Mounting Solutions for Solar Energy Systems

For homeowners and businesses there are essentially 3 ways a solar energy system can be secured. Mounting to the rooftop of a structure is the most cost effective and the most common in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Other common options are to mount the panels directly to adjacent, open ground, and to mount them to a raised structure with sufficient access underneath for other purposes.

Rooftop Mounting Solar Power

While common, placing a solar energy system on the rooftop requires a certain degree of engineering. There are many options for solar panel racking and the corresponding anchoring techniques for those systems. But not every roof is designed exactly the same. Especially for homes, architectural preferences often take the lead in rooftop design. Physical styles that affect the pitch of the roof and objects that interfere on the surface require Southern Light Solar to take a close look at each structure.

Roof pitch – The angle or pitch of a roof is set to meet a number of criteria including drainage, snow shedding, and visual appeal. It is not always set to the ideal for mounting solar panels.

Roofing materials – A range of roofing materials are often chosen for similar aesthetics and for performance, too. The most common asphalt shingles are both economic and durable, and allow for easy solar panel mounting. Other materials such as wood shingles or shakes and slate pose their own unique challenges for solar energy system design. To see more check out the following:

Ground Mounting Solar Power

Although rare, not every rooftop is suitable for mounting a solar energy system. Often the available rooftop area is not sufficient to generate the preferred or needed amount of solar power to get the best solar savings and meet energy demands. For that reason, ground mounting of solar is frequently done to expand solar power generation to a capacity needed. When a rooftop is completely unsuitable, ground mounting may be the only viable option.

Solar ground mounting generally refers to most of the off-roof options. There are additional requirements and complexities that arise when choosing this method. Some of things Southern Light Solar must consider include the following:

Land Condition – The land must be clear enough for both for physical work and to avoid shading the solar panels once installed. Soils may need to be checked or analyzed to makes sure they are satisfactory and won’t create a future issue from settling or other effects.

Permitting – Some local authorities have their own requirements for permitting and inspecting any structures placed on open land. In general, ground mounting a solar energy system adds cost and in some cases can add significant time to complete a project.

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Solar Ground Mounting Styles

There are a number of off-roof ground mounting options in practice. Each has their own benefits and limitations, and in total they provide solutions to meet some of the most demanding solar power needs.

Direct Ground Mount – Whether multiple small solar panel arrays are mounted on poles or larger arrays are rack mounted similar to rooftop configurations, solar energy systems must be securely anchored to the ground. Many standard designs and options are available.

Solar Tracking Systems – Some of the highest performance systems available, solar trackers are motorized ground-mounts track the sun throughout the
day. The purpose is to ensure the solar panels are facing the sun directly as much as possible.

Solar Carports, Canopies & Pergolas

When open land is not an option or using open land exclusively for solar power generation is not preferred, mounting solar panels above ground to maintain other land uses is gaining in popularity. Solar carports or canopies provide uninterrupted space for things like premium, covered parking or other outdoor activities. Solar pergolas are used in a similar way, although they are typically smaller and designed for personal use, such as for patio and recreational shading.  To see more: