COMPANY-----------MicroFIT & FIT------------CONTACT US
GO GREENER!
GO GREENER!

Renewable Energy
Systems & Componets

COMPLETE SYSTEMS

SOLAR PANELS

INVERTERS

TRACKERS & MOUNTING SYSTEMS

BATTERIES

CABLES
& WIRING

ELECTRICAL ENCLOSURES & SAFTEY

CHARGE
CONTROLERS
METERS, COMM.S & SITE ANALYSIS
DC TO DC VOLTAGE CONVERTER INVERTER POWER PANELS
 

SOLAR WATER PUMP

 


Need Help Selecting Components?

Contact Us


PRODUCTS
Batteries
Batteries: Flooded Lead Acid
Batteries: Sealed Agm
Batteries: Sealed Gel Cell
Desulfators
Enclosures
Ventilators/Battery Fans
Watering Caps

Books, Classes & Educational Videos

Classes
Educational Videos
General Renewable
Micro Hydropower
Solar Electric and Passive Solar
Solar Hot Water Systems
Wind Energy

Cables & Wiring

Battery Interconnects
Battery To Inverter
Tools
Wire By The Foot
Wiring For Solar Panels

Charge Controllers

Solar Charge Controllers
Solar Lighting Controllers
AC Charge Controllers
Constant Voltage Regulator
Diversion Load Controllers
Temperature Sensors

Composting

BigBelly Compactor
Compost Toilets
Garden Composters

DC Voltage Converters

Enclosures, Electrical and Safety

Electrical Enclosures
Lightning Protection
Miscellaneous Electrical Parts
NEC Compliant Safety Labels
Outback Flexware Components
Overcurrent Devices (Fuses & Breakers)
Switch Gear Disconnects

How To Section
Inverters
Export Inverters (230V 50Hz)
Inverter Accessories
Marine Inverters
Mobile / RV Inverters
Off-Grid: (No Utility-Needs Batteries)
On-Grid & Off-Grid Capable Inverters
On-Grid: (Grid Intertie-No Batteries)

Kits and Package Deals

Grid-Tied Systems
Grid-Tied with Battery Backup
Off-Grid Cabin Systems
Off-Grid Residential Systems
Other Packages and Special Deals
RV Solar Packages

Meters, Communications
& Site Analysis

Data Communications
Meters & Battery Monitors
Shunts
Solar Site Analysis Tools
System Monitors
Wind Data Instruments

Portable Power

Solar Panel Mounts & Trackers

Active Trackers
Ground Mounts
Passive Trackers
Roof Mounts
RV & Specialty
Side Of Pole
Top Of Pole

Solar Panels

1 to 50 Watt Solar Panels
51 to 99 Watt Solar Panels
100 to 149 Watts Solar Panels
150 Watts & Up Solar Panels
Flexible / Rollable Solar Panels
Foldable Solar Panels
Solar Panels by the Pallet
BIPV - Building Intergrated Photovoltaics
Solar Electricity Education

Wind Turbines

VAWT Wind Turbines (Electric)
HAWT Wind Turbines (Electric)
Wind Turbine Towers
Wind Data Instruments
Wind Power Education

RENEWABLE ENERGY SYSTEMS & COMPONENTS

How To for Solar Panel Mounting

Solar electric panel arrays for stand-alone systems are installed in many unique and innovative ways. However, there are common issues involved in any installation, whether the array is fixed or tracking, mounted at ground level, or on a pole or building. The array orientation and tilt angle considerations are discussed in the article Solar Panels (Photovoltaic Panels): Overview.
Roof mounting of solar panels that run flush with the roof's surface.

The objective is a solidly mounted solar panel array that will last for many years and withstand all kinds of weather. Regardless of whether you buy or build the mounting structure make sure it is anchored and the modules are restrained. Several manufacturers make mounting structures designed to work with almost any solar panel model. This hardware is intended for multiple applications and different mounting techniques and considerations like wind loading have been included in the design. Using this mounting hardware is the simplest and often the most cost effective. Customized array mounting structures can be expensive.

Consider the characteristics of various mounting materials:

  • Aluminum - lightweight, strong, and resistant to corrosion. Aluminum angle is an easy material to work with, holes can be drilled with commonly available tools, and the material is compatible with many PV module frames. Aluminum is not easy to weld.

  • Angle Iron - easy to work with but corrodes rapidly. Galvanizing will slow corrosion but mounting brackets and bolts will still rust, particularly in a wet environment. The material is readily available and brackets can be welded easily.

  • Stainless Steel - expensive and difficult to work with but will last for decades. May be a good investment in salt spray environments.

  • Wood - inexpensive, available, and easy to work with but may not withstand the weather for many years--even if treated with preservative. Attaching modules to a wooden frame requires battens or clips to hold them in place.

The foundation for the array should be designed to meet the wind load requirements of the region. Wind load depends on the size of the array and the tilt angle. Ask a local contractor how to anchor your array to withstand the wind expected in your area.

Changing the tilt angle of an array to account for seasonal changes in sun altitude is not required. For mid-latitude locations, a tilt angle change every three months is estimated to increase energy production about 5 percent on an annual basis. For most applications, the additional labor and the added complexity of the array mount does not justify the small increase in energy produced.
Passive solar trackers automatically move solar panels to face directly into the sun without using any electricity.

If tracking of the solar panel array is desired, the recommended trackers are single-axis units that require little control or power. One kind of passive tracker is driven by a closed Freon system that causes the tracker to follow the sun with adequate accuracy for flat-plate PV modules, such as the Zomeworks. In high wind areas a powered tracker may be preferred. Pole mounted trackers that support 4 to 12 PV modules are available and often used for small stand-alone systems, particularly water pumping applications. The tracker manufacturer will provide all the array mounting hardware and instructions for securely installing the tracker. The amount and type of foundation for the pole-mounted tracker depends on the size of the array being supported. Reinforced concrete with anchor bolts is recommended. The foundation and frame should be designed to withstand the worst case wind expected in the area. The movement of the array should be checked to make sure the path is clear of obstructions.

In general, roof mounting of solar panels is more complex than either ground mounting or pole mounting. Roof mounts are more difficult to install and maintain, particularly if the roof orientation and angle are not compatible with the optimum solar array tilt angle. Penetrating the roof seal is inevitable and leaks may occur. Also, it is important to achieve a firm and secure attachment of the array mounting brackets to the roof. Attaching the mounting brackets to the rafters will provide the best foundation, but this may be difficult because module size and rafter spacing are usually not compatible. If there is access to the underside of the roof, 2 x 6-inch blocks can be inserted between the rafters and the attachment made to the blocks. Attaching the array to the plywood sheathing of the roof may result in roof damage, particularly if high winds are likely.

If a roof mount is required, be sure to allow a clear air flow path up the roof under the array. The array will operate cooler and produce more energy if it stands off the roof at least 3 inches. Flush mounting solar panels to the roof of a building is not recommended. The modules are more difficult to test and replace, and the performance of the array is decreased because of the higher operating temperatures.