Solar Panel Mounting Methods: A Guide to Understanding the Installation Process

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Are you considering installing solar panels on your roof, or are you curious about the mounting methods used in your neighbourhood? If so, it’s important to understand the various racking and mounting systems used in residential installations to create a durable and long-lasting renewable energy system. This article will explore the most common racking and mounting systems industry professionals use for roof-mounted solar systems.

The Solar Mounting Process

Solar Panel Mounting is much more complicated than just screwing the components into your home. Professional solar installers follow a specific process to ensure the system is approved for safe operation and performance. Here are the steps involved:

Installing the Solar Panel Mounting

First, Solar Panel Mounting brackets are placed on your roof to provide a place for the solar panels to sit. Solar mounts are typically attached directly to roof rafters for sturdiness and may require penetration to properly anchor the system. Your installer will ensure that the mounts are properly sealed and covered to be watertight and resistant to corrosion or damage.

Installing the Solar Panels

Once the mounts are installed, most solar energy companies add long metal components called “rails” to further support the panels. While some “railless” systems allow solar panels to be placed directly on mounts, railed or racked methods are traditionally more common. On top of each horizontal rail, solar panels essentially “snap into place” with support against heavy weather conditions on a sloped roof.

Installing the Electric Wiring

After the solar panels are in place, the system is then wired so that the electricity can be generated and sent to the home and grid. Wires are contained in a metal conduit to protect against outside conditions and fed into the inverter, electrical meter, and other system components.

Solar Panel Mounting Hardware

Here are four specific pieces of hardware that are usually required to mount a new solar panel system properly:


Solar panel mounts such as L-feet can be lagged into the roof rafters to provide a safe and secure place for the system to sit.


Solar flashings provide a waterproof barrier to prevent leaks from rain or snow. Flashings are typically made of rubber, aluminium, or galvanized metal.


Rails, or “racks,” are long, aluminium tracks installed horizontally to bear the weight of the panels and prevent them from sliding off the roof.


To ensure that every component will stay in place, solar panels are usually secured to the rails with a system of stainless steel screws and clamps.

Choosing the Right Solar Mounting System for Your Home

Choosing the right hardware for a solar panel installation must be made based on a few specific variables. Here are four key things that should be considered:


Most solar panel racking systems look similar, with most of the hardware hidden below the panels. Skirts are typically not recommended as they can collect debris and encourage animal nesting. If you have visibility concerns from your HOA, talk to your installer about solar access laws in your area.


Hardware choices must be made based on your roof’s unique characteristics and compatibility with other components in the system.


While high-quality materials may be more expensive upfront, a safe and secure installation is worth it when considering the potential consequences of roof damage from shoddy parts, poor craftsmanship, or voided warranties.

Installer Expertise

Professional help is almost always required to access the expert techniques, equipment, and labour guaranteed to create a durable and long-lasting renewable energy system.


In conclusion, while the installation process may appear straightforward, professional help is crucial for the performance and safety of the system. Choosing the right solar panel mounting materials is crucial for the performance and safety of the system.

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