In recent times, buying solar panels has become a lot earlier due to easily available reviews about solar installers, solar inverters, and solar panels. However, it’s quite tough to find reviews about the best solar panel roof mounting systems.
Solar panel roof mounts are crucial for any rooftop solar panel system. There are a variety of mounting systems available in the market. In the blog, we’ll provide information about solar panel roof mounting and highlight the best solar panel roof mounting systems.
What is Solar Panel Mounting and Racking?
Solar panel racks and mounts are equipment that secures solar panels in place. Solar panel mounting allows the panel to be adjusted for optimal tilt which is based on seasons, latitude, and time of the day. It allows maximum solar energy production. The most common location for mounting roof solar panels is on the ground or on the roof. Let’s now learn about the best solar panel roof mounting systems.
3 Best Solar Panel Roof Mounting Systems
Although there are various solar panel roof mounting systems in the market, these three bands produce the best roof mountain systems.
Image from Ironridge.com
This is a solar mounting manufacturer that produces solutions for pitched roofs, flat roofs, and ground mounts for both commercial and residential applications. Its products range from moderate to extreme load capabilities. This company is known for producing some of the strongest mounting systems in the industry. Its solutions are quite helpful in extreme climates with high wind loads or large snow loads.
The IronRidge XR100 rail system of this company has 8-foot spanning capabilities. It is one of the best solar panel roof mounting systems and is designed to especially support heavy loads. It’s quite an easy system to assemble, even for new solar installers. This is because the system needs minimal parts and tools. For instance, just three socket sizes are needed to assemble the rack.
Additionally, the Iron Ridge XR100 has flashing attachments for just about every roof type for easy installation and higher durability. The mounting systems of this company are constructed of aluminum alloy which is best for installers because it is robust yet lightweight.
All the IronRidge systems have a 25-year warranty. They are also listed under UL2703, a standard for evaluating the efficacy of solar mounting systems. It is related to mechanical and electrical connections.
Image by k2-systems.com
This company was founded in 2004 and is a mounting as well as racking specialist in the international market. K2 has various options like corrugated fiber concrete, flat, tile, trapezoidal sheet metal, ground mount systems, and standing and round seam roofs.
This company serves the commercial, utility-scale, and residential markets across the globe. It also offers shared rail systems that reduce the number of rails that need to be installed and this allows solar modules to share rails.
The company also customizes solutions if its standard products aren’t fulfilling your requirements. It has provided racking and mounting solutions for over 20 gigawatts of solar energy capacity worldwide. They also offer design tools to help their customers build mounting and racking systems for their projects.
Also See: How to Remove Solar panels from Roof?
Image from snapnrack.com
SnapNRack solution has a snap-in system that attaches to the rails for easy installation. This system also makes it easy to mix module orientation for greater energy production. SunRun owns this company and it is involved in producing ground and roof-mount racking systems. However, it doesn’t provide commercial PV racking.
The company claims that it has the largest span capacity. Additionally, its railless system was the first one to earn Miami-Dade NOA approval due. Due to the area’s high susceptibility to high-velocity hurricanes, these systems are also quite stringent. With this, you have learned about the best solar panel roof mounting systems.
Components of Solar Roof Mounting Systems
After learning about the best solar panel roof mounting systems, let’s also learn about the components of solar roof mounting systems. Solar roof mounting systems are composed of several parts, these are the primary components of solar mounting systems.
These are long horizontal or vertical tracks that run along the roof. These are composed of aluminum. The solar panels are directly attached to the rails and their wiring usually runs along these rails. This keeps the installation tidy.
If you do roof penetrations for mounting solar, there are chances that the roof will leak if not properly sealed. That is why flashing is utilized to stop the water from penetrating the business or homes. Flashing is often made up of an aluminum rectangle.
However, keep in mind that the flashing is different for different roof types. For instance, in asphalt shingle roofing, flashing is often slid under the shingle. On the contrary, the standing seam metal roofs don’t require flashing if no roof penetrations are done, the racking system is directly attached to the roof’s seams.
3. Solar Panel Roof Mounts
This component is used in a solar mounting system that comes in direct contact with the roof. Mostly, it is attached to the roof through flashing, and a bolt also attaches to the rafters of the roof. Before you install a solar energy system, make sure that rafters are properly spaced and intact to secure the project properly.
Which Ground-Mount System is Best?
Now that you know about the best solar panel roof mounting systems, you must also be curious about the best ground mount systems. The main problem with rooftop solar is that it’s heavily constrained by the attributes of your roof. Due to this reason, some homeowners fo for ground-mounted solar panels. You should go for a ground-mount system if-
- You have insufficient roof space.
- Your roof faces north (this direction is bad for solar panel output).
- You want to optimize the performance of your system.
Your solar panel will produce the most amount of energy when they are facing south. However, depending on your house’s orientation, this isn’t always an option. Additionally, there might be further limitations on a roof like shade from surrounding trees and buildings.
The options you can choose from include a ground mount system that can be secured on the ballasted or ground mounts. Ballasted mounts sit on top of the ground and are not secured. However, they are held down by the weight of the panels. These mounts are more popular since they require no drilling during their installation.
Irongride and Unirac brands are the best options for ground mounts.
1. Unirac Ground Fixed Tilt
Image on unirac.com
The Unirac Ground Fixed Tilt is a great choice for ground mount systems. This system is lightweight and durable. Additionally, they come with a 25-year warranty. Unirac company ensures ease of construction and fast shipping. To determine the best ground mount system for your solar panels and terrain, hire a licensed solar installer.
2. IronRidge Ground Mount Systems
Image from ironridge.com
These IronRidge systems are built to be flexible, long-lasting, and weather-resistant. They come with a 25-year warranty. The exact price of this system is difficult to pinpoint because the price depends on the cost of material at the time of purchase, and the size of your solar array and many manufacturers request you to quote the price. After this, let’s also learn about the Best solar panel mounts.
Also See: 5 Rooftop Solar Panels Benefits
Best Solar Panel Mounts
There are different types of solar panel mounts in the market. There are roof mounts, tilt legs, ballasted mounts, ground mounts, pole mounts, and trackers. These are the best solar panel mounts for different mounting systems-
1. Best Roof Mount: IronRidge XR100
Image from altestore.com
IronRidge is a popular PV racking manufacturer involved in the production of quality roof-mount racking. Their solutions are available in three sizes: XR1000, XR100, and XR10.
The XR100 system is a standard roof-mount solution. Unless you need a reinforced foundation to hold up against heavy weather, this system will work for almost all systems.
If you live in snowy and windy areas, it’s recommended to go for XR1000. This system is built to be resistant to extreme conditions.
For areas with no snow and little wind, the XR10 system is a great lightweight solution. It’s good to install such a system in places like Southern California, where the weather is mild and warm.
Most folks go for IronRidge100. However, if you live in heavy snow and hurricane regions, it’s best to upgrade to XR1000.
To provide weatherproofing and protection for your roof, you’ll also need to attach flashing at the base of the mount. Your roofing materials determine the kind of flashing you use-
- Tile: Quick Mount flashings and tile hooks
- Single: IronRidge Flashfoot 2 is a default choice
- Slate: Quick Mount QBase slate flashings.
- Metal Roofs: S-5!’s metal roof clamps or SunModo EZ standing seam clamp
- Shake(wooden): Quick Mount shake flashings.
2. Best Tilt Legs: Quick Mount/SunModo
Image from sunmodo.com
It’s recommended to use IronRidge XR100 or XR1000 with the added tilt legs. Usually, these are paired with Quick Mount QBase low slope flashings. These flashings are code compliant for flat or low-slope roofs.
Another one of the best solar panel mounts is SunModo EZ Sunbeam. It is a commercial racking system. It can be built above air conditioners, on the top of the roof, and other obstructions. It helps maximize the use of built space on the rooftop.
3. Best Ballasted Mount: DynoRaxx
Image from dynoraxx.com
Ballasted mount aims to build your solar system without drilling into your roof. It’s extremely helpful for people who don’t own the property. For example, if it’s a commercial installation in a rented office building.
Dynoraxx ballasted racking systems are among the best-ballasted mount. These are made of fiberglass and thus are lightweight. They won’t even damage your roof and are also easy to install. Additionally, these fiberglass trays don’t contract or expand under the heat of the sun. So, they won’t warp or damage your roof.
Also See: On Grid Vs Off Grid Vs Hybrid Solar – Which is Best?
4. Best Pole Mounts: General Specialties or MT Solar
Image from generalspecialtiesmfg.com
General Specialities are among the best pole mount producers. They manufacture adjustable, high-quality mounts. These mounts are manufactured in the USA.
MT Solar pole mounts are also a good option. Their pole is quite easy to use and even easier to install. They can adjust to any other pole available in the market.
5. Best Fixed Ground Mount: IronRidge SGA
Image from ironridge.com
The IronRidge SGA ground mounts use XR1000 rail. This amount is also used for heavy-duty roof mounts.
However, for ground mounts, the rails need to be set on a substructure of a 2-inch or 3-inch steel pipe. Shipping such a substructure would be extremely expensive, so it’s recommended to source the steel pipes from a local building supply store.
Among the other ground mount systems, this is among the most affordable and easy-to-install options. Unless you live in extreme climates or have unique space concerns, a fixed ground mount will be sufficient for you.
6. Best Trackers: Wattsun
Trackers are among the least cost-effective mounting option in the market. It is great for residential installations. The trackers were very popular when solar panels used to be 5 or 10 times their present price. It made a lot more sense to get the maximum possible output from the panels.
However, today, it will be a lot better to use fixed ground mounts or pole mounts and add a few more panels to get extra output.
But if you still want to buy a tracker, you can consider buying Wattsun trackers as they are quite high-quality.
For commercial applications, it’s great to use the single-axis tracker to save space and maximize efficiency for large utility-scale installations. However, these systems don’t work well for residential systems.
How Much Do Solar Panel Mounting Systems Typically Cost?
After learning about the best solar panel mounts, you must also be curious about the cost of typical solar panel mounts. Nations Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the solar panel mounting systems cost around $0.10 per watt. Because of additional permitting, hardware, and installation costs, the ground mount systems cost more than rooftop solar systems. One good news for you is that if you qualify for the federal solar tax credit, you can apply it to the cost of mounting equipment and installation cost. For systems installed before 2023, the credit is 30%.
Also See: RV Solar Panels and Solar Kits – Beginners Guide
Where to Buy Solar Panel Mounts?
Well, most of the time, you can’t find a fully constructed solar panel mount system. To form a solar panel mount system, you’ll need to buy each component of this system separately. If you are doing your solar project in a DIY style, buying entire solar panel kits with their compatible racking solutions makes things a lot easier.
You can also browse the racking equipment online and then purchase the different components that make up the mounting system. However, make sure that these systems are the proper size for the panels you purchase. The best way to avoid any hitch in the solar installation process is to hire a licensed solar installer
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