Updated: Jan 27
Solar panel modules require a special way of attaching them to surfaces and holding them in place. They are not weldered, soldered or hammered as they contain delicate parts that would be destroyed in the process. A solar mounting system is a metal structure or parts that are used to secure solar panels to structures. Since majority of solar panels are manufactured to be installed on rooftops, solar mounting systems are metal parts that are used to secure solar panels to rooftops in most cases. They are often an integral part of the entire solar electricity system design for retrofitting onto rooftops.
Components of A Typical Solar Mount
As all racking systems perform the same function, and though they are not all the same, there are components typical to all mounting systems. These include:
Flashings are a necessity because often times, mounting panels on the roof require that holes be drilled into the roof. Flashing are materials used to stop water from leaking through the holes drilled into the roof. Flashings are specially designed to serve this purpose. They are often made from a wide range of materials including rubber, aluminium, galvanized steel, etc. They also come in different designs.
2. Mounts and Clamps
Sometimes referred to as “feet”, often a bolt through the flashing and into the rafter, mounts are used to attach solar panels to the roof. Clamps are used to secure the solar panels to the rails.
Rails are often long aluminium tracks that are installed either vertically or horizontally on the plane of the roof to bear the weight of the panels. The clamps hold the rails to the mount and the panels themselves are clamped to the rails.
Solar mounts and racking systems are a separate product range offered by specialized brands in the solar industry including Iron Bridge, Ecolibrium Solar, Magerack, Pegasus Solar, Quick Bolt, RBI Solar, S-5!, KB Racking, SnapNrack, Unirac, Ironridge etc.
When a solar panel system is being designed for mounting on ground, a metal frame support is often constructed to lift the weight off the ground and bear the weight of the panel array. The panels will still have to be clamped to the metal frame using the same racking components described above. Unlike rooftop installations, which are angled against the already-titled roof and need no longer be tilted, ground mounts are, as a rule, constructed with a tilt. (Read all the considerations for the mounting of solar panels here.)
Ground mounted solar panels are usually a requirement for large-scale utility installations. The solar arrays are attached to the racking system with its foundation cast in concrete. There are cases where ground mounted solar arrays are required for residential installations especially with considerations about space allocation and shading.
These ground mounts can be installed on a fixed metal rack or on poles with adjustable orientation. Most ground mounts are made of metals but wooden structures that can resist strong winds while bearing the weight of the array can also be used in their construction.
Ground-mounted solar arrays are similar to solar carports in the fact that they both attach to the earth and are angled. The difference is in the height of the mounts. Ground mounted systems are mostly 3-7 feet tall making it hard to use the land beneath it for anything else. Solar carports, however, can generate the same amount of power while providing shade for vehicles or for other use. The land under the canopy provided by the solar carport is still usable since it has been designed and engineered to be as such.
Most Nigerian banks use the carport mounting system.
Sound racking systems are offered by specialized brands in the solar industry. KB Racking, Wind and Sun, Xiamen Grace Solar, Aikang Group, Taizhou Jingda Amperex, Sunracks, Universe Solar Technology, Goomax, Corigy Solar, Landpower, etc. All offer different designs of racks. In most local installations, they have to be designed and constructed locally by the welding of metal parts.
Solar mounts account for an insignificant percentage of the design budget of a typical solar system but of course, they are absolutely indispensable. Solar racks, on another hand, add significantly to the design budget and are indispensable as well.
SolarKobo has university-trained engineers who offer the best possible installation services in Lagos and around Nigeria on order.