Solar Panel Roof Mount Diy - Aurora Roofing Contractors

DIY Solar Mount

Solar Electricity Generation / January 23, 2017

This section covers the thinking that went into the mount design, and the construction and installation of the PV panel mounts.

The Mount Design

The goals for the mount system were:
- Strong enough to withstand very strong winds. Even though this is normally a low wind area, we do occasionally get storms with high winds. I did not want my PV panels to end up in the next county.
- A long life. The panels will probably last for 30 years, so it seems like the mounts should last just a long.
- A simple, uncluttered look.
- As cheap a system as meeting the above goals allowed.
This is all highly subjective, and there are no doubt lots of good ways to get to a good mounting system, but this is what we did.
We considered buying a metal racking system. Several of these are offered. We decided against this partly on cost grounds and partly because I like the look of a simple wood rack better than a forest of metal poles. But, the advantage of going with a metal rack would be that you get a pre-designed system that should go together easily and hold up well - these are advantages worth considering. Either way, you have to dig and pour the concrete footings, which is the biggest job.
I settled on the simple treated lumber support rack that is made using relatively heavy (4X4) members spaced fairly far apart. I thought that this looked cleaner and would be easier to build than a more elaborate trusswork of smaller members.
The PV kit that I bought came with IronRidge aluminum rails to mount the PV panels to. This is a very nice system which does a good job of securing the panels and micro inverters. Standard IronRidge hardware that came with the kit was used to secure the PV panels to the rails, and to splice the rails together. There are other manufactures of similar systems.

Aluminum rails that panels mount to.

Slide in mounting hardware to attach PV panels

The spacing of the 4X4 supports is based on the wind table provided by IronRidge showing basically that if the rail is supported at 7ft or less intervals, using their "L" brackets that it will be good for very high winds. I spaced the 4X4 supports at just over 6 ft to be on the safe side.
I had a rough look at wind loads on each of the 4X4 support structures, and concluded (at least to my satisfaction) that they were up to the loads that the rails would impose on them with very high winds. But, I'm an airplane guy, not a wind guy, so if you use this design you should satisfy yourself that its OK for the loads.