April 22, 2015
If you are just beginning the search for what type of solar system you should install, you may be confused with all of the options that are available. There are many solar panel manufacturers, many inverter manufacturers, and many different ways of mounting your solar array. Fortunately, we have a lot of experience in all of these areas, and will guide you through the process, step by step, finding the right solution for you.
However, we will try to clear up one of the primary questions before you get into the other intricacies of installing a solar system — where can my solar array be installed? There are three primary options for where to install a solar system: your pitched roof, your flat roof, and your yard space.
We call a solar array installed on a pitched roof a “Roof Mount” or “Roof Mounted” solar system. The roof material can consist of various materials such as shingles, corrugated metal, standing seam, slate or other various materials. These solar arrays are attached directly to the roof and usually bolted directly into the roof trusses. To read more about the types of roofing attachments, click here.
Many businesses and some homeowners have a flat roof consisting of various materials from a rubber roof to an aggregate roof. Solar can be installed on these roofs as well, however the mounting systems do not penetrate the roofing material. We call this type of array a “Ballasted Roof Mount” solar system as these systems are tilted in a certain orientation to achieve the highest production. They are secured to the roof by the weight of cinder blocks that are placed on the mounting system.
Lastly, your solar array can be installed on the ground, utilizing a racking system that is secured to the ground in concrete or by driving piles into the ground. These solar arrays are called “Ground-Mount” solar system. Many farms or homes do not have an adequate roof for solar because of the orientation of the roof or lack of structural strength. However, using yard space is a terrific way to install solar!