Solar Panel Mounts
One of the most commonly asked questions about solar panels is how are they mounted. Generally the biggest question is: will the mounts damage my roof? The answer is no. With proper installation solar panel mounts are carefully used and designed to give maximum support while not compromising the integrity of the roof.
Mounts come in all sizes and shapes. Each mount is designed specifically for the kind of panel it will support. Some other considerations include: size, affordability, utility and convenience of installation. In these section we will explain some of the most common forms of mounts that are used for solar panels in Ontario.
Generally speaking, these are the most common and cheapest form of mounts. They are formed by placing a metal end bracket on each side of the panel. This elevates it several inches from the surface. Flush mounts are usually used on rooftops and also RVs. The design of the flush mount doesn’t allow it to support larger pieces of panelings.
Flush mounts require an minimum of 2-4 inches between the surface of the roof and the underside. This is done to allow cooler air to flow under the panel and keep it from overheating. While you might think a solar panel can’t overheat, it can. Flushing your mount system with natural air flow is an important way to keep your system from quickly overheating and reducing the lifespan.
It’s important to keep in mind that flush mounts are ideal for smaller stand-alone systems. They lack flexibility in where you orient the paneling.
If you have adequate space, roof-ground mounts offer a stronger form of support. These are often used in rural settings or areas away from the electrical grid. These systems can be installed on both the roof (depending on structure) and on the ground. Due to their strong structural support, they can appear as bulky and industrial.
For installation in residential areas, please consult with a local municipal official. Some areas have laws against installation of such devices for aesthetic reasons. Roof-Ground mounts offer an adjustable base that allows you to modify the tilt of your panels. Solar installation experts advice a ¼ year interval angle change to maximize power generation.
Additionally, these units can be adjusted in height by adding additional poles or concrete blocks. Like all systems they should be elevated to avoid damage.
Pole mounts are generally constructed using a metal rack and an accompanying rail unit which is bolted to a large sleeve resting on top of the pole. You can install these units yourself as long as your construct a properly supported concrete base. The size of the solar panel will be determined by the base. The larger and more supportive the base the higher weight load it can maintain.
One of the key areas of consideration when using pole-mounted solar displays in various regions of Ontario is wind resistance. Given the size and shape of the panel, pole mounts can easily become subject to a large amount of wind resistance. This problem can be handled by using a larger base or additional extra-strong mounting.
Pole mounts offer the favorable advantage of being able to track the position of the sun. This can be automated or require manual turning depending on your budget. Readjusting your pole mounts allows you to get maximum efficiency out of your solar power system.