Solar Panel Racking and Mounting
Racking and Mounting Systems Overview
We start with roof mounting solar panel mounts as they are the most commonly installed. They will orient your solar panels in either Portrait or Landscape, which can then be easily tilted to any seasonal angle for maximum solar energy harvest, or mounted flat/flush.
When installing a roof mount racking system, there are structural considerations that need to be addressed such as wind loading, snow loading, seismic activity, & how strong your roof is to withstand these forces of nature, with the additional load of solar mounting hardware and panels. We offer the finest roof attachments and flashings on the market today for any style of roof finish. Whether your roof is made up of corrugated metal, composite shingle, standing seam metal, Spanish or flat tile, or even Rubber EPDM or tar, we’ve got your solar racking needs covered so that you can install a code compliant and built to last solar panel roof mount without leaks.
There are many ways to mount Solar Panels, most pictures on the internet show them mounted on the roof. The problem we have with roof mounting is that more than 85% of all houses in North America do not have a south facing roof, which is the optimal direction to divide the day before and after noon, thus giving you the most exposure hours to the sun, and the most solar energy production.
If you have a strong low sloping or flat roof, and want to install a solar array without making ANY roof penetrations what-so-ever, you want a ballasted roof mount system. The ballasted mounting equipment offers a fixed and relatively low tilt mounting system for solar panels. The racks are put in place and held down with bricks or cinder blocks. They are typically more pounds per square foot on your roof than standard mounts. However, we can help design this system in the most optimal way and the weight can be distributed so that you are still under 3- 4 pounds per square foot. In speaking with our engineers, your parameters can be calculated out and designed for your particular site requirements per your local building department or engineering.
Ground mounting is very similar to roof mounting except that you will be attaching the mounting equipment to concrete pilings, a slab, or to a sub structure that you have to build yourself. For this reason, this style of mounting may be the biggest project undertaking. However when finished, you get a solar array that is easy to tilt and change for the changing seasons to maximize your solar power output, no roof leaks to worry about, the best tilt angle for your area, and the perfect orientation to south.
We can provide many suitable options for mounting solar panels to optimize the sun hours in your location. The Top-of-Pole is probably the easiest rack system to install. You can place it in the best sun location on your property. It is one of the easiest mounting systems to maximize your energy harvest from solar because it can be adjusted from east to west to find your locations perfect True South. Not only can you point your array in the best direction, but you can easily change the tilt of your solar panels for the maximum seasonal power production.
Top of pole mounts have adjustment set points from 5 degrees to 65 degree tilt angles. A Top-of-Pole is mounted on a single piece of pipe in concrete and can mount up to 18 solar panels depending on how big they are, and how big your pipe is.
Another option for mounting is the Multi-Pole-Mount which utilizes a matrix of pipes for long distances. Solar panels can be attached to racking equipment bolted to horizontal pipes. The horizontal pipe is then attached to pipes set in concrete. This makes a good option along a fence line as the Multi-Pole system can be of any desired height off the ground, and you can literally stretch this type of structure for miles and miles. There is no limit to how long the array is. These typically mount anywhere from 2-4 modules stacked in landscape high. However, the east to west dimension of this type of solar installation has no limitation as to the amount of solar panels being installed.
For smaller arrays of solar panels there are also side-of pole mounts which are typically used for solar lighting, solar gate openers, fountain pumps or small well pumping. Side of pole mounting typically mounts 1-2 solar panels of smaller size on smaller gauge steel pipe.
Last but not least Solar Trackers are available which move a solar array with the sun from dawn to dusk. At first glance this seems to be the obvious choice because in some areas of North America, it is possible to add up to 30% more power harvest from a given solar array. However the further south you go the less gain you’ll get.
With the low price of solar panels these days, the high cost and routine maintenance of “Trackers” may not be worth it. It is much easier to add an additional Solar Panel to a less costly fixed array to make up the tracker gain, while eliminating the mechanical complexity.
We’re not discounting the practical use of trackers they do have a powerful advantage in a small but important niche of applications. If you have questions about Trackers, call us first, BEFORE you buy.
Call us Toll Free 888-826-0939 about Racking Choices for your Solar Panels.