Which Type of Solar Mounting System is Right for You?

Ashleigh AngellSeptember 21, 2018 1348 0

Which Type of Solar Mounting System is Right for You?

While you might not have put much thought into the types of solar mounting systems available to you, there are actually distinct differences between the two main types of mounting. You can either mount your solar panels to your roof using rails or going rail-less. While rail mounts are the most common when it comes to mounting a solar panel to a rooftop, knowing all the ways you can design your personal solar energy system is important in order to make an informed decision and fit it to your lifestyle.

How are railed mounting systems and their rail-less counterparts similar?

First, let’s look at what will be the same no matter which mounting system you decide to go with. For starters, both can be installed onto your existing roof. You won’t have to worry about building a new one. Both mounting systems have the same warranties if they have one. Regardless of which one you go with, a professional will need to install it for you. Finally, regardless of which system you choose, it will be fine with your inverter and will operate in the same way.

What is unique about the rail mounting system?

The rail mounting system is installed using a flashing. If you’ve seen how a roof vent is mounted, it looks similar to that. Following that is the support components, which will be necessary for keeping your metal rail attached and secure.

One of the main pros of this type of system is that it can be used with almost any module and the color will have no effect on it. This is why these are the most popular mounting systems. They come in silver or black, which means you’d be able to pick a color that most blends in with your roof and makes it more aesthetically pleasing. You can also install flashing which will keep rodents from making a home in your system. These also have an additional advantage of being the most common, which means there are more choices when deciding which mounting you want.

However, there are also some disadvantages, such as the weight of the rails, which may not be supported on your roof. Make sure to research how much weight your home can handle before finalizing your decision with these mounts. These also sit above the roof, making them more obvious. If you find solar panels to be an eye sore, these may not be the mounts for you. If you don’t install flashing, you are at risk of rodents making a home in your system, as well as having to deal with increment weather.

What is unique about the rail-less mounting system?

This mounting system works by being attached directly onto the panels of the roof, which creates a flat, sleek look.

The main pro of this system is that it’s less noticeable. You can also get flashing for these systems, as rodents and weather can also get into it if you don’t. These panels are much lighter on your roof, so if you have a building that can’t withstand too much weight, this is the optimal system. In addition, while wires on the rail mounting systems are visible, the wires in this system are placed beneath the panels, making them unable to be seen.

There are also some main disadvantages to this system, with the main one being that you can only install it with darker modules. This will mean your solar system will be more expensive overall. The wires beneath the panel, while being considered a pro usually, may also be a con if you have a need to run your wiring down the side of your building. There’s also less of these designs, which means you’ll have limited options and will have to find an installer who knows how to install them.

Overall, figure out which mount is right for you and your lifestyle. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing a design that fits your needs.

Want to get more information about integrating solar into your life? Check out the HahaSmart blog to learn more!

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