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What type of solar module mounting structure should I use?

There are four basic types of mount structures:

  • Roof/ground
  • Top-of-pole
  • Side-of-pole
  • Tracking mounts

Roof mount structures typically keep the wire run distances between the solar array and battery bank to a minimum, which is good. But they also require roof penetrations in multiple locations (a potential source of leakage) and they require expensive ground fault protection (GFP) (a requirement in article 690-5 of the National Electrical Code).

Ground mounted solar arrays do not require GFP but they do require fairly precise foundation setup and are more susceptible to vandalism and excessive snow accumulation at the bottom of the array.

Pole-top mounts are relatively easy to install. After squarely securing a pole (steal or treated wood etc.) into the ground, the solar modules are mounted and racked on top of the pole. Pole-top mounts are a better choice for cold climates because snow slides off easily however they may be hard to clean.

Pole-side mounts are easy to install, are typically used for small numbers of solar modules (1-4) for remote lighting systems where an pole exists to attach them to.

Trackers increase the daily number of full sun hours and are used for solar water pumping applications. Trackers are extremely effective in the summer time when water is needed the most. In northern climates (or zones further away from the equator), typical home energy usage peaks in the winter when a tracker mount will make very little difference. A less expensive fixed roof, ground or pole-top mount with more modules will perform better in the winter than fewer modules on a tracker. However, in southern climates (or areas closer to the equator) your energy usage peaks in the summer and a tracker system may be the better solution.

General Lead Acid Battery Description
General Lead Acid Battery Applications
General Lead Acid Battery Types
General Lead Acid Battery Chemistry
Discover® Sealed Valve Regulated Lead Acid Batteries
Discover® Deep Cycle AGM Battery
Discover®700 Series Dry Cell Battery
Discover® EV Traction Dry Cell Battery
General Benefits and Features of Discover Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) Technology
Sales Channels for Discover Battery Technologies
Things to question when making a battery buying decision
What to consider when buying a deep cycle battery
Information gathering before buying batteries
Calculating cost to own when purchasing batteries
Safety First
Safety and Productivity
When working with batteries
When handling battery acid
When installing or replacing batteries
When booster cables are used
Danger of exploding batteries
Warning and warning labels
Parallel connections for sophisticated users and installers
Parallel connections for unsophisticated users and installers
When charging batteries
Selecting a charger
General charging information for AGM and GEL batteries
GEL battery charging
AGM battery charging
Equalizing (Flooded batteries only)
Typical self-discharge of VRLA batteries at different temperatures
Typical self-discharge of high quality deep cycle flooded batteries at different temperatures
How much will a system cost for my 2000 square foot home?
Can I use all of my normal 120/240 VAC appliances?
What components do I need for a grid-tie system?
What components do I need for a complete solar system?
What type of solar module mounting structure should I use?
Where should I mount the solar modules and what direction should I face them?
Should I set my system’s battery bank up at 12, 24 or 48 VDC?
Should I wire my home for AC or DC loads?
Can I use PV to heat water or for space heating?
How do solar panels (cells) generate electricity?
Will solar work in my location?
Tables & Figures