5 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Mounting Your Solar Panels
Before you begin to install, consider these important aspects of racking in order to save yourself peace of mind, money, and time.
1. Choose the Right Racking: In order for your solar system to be the most efficient and cost effective, it is important to mount your panels on the right racking, taking into mind the importance of the scale of your project, the angle, and the location.
2. The Right Setup for Your Roof: Roof types can make a huge difference when setting up a solar power system. The type of roofing material can make mounting and racking less o more difficult. Choosing what works for your roof is a vital step, and one that should be seen ahead of time before you start spending.
Tile roofing is the most difficult because you need to fit hooks or brackets that are special for tile or brackets into your mounting in order to support the racks. Some roofers recommend replacing tile completley because tiles often break during the installation process.
Shingle or slate roofs need to be drilled into in order to mount your racking system. Due to the fragile nature of this material, measures need to be taken to make sure your roof doesn’t leak after installation. Shingle or slate roofs need to be in good state before mounting solar panels, a roof with a projected useful lifespan of at least 10 years is recommended.
Metal roofing is the easiest for mounting solar panels. It is durable and strong like the panels themselves. This type of roofing allows roof mount racks easily, with little extra work needed. Metal roof clamps either drill into the roof to fasten securely, or clamp onto the metal seams with no drilling necessary.
3. Efficiency: You want to get the most efficient setup you can in order to maximize your return on investment. However, high-efficiency panels are often costly, and are not necessarily better for residential customers. High-efficiency systems are best if working with a limited amount of space, where getting the most out of the room available is of essence.
An efficient solar power system is one that makes the most use out of the available hours of sunlight, considering the angle at which they’re mounted and the amount of roof or ground mount space available. You need to make sure your panels are mounted so that they don’t get covered by debris, shade, or other factors. Pine needles, leaf litter, or even a small amount of shade can reduce a solar panel’s output by 50%, so plan out your installation carefuly to get the most out of your investment.
Orienting your solar panels correctly can also help get the most out of your investment. “Solar-south” orientation is the best because it allows for the most coverage during the day, thus the most sunlight is collected by your panels. However, if your roof does not face solar-south, east and westward-facing panels can still be productive.
4. Ground Mount of Roof Mount: Setting up your solar panels on sturdy racking such as an IronRidge XR10, XR100, or XR1000 mount guarantees that your solar power system is secure and protected against high winds or bad weather.
Choosing the right racking comes down to cost and available space. Roof-mount racking is usually more affordable, and uses the available space on your roof, while ground-mounted systems can be more expensive with lots of preparation work required before installation (including obtaining soil samples, digging, and pouring cement upon which to mount your planned racking).
5. Price: Determining the size and cost of your solar project is an essential part of the process. You’re not only buying solar panels, but also charge controllers, power inverters, racking, battery banks and even generators depending on the size of your project and whether you choose grid-tied solar, off-grid solar, or another format.
Establish how much you’re willing to spend to get the most out of your solar power system before you start installation. The cost of your solar power system is only a part of the project. Some states also require engineering, soils samples, surveys, and permits to meet a solar installation, and can add unforeseen expenses that you will need to budget for and plan around.