the roofing panels an arduous task. Also, often times building establishments such as homes and offices lack the appropriate roof space to allow installation of solar panels in the first place. At other times, roof space might exist but the orientation of the roof might render installation of solar panels inappropriate for production of energy.

To overcome the disadvantages commonly associated with mounting solar panels on roof tops of building establishments such as homes and offices, what is needed is a portable and easy-to-assemble structure on which solar panels can be easily mounted without any professional help or skilled labor.

The present invention seeks to overcome the disadvantages associated with mounting of solar panels on roof tops of building establishments such as houses and offices by providing a cheaper and more convenient alternative.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an easy-to-assemble building structure such as a gazebo or a storage space or an overhang with a mounting frame for mounting solar panels, photovoltaic or hot water or any other renewable energy device.

It is another object of the invention to provide an easy-to-assemble building structure for mounting solar panels that is economical as compared to mounting of solar panels on roofs of building establishments.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an easy-to-assemble building structure for mounting solar panels that is not as labor-intensive as the traditional roofing panels in terms of installation rather it is easy-to-assemble and does not require any professional help.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide an easy-to-assemble building structure for mounting solar panels that enhances the aesthetic beauty of the surroundings.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide an easy-to-assemble building structure for mounting solar panels that is easy to clean.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide an easy-to-assemble building structure for mounting solar panels such that lack of appropriate roof space in building establishments is not a limiting factor for installation of solar panels any more.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide an easy-to-assemble building structure for mounting solar panels such that the orientation of the roof in building establishments is not a limiting factor for installation of solar panels.

It is therefore an advantage of the present invention to provide an easy-to-assemble building structure such as a gazebo or a storage space or an overhang with a mounting frame for mounting solar panels.

It is another advantage of the invention to provide an easy-to-assemble building structure for mounting solar panels that is economical as compared to solar panels mounted on roofs of building establishments.

It is another advantage of the present invention to provide an easy-to-assemble building structure for mounting solar panels that is not as labor-intensive as the traditional roofing panels in terms of installation rather it is easy-to-assemble and does not require any professional help.

It is yet another advantage of the present invention to provide an easy-to-assemble building structure for mounting solar panels that enhances the aesthetic beauty of the surroundings.

It is yet another advantage of the present invention to provide an easy-to-assemble building structure for mounting solar panels that is easy to clean.

It is yet another advantage of the present invention to provide an easy-to-assemble building structure for mounting solar panels such that lack of appropriate roof space in building establishments is not a limiting factor for installation of solar panels anymore.

It is yet another advantage of the present invention to provide an easy-to-assemble building structure for mounting solar panels such that the orientation of the roof in building establishments is not a limiting factor for installation of solar panels.

The foregoing and other objects, advantages and features of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment which makes reference to the several figures of the drawing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the easy-to-assemble building structure and illustrates the position of the solar panels on the structure.

FIG. 2 is a 3-dimensional view of the shaft with projections that form what looks like winged flanges.

FIG. 3 is a 3-dimensional view of the element containing a recess which when used in conjunction with the shaft with projections forms an interlock assembly to support solar panels.

FIG. 4 is a 2-dimensional view of the inverted A-shaped projection of the shaft of the interlock assembly.

FIG. 5 is a 2-dimensional view of the element containing a recess in the interlock assembly.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the interlock assembly illustrating the supported solar panels.

FIG. 7 is a 3-dimensional view of a brace forming the apex frame.

FIG. 8 is an end-view of a hook-shaped end of a brace.

FIG. 9 is a 3-dimensional view of a stanchion that supports the easy-to-assemble building structure.

FIG. 10 is a 3-dimensional view of an apex cap of the support frame that is fastened to the easy-to-assemble building structure.

FIG. 11 is a 3-dimensional view of the spider joint that forms the connection between the apex frame and the interlock assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention relates to an easy-to-assemble building structure with a mountable frame for mounting solar panels, photovoltaic or hot water or any other renewable energy device and more particularly relates to an easy-to-assemble gazebo or a storage space or an overhang used for purposes of mounting solar panels. One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the present invention comprises of a supported easy-to-assemble structure on which solar panels, photovoltaic, solar hot water systems or any other renewable energy system can me mounted. A preferred embodiment of the present invention is depicted in FIG. 1.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the easy-to-assemble building structure and illustrates the position of the solar panels on the structure 10. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, six stanchions 40 of the easy-to-assemble building structure provide support to the whole building structure 10. A support frame 35 (not shown) is mounted on top of the stanchions 40 and is fastened to the stanchions 40 by means of fastening elements. The support frame 35 provides support to the apex frame assembly 30 (not shown) that rests on top of the support frame 35. The apex frame assembly 30 in the preferred embodiment of the present invention is composed of elements 45. Each element 45 is connected to the other element 45 so as to form apex frame assembly 30. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, a rod-like horizontal interlock assembly 25 composed of elements 70 and 75 and with winged flanges 20 passes through the center of the apex frame assembly 30 along its entire length and provides support to the solar panels 15. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the apex cap 70 embodies a projection 95 which embeds itself into the recess of apex support element 75 to form an interlock assembly 25. The solar panels 15 are supported by the shelves 85a and 85b and held down by the winged flanges 20 of the interlock assembly 25 on one side and the slotted portion 55 of each element 45 of the apex frame assembly 30 on the other side. The figure also illustrates a spider joint 60 that connects the interlock assembly 25 to four elements 45 to make the apex frame assembly 30. An inverter 65 is mounted on apex support element 75 of the horizontal interlock assembly 25.

FIG. 2 is a three-dimensional view of the apex cap 70 with a projection 95 that forms a cap in the form of winged flanges 20.

FIG. 3 is a three-dimensional view of the apex support element 75 containing a recess 90 that together with the projection 95 (not shown) of the apex cap 70 (not shown) forms an interlock assembly 25 (not shown) to support solar panels 15 (not shown). The shelves 85a and 85b provides an angled flat section to support the solar panels.

FIG. 4 is a 2-dimensional view of the inverted A-shaped projection 95 of the apex cap 70 (not shown) of the interlock assembly 25 (not shown) with a shelf or a flange.

FIG. 5 is a 2-dimensional view of the apex support element 75 containing a recess 90 in the interlock assembly 25 (not shown). The figure also illustrates shelves 85a and 85b and winged flanges on the apex support element 75 containing a recess 90 into which projection 95(not shown) of apex cap 70 (not shown) of the interlock assembly 25 (not shown) fits.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the interlock assembly 25 illustrating an inverted-A shaped projection 95 of the apex cap 70 that embeds itself in the recess 90 of the apex support element 75 of the interlock assembly 25. The figure also illustrates the solar panels 15 held down by the winged flanges 20 on the shelves 85a and 85b of the interlock assembly 25.

FIG. 7 is a three-dimensional view of a brace 45 forming the apex frame assembly 30 (not shown). In the preferred embodiment of the present invention there are eight braces that are connected together to form the apex frame assembly 30. The braces have a hook or a slot-shaped opening 55 to support and hold solar panels 15 (not shown) and together they form the apex frame assembly 30.

FIG. 8 is an end-view of a hook-shaped brace 45 of the apex frame assembly 30. The figure also illustrates the slotted portion 55 of brace 45 that supports solar panels.

FIG. 9 is a three-dimensional view of a stanchion 40. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, six such stanchions support the easy-to-assemble building structure 10 (not shown).

FIG. 10 is a three-dimensional view of a rod-like component 120 of the support frame 35. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, there are four such rod-like components that constitute the support frame 35 and they are fastened on top of the stanchions 40. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the support frame 35 is made of aluminum, wood or alloys and the like.

FIG. 11 is a three-dimensional view of the spider joint 60 that forms the connection between the apex frame assembly 30 (not shown) and the interlock assembly 25 (not shown). In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the spider joint 60 has two sets of arms 110 and 115 intersecting with one another. The ends of arms 110a and 110b are fitted into the slotted portion 125 (not shown) of braces 45 (not shown) of the apex frame on either end and 115a is fastened together with the apex support element 75 of the interlock assembly 25. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, there are two spider joints 60 at the proximal and distal ends of the interlock assembly 25 respectively.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention the easy-to-assemble building structure might encompass a solar water heating system that can be employed to heat swimming pools and the like.

Although the present invention has been particularly shown and described above with reference to specific embodiments, it is anticipated that alterations and modifications thereof will no doubt become apparent to those skilled in the art. It is therefore intended that the following claims be interpreted as covering all such alterations and modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.





 
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