The Different Kinds of Solar Panel Mounts
With the different types of solar photovoltaic systems, there are also different kinds of mounts that can go with it. You can pick one that can stand alone, or one that can be used in special situations. Here are the different kinds and the factors that you need to consider when picking: size, price, and convenience.
Types of Solar Panel Mounts
There are three different kinds of mounts for your solar panels – flush mounts, roof/ground (universal) mounts, and pole mounts. There are pros and cons for all three, and you need to think about them before making your decision to get into this technology.
The most cost-effective option when it comes to solar panel mounts, flush mounts are also the simplest to install. You only have to attach a metal bracket at both ends of your solar panel so it can be elevated a few inches from the surface, and you’re done.
A quick reminder when installing flush mounts for your solar panel: make sure there’s ample space between the underside of your panel and the surface of the roof – preferably 2-4 inches. This allows room for air to pass through and help cool your panel. Otherwise, the continuous contact between your panel and the roof will cause overheating and shortened life span for your panel.
The downside of using flush mounts for your solar panels is that they offer no flexibility and can only be used for small solar panels. This means, a new purchase when you want to install a bigger PV system.
Roof/Ground (Universal) Mounts
If you have large solar panel systems, roof/ground mounts are the best choice. These mounts can be installed using a grid-like system of support on both the ground and on top of roofs – hence the name – and most models are adjustable. The advantage of being able to adjust is that changing the tilt of your solar panel every three months ensures a more productive system.
When installing this kind of mount on the ground, make sure you have your panel elevated to make sure there’s no contact with plants and your panel is out of reach of vermin.
This type of mount, though, is bulky and a little unsightly. A lot of ordinances have been passed against it due to aesthetic reasons, so if you’re thinking of using this type of mount with your solar panel system, make sure you consult with your resident director.
Pole mounts are basically categorized into three, based on how they’re positioned in the pole: top of pole mounts, side of pole mounts, and tracking mounts.
Top of Pole Mounts is basically a combination of a metal rack and rail unit you attach to a sleeve that’s on top of a pole. An existing pole – 3-8 inches wide – is needed prior to installation, or you can get one constructed. You then slip the mount over the top of the pole, then the solar panels can be bolted into place.
You might encounter huge wind resistance when you install large Top of Pole mounts, so it is advised that you use heavy machinery and a lot of help when getting it installed.
Side of Pole Mounts are easier to install since they only need to be fastened to the side of any utility pole. This type of mount, however, is only for small solar panels – Top of Pole Mounts are better for bigger systems.
Tracking Pole Mounts are installed in the same way as top of pole mounts. The difference is tracking pole mounts have an additional function: they track the movement of the sun as it move throughout the day. This means a more optimized result in the output of your solar panels.