How to mount Solar Panels
How we mount the solar panels will have a big impact on the integrity of your roof including water tightness and aesthetics so its’s important to get it right.
Solar panels are often mounted on pitched roofs by fixing them to aluminium rails or an integrated system can be used, where the panels lie flush with the roof covering. There are also many different options for installing on flat roofs or even a ground mounted solution might be a better option.
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Above the roof, tile or slate
This is the most common method for fixing Solar PV panels to a roof. This cost effective system gives the best performance as there is maximum ventilation, allowing the panels to keep cooler on sunny days. Overheating reduces solar panel efficiency so keeping them cool helps to maximise power generation. Stainless steel hooks are attached to the rafters and we connect aluminium rails to the hooks and then clamp solar panels onto the rails. Any roof penetrations are carefully sealed.
In the roof
An integrated system can be used where the panels lie flush with the roof covering and for many people this is aesthetically more pleasing. This is ideal for new builds or re-roofs and although this system is slightly more costly to install, it is off-set by savings in the reduced need for roofing slates or tiles. Because there is less ventilation of the panels, performance can be affected very slightly.
Metal trapezoidal roofs
Many of our commercial installations have metal trapezoidal roof structures. The most common and cost-effective solution is to secure short rail lengths, normally aluminum, directly to the roof surface with thin sheet screws or rivets then place the panels directly on these rails and hold them in place with the use of panel clamps. This system keeps the panels very close to the roof to minimize wind loading.
Metal standing seam roofs
Though unusual, this type of roof is appearing more on new builds. We attach clamps to the standing seam of the roof, then a rail is attached to the clamps. No holes need to be drilled into your roof so you don’t need to worry about your roof being penetrated and water getting in.
South-facing ballasted mounts
We use the Van der Welk system of ballasted mounts as they are quick to install. The south-facing ballasted systems are ideal if you’ve got plenty of roof space, without penetrating your weather proofing. The panels all face in one direction at a 10o tilt angle and are available in portrait or landscape format.
East/west-facing ballasted mounts
These Van der Welk mounts have become popular over the last few years. Having an East/West system means that the ballast required is very low because the panels are mounted back to back, reducing wind resistance. It also means you can get much more power in a limited space. Again these have a 10o tilt angle and are available in portrait or landscape format.
Tm type ground mounts
The Tm type mounts are low level ground mounting structures are made from galvanised tubular steel which can be coupled together to make up an array of up to 12 panels. The modular design consisting of basic unit to suit two PV panels and extension units for an additional panels in increments of two. They can be fixed to a concrete foundation base or using poles driven into the ground.
N type ground mounts
The N type mounts are sturdy ground mounting structures for a higher level mounting, raising the bottom of PV modules 420 – 1250 mm above ground level. The N type suits medium sized systems with easy installation. Also made from galvanised tubular steel, they are designed to be fixed to a concrete foundation base. The panel tilt can be varied from 10 to 60º.
Sometimes customers decided to build their own roof on the ground. These have taken the shape of car port, log stores or sheds. Ideally the structure is tilted at an angle of 30-35 degrees from the horizontal.