SOLAR PANEL MOUNTING METHODS
Wherever you want to stick them, we’ve got a solution
On the roof, on a pole, on a flat roof, on the ground, whatever your desire is for the location of your solar PV, we can provide a solution to stick them wherever you need them.
We’ve all seen Solar PV panels mounted on people’s roofs and on the roofs of businesses, so here’s a run down of the options to get them up there.
Above roof, tile/slate
By far the most common method for fixing Solar PV panels to a roof is the ‘Above roof’ option. Normally the lowest price it also gives the best performance as there is maximum ventilation, allowing the panels to keep cooler. See our ‘Not all solar is the same’ page for information on how heat affects solar pv performance.
Strong hooks are attached to the rafters and the weather proof seal is applied. Rails are attached to the hooks and the solar PV panels are then clamped to the rails.
Most common on new builds or re-roofs where the slightly higher price of the mounting system is off-set by the savings in roof material where the panels are placed. The Solar PV becomes your roof fabric with panel sized flashing trays being attached to the roof first and the solar PV panels are then clamped to the flashing trays. It gives a much neater feel to the installation, however you are likely to loose about 3%-5% in performance due to the decreased ventilation of the panels.
Metal trapeziodal roofs
Here the rails are secured to the ridges of a metal roof using self-tapping screws. The base of the rails has a waterproof membrane to ensure a secure weather seal. The Solar PV panels are then clamped to the rails, keeping the panels very close to the roof to minimize wind loading.
Metal Standing Seam roofs
Clamps are attached to the standing seam of the roof. Then either a rail is attached to the clamps or the solar PV panels can be clamped directly to the standing seam clamps.
Why not make use of the whole of your roof, these systems mean that your solar PV panels are the fabric of the roof serving two purposes, weather proofing and energy supply. The solar PV panels frames need to be bespoked for the mounting system so there is a limited choice of panels with these set ups. Luckily there are still good quality panels to choose from.
There are some tile or slate shaped solar panels available on the market today. Tesla Tiles are also going to be available late in 2017. This is where you can mix your choice of roof fabric with solar PV slates or tiles. They fit to the roof in the same way as slates or tiles do.
There’s a plethora of solutions for flat roofs, the main concern with flat roofs is usually how much weight the roof will hold.
Practical for ground mount and flat roofs, these are plastic bins that are ballasted to ensure the wind can’t move your panels. You may need quite a lot of ballast so a strong roof structure is often needed to make this choice. This picture shows them on a cedum roof for which they are the ideal solution.
East/West mounting systems
Becoming very popular over the last few years. Having an East/West system means that the ballast required is very very low. It also means you can get much more power in a limited space. Many people are surprised as they think Solar PV panels must be south facing. These systems will still generate more than 90% of their south facing counterparts. And if using one means you can fit more panels in to the same space then they make a lot of sense.
Flat Trapezoidal roofs
Screwed to the trapezoidal roof in the same way as pitched trapezoidal roofs, these frames allow you to pitch your solar PV panels for optimum performance.
Ballasted south facing flat roof mounts
As many people are nervous about roof penetrations on a flat roof, these south facing ballasted systems can increase your yield if you’ve got plenty of roof space, without penetrating your weather proofing.
Who said you had to put panels on your roof? There’s a lot of options for having solar PV mounted on the ground.
Just like you may have seen the many solar farms using, metal frames come in a variety of layouts, two panels high in landscape, single panels in portrait etc etc, pretty much any set up you like is available. Usually set on concrete bases, these frames can help you make use of some dead ground.
Mono-pole metal frames
Another choice with metal frames, the upright posts are pile driven in to the ground, saving on concrete and reducing the footprint of the array.
Build your own structure
Lots of customers have decided to make their own roof on the ground. These have taken the shape of log stores, chicken sheds, part of a gazebo or simply a wooden structure instead of a metal frame.
A heavily ballasted plastic bin is the best way we’ve found of describing these. They allow very flexible placement of solar PV panels and if you ever need to move them you can just unplug the panels and move the bins.