Solar Mounting Systems PART 1 – General Information
A solar mounting system is the base of your solar installation. Much like building a house on a good strong foundation, it is also very important to have a good strong foundation on which to mount your solar panels. By choosing a good quality mounting system you are ensuring your system will last the test of time and ensure a good return on investment.
With so many different mounting systems on the market today it is important to ask some questions.
• What materials are used in the manufacture of the mounting system and is it rust free?
Living on the coast presents a few conditions that cause rust and corrosion to occur. It is imperative that your mounting system will last and not weaken over time; after all it is the base of your solar investment
• Is the mounting system approved for installation in your wind region?
Location determines the wind region. In QLD, anywhere within 100kM of the coast line experiences high wind loads. Some mounting systems are not manufactured to withstand these wind regions and some do not have cyclone ratings.
• Are there structural certificates available for the customer to view proving Australian certification and wind region approval?
Any good mounting system should have the relevant certificates available showing their approval for installation in Australia and in your wind region.
• What type of mounting system is required? Flush Mount, Tilted or ground mount?
Some roofs will require the system to be tilted to optimise performance. In Australia, North, west or East facing systems are common. East and West are more common now days due to the feed-in tariffs being so low. In some cases the system will have to be pole or ground mounted. The principle of choosing a good quality mounting system still applies here.
• How high is the building or structure that the mounting system is to be fixed to?
Some racking systems are only approved to be installed on domestic houses no higher than 2 or 3 stories high. When mounting on high rise apartments or office blocks a different set of rules apply. The mounting system has to be installed in such a way that it can handle the extra stresses that are exerted to it in these areas. Again, certification and installation guidelines should be available from the manufacturer of the mounting system to show that it is engineered to withstand these conditions.
Be sure to ask these important questions before you have solar panels installed because the Mounting system is what actually holds the solar panels down and the last thing you want is your installer using a cheap product that may and probably will fail in the future causing damage and a lot of heartache!!!