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Options for Installing Solar Panels

Many different ways to mount solar panels around your house


If mounting your solar panel on your roof is not possible, there are many options available.
For instance, pole mounted panels is one option. These are mounted on top of a sturdy pole. This keeps them away from harm and allows for them to be adjustable, and reachable to remove snow. A pole mounted panel can either be fixed or moveable (a tracker), which follows the rays of the sun. All trackers are pole mounted. Fixed racks can be ground mounts, pole side mounts, roof mounts, or even RV/Boat mounts.
Placement of your solar panels is very important. Be very careful NOT to place your panels where they will be shaded by any obstruction, including trees, fences or other buildings. The shadow of your house moves an additional 22 feet in the winter. If you put your panels that close to your house, you will have much less collection during the winter months.

Solar panels produce the most electricity when they are facing perpendicular to the sun. So, there will be four times a year when you need to adjust them. The dates and manner that this is to be done is:

  • February 5th -set the panels to the same angle as your latitude
  • May 5th-set the panels to the same angle as your latitude minus 15 degrees
  • August 5th-set the panels to the same angle as your latitude
  • November 5th-set the panels to the same angle as your latitude plus 15 degrees

Roof mounts are nice but they require a lot of time and effort to move them. Do you want to walk across a slippery roof to adjust your panels or to sweep snow off them? This is when a solar mount rail system can be used. The most common rail mounts are attached to the roof first, then the panels are placed in from above. If your roof isn't the optimal angle for mounting the panel, tilt legs can be used to tilt the panel for optimum collection.
Side pole mounts are mounted to the side of a pole using U-bolts. These can hold one to four modules. The number of panels that can be mounted will determine the size of the pole to be used.
Ground mounts are probably the easiest to use. The mount resembles an A-Frame. It is best to secure the frame in cement to assure safety and stability. Ground mounts are designed to hold from one to eight solar modules. Ground mounts can be used to mount to poles, to a roof or any other vertical surface. Some have adjustable tilt legs.
Panels mounted to a roof of a residence are required to have ground fault protection.
It is a good idea to ground all panels to avoid damage from lightning strikes.

How Solar panels Work

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