Skip to main content
Home Improvements

UTSA College Students Engineer a New Solar Panel Roof Lift System

Provided by South Texas Solar Systems Inc. and Atlas Engineering

Atlas Engineering- Group of four mechanical engineering graduates from UTSA. (Benjamin Jacobsen, Vi Romero, Luis Aguilar, Esma Shahin) A group of four college seniors were required to innovate a ‘senior design’ as their final project before graduating with a Mechanical Engineering Degree from The University of Texas at San Antonio. The project originated from a series of discoveries with installations. One area of possible improvement was laborer safety while moving solar panels up to the roof on a ladder. A main point of interest included engineering a way to decrease overreach from the ladder and roof that comes with existing lift systems.

While some products on the construction market showcase lift systems that have the potential of carrying panels up to the roof, they are not able to position the panels to where the installer doesn’t have to reach over or around the lift system to get the panel off the ladder.

Solar photovoltaic capacity is projected to triple in the U.S. over the next 5 years and the demand for solar panel installations will increase accordingly.

Currently, residential solar panel installations are performed manually. South Texas Solar Systems follow the best safety practices in the industry, as laborers carry one panel up the roof at a time.

The Solar Panel Roof Lift, designed, manufactured, and tested by ‘Atlas Engineering,’ aims to drive down labor costs and safety risks by replacing the manual component of residential solar installations with a transportable, efficient design consisting of rail, carriage, and motor subassemblies.

The device seeks to replace the manual component of carrying individual solar panels, weighing anywhere from 40 to 50 pounds, up a ladder to deliver to residential roofs for installation. Imagine carrying a 40 pound, 3′ x 5′ solar panel up a ladder, 30 times in a row.

The Solar Panel Roof Lift succeeded in being able to lift up to five average sized solar panels up to a one story roof and maintain them at convenient position for holding meanwhile other operations carry on.

The device demonstrated stability, corrosion resistance, and transportability, all of which were important specifications for the design. The year-long Senior Design project proved a success, coming in under the initial budget, while further work may include improvements mainly for aesthetics.

The group of four UTSA alumni, self-named “Atlas Engineering”, would like to thank South Texas Solar Systems Inc. for their sponsorship and guidance.

For more information on South Texas Solar Systems Inc. and their commitment to Green Energy, please visit,

Leave a Reply