Solar panels can be installed in a variety of different locations, from traditional on-roof domestic arrays to large scale ground mount, building integrated and more. To cope with the challenges presented by installing in different locations and on different surfaces, a wide range of mounting solutions exist.
The primary aim of a mounting solution is to fix the modules to the respective location, remaining fixed and secure throughout the system lifetime whilst protecting the integrity of the existing structure. However, there are many other factors will influence the decision in choosing an appropriate mounting structure. Some proposals may require an aesthetically pleasing finish, whilst others may need to be able to withstand increased environmental impact. Local weather data should always be considered when planning a suitable mounting system, with wind and snow loading data directly impacting the quantity of fixings required in certain areas and at certain heights. Fortunately, the Segen Design Tool takes such data into account when allocating fixings for a design, using data pulled from the nearest weather station of the entered postcode.
Ensuring compatibility between module and mounting system is also of great importance, with modules available in a range of different sizes, now more than ever it is easier to make a mistake when trying to choose a suitable mounting system. Many in-roof and flat roof mounting systems will only work with modules of a certain size, but the Segen Design Tool does the difficult work for you and will only allow systems to be designed with mounting systems suitable for the specific module you have chosen.
Choosing the correct mounting system is important, pitch and orientation has a large impact on system yield and there are many solutions out there that offer flexibility and the means to overcome site specific limitations.
Segen offers a wide range of mounting solutions across several large brands, to satisfy as many of the different enquiries you will come across as possible for both domestic and commercial applications – all of which are fully supported on our Segen Design Tool.
The typical domestic installation tends to take place on a tiled roof. These will generally be pantile, plain tile or slate. The most common type of mounting solution for this type of roof would consist of roof brackets appropriate for the tile type, and quantity appropriate for the location, fixed into the purlins of the roof. A railing system would then be connected to these brackets and the modules are clamped onto this railing system using a combination of mid and end clamps. This is a low cost and easy to install solution, lending it popularity. Providing the structural integrity of the building is sound, and the system has been specified correctly, this is a sensible and economical choice for most domestic installs. Slate roofs can be a bit more brittle than the standard tile, and in some instances, it is worth considering flashing around the roof bracket to protect the tiles and ensure the roof remains watertight.
Metal roofs are more likely to be the home of commercial installations. These roofs are normally found on larger buildings, used for industry, storage and agricultural. Trapezoidal metal sheeting is a common type of metal roof and given the existing raised profiles of the roof type, it makes for a very easy surface to fix module to. Segen offers MetaSole by Renusol and the SingleFix Solo solution by Schletter for trapezoidal roofs. Both systems allow for module mounting in portrait and landscape and require few components and little time to install. The low cost, time and labour intensity of these solutions are favoured by many installers. Seamed roofs are another popular metal roof type, these are formed by rolled metal sheets, the point at which these sheets meet being referred to as the seam. There are many different profiles of seams, and Segen offers a range of seam clamps to cover as many proposal types as possible. Once an appropriate clamp has been selected, these are bolted on to the seam profile and a railing system or panel can then be fixed directly on top.
A flat roof installation can present a few unique challenges. First a method must be identified of mounting the modules at an angle as close to the optimal pitch as possible. Secondly, a fixing method must also be decided. On many flat roofs it not always possible to fix directly into the roof surface, and a ballasted solution must be chosen instead. Segen offers a variety of options for flat roof mounting, from South facing to East West, fixable and weighted across Renusol and Schletter. The most basic of flat roof solutions being the ConSole tubs. As pre-formed plastic tubs they are incredibly quick and easy to install, the only catch being they are rather large and obtrusive and can require increased ballast due to the increased surface area they add. Additionally there is no flexibility on the angle of inclination. Whereas Flat roof framing systems such as Schletter’s FixGrid and Renusols FS10/18 can often be favoured due to their reduced ballast requirements, aesthetic appearance and accessibility for system maintenance. Although the assembly of such framing systems is more labour intensive than using something like a ConSole tub. Framing systems also have the option of being fixed into the roof, so if this is a possibility this can alleviate the need for ballast altogether. Many framing solutions can also be fixed at different pitches, allowing greater flexibility of design.
As solar panels have become more sleek and attractive over the years, there is now much to be said of the aesthetic enhancement that can be made to a property when swapping the typical on-roof metal railing system for an integrated mounting system that allows the panels to sit flush with the tiles. Such system types can take a little longer to install, but the result is a system that looks great in any portfolio. GSE and EasyRoof use specially formed plastic trays, fixed to the roof battens to achieve this. The ergonomic design of these frames ensures that water always runs down the front of the frame, protecting the roof. This type of solution is extremely versatile and with enough planning can be fit on almost on any roof type. We also offer a completely integrated PV mounting system, Viridian, in which the modules themselves have part of the mounting system integrated into their own frames. Compatibility plays a big part in choosing an in-roof solution. Viridian modules will only work with the Viridian mounting system, and certain panels will only work with certain GSE and EasyRoof frames. You can always check compatibility using the Segen Design Tool.