Revolutionizing Renewable Energy for Commercial Roofs

By Susann Kunz

Solid Edge supports Dutch startup Rable in developing unique solar panel systems

The Netherlands, renowned for its commitment to sustainability, is at the forefront of the global green movement. With ambitious goals set by the Dutch government to make 16 percent of all energy sustainable by 2023 and achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, innovative solutions are crucial. Part of this movement is Rable, a Delft-based startup that is making waves in the renewable energy sector with its groundbreaking solar panel mounting system tailored for commercial buildings with flat roofs. Learn how the company is using Solid Edge and is benefiting from the Solid Edge Startup program to drive innovations in the renewable energy sector.

The Challenge: Unsuitable Roofs for Solar Installations

According to The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), more than half of Dutch commercial roofs are unsuitable for traditional solar installations due to their weak structures. This poses a significant hurdle in achieving the country’s sustainability targets. Recognizing this challenge, Rable has developed a self-supporting mounting and installation system, allowing solar panels to be deployed on these roofs without the need for extensive renovations.

Founding to Innovate

As the brainchild of Dirk van Deursen and Wouter van den Bos, Rable emerged in 2019 while the founders were involved in furniture fabrication. The company swiftly gained momentum with the addition of CEO Erik Valks, bringing almost a decade of experience in the renewable energy sector. With a modest yet ambitious team of eight and investments from Rubio Impact investors and the Rotterdam Energy Transition Fund, Rable entered the solar market in the current year.

Some of the RABLE Team: (from top left) Eric Valks, Costanza Sosa, Jordan Lam, Nikki Hoexum, and Luuk Verhagen (front row). (Image: RABLE.)

Rable’s mounting system stands out due to its truss design based on a lattice structure. The system is ballast-free, providing the benefits of solar panels while minimizing the impact on the roof. The patented tension cable, developed in collaboration with Delft University, makes the system self-supporting. This unique feature enables the Rable substructure to handle a maximum span of 25 meters without imposing excessive loads on the existing roof.

Siemens Collaboration Accelerates Innovation

Collaborating with Siemens and utilizing its software solutions, Rable transformed its vision into reality. The startup is part of the Solid Edge for Startups program and employs Siemens design and collaboration solutions, such as Solid Edge and Teamcenter Share, to develop its unique mounting system.

Solar panels mounted on support structure, rendering in Solid Edge (Image: RABLE.)

Costanza Sosa, lead product design engineer at Rable: “Specifically the Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is a very important feature for us, as it helps us to ensure the integrity and strength of individual parts, providing a robust foundation for the entire solar mounting system.”

In addition to FEA, Rable employs wind tunnel testing with scale models, mimicking real-world conditions. This comprehensive approach ensures that the mounting system not only meets theoretical expectations but also stands resilient in practical, dynamic environments. The synergy between simulation tools and physical testing sets the stage for a robust and reliable solar panel mounting solution.

FEA model of a RABLE part. (Image: RABLE.)

The Rable team seamlessly integrated Solid Edge into their workflow, streamlining the transition from digital design to physical prototypes. The software facilitates the transportation of detailed models to 3D printers, making tangible prototypes with precision. The marriage of digital design and rapid prototyping accelerates the development cycle, fostering innovation in solar panel mounting.

Teamcenter Share: Collaboration Redefined in the Cloud

Collaboration lies at the heart of Rable’s success story, and Siemens’ Teamcenter Share emerges as a pivotal tool in this narrative. This cloud-based solution provides a secure and dynamic space for the team to collaborate seamlessly. Costanza Sosa attests to its efficiency, stating, “Teamcenter Share enhances the efficiency and quality of my work. It’s an excellent tool for working with the team, allowing us to share information effortlessly and expedite the design process.”

The integration of Siemens’ solutions ensures the structural integrity of Rable’s mounting system and optimizes the entire design and collaboration process. Sosa’s testimony underlines the efficiency gains achieved through these tools, emphasizing the seamless synchronization between desktop design and cloud storage.

How Customers Benefit from the Invention, based in Amsterdam, installed 112 solar panels on Rable’s ballast-free mounting system, praising its lightweight substructure and innovative design. Another success story involves Reginox, which commissioned a scaled-up version of Rable’s mounting system, the Rable XXL, for its factory in Rijssen. Despite challenges with the existing roof construction, Rable’s self-supporting technology allowed the installation of over 200 solar panels. in Amsterdam installed 112 solar panels on RABLE’s ballast-free mounting system. (Image: RABLE.)
Project Reginox, Rijssen featuring the RABLE XXL. (Image: RABLE.)

Media Buzz and Future Prospects

In its short time in business, Rable has garnered attention from potential customers and the media alike. The company’s ability to address the current conditions of most existing roofs in the Netherlands positions it as a key player in achieving the country’s sustainability goals. Rable’s unique approach has gained coverage from RTL news, showcasing the company’s commitment to eliminating the need for expensive roof renovations for solar installations.

Solid Edge for Startups – a Crucial Criteria for Success

As the Netherlands pedals towards its sustainability goals, companies like Rable play a pivotal role in steering the nation in the right direction. Their commitment to innovation and sustainable practices contributes significantly to the country’s green journey. To explore more about Rable’s solar panel installation system, visit Rable’s website For further information on Siemens’ Solid Edge for Startups program, visit

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at