A Handy Guide to Racking and Mounting for DIY Residential Solar

October 10, 2023

Installing solar panels on your own can be an empowering and cost-effective endeavor. However, before you get started, it's crucial to understand the various racking and mounting options available for residential solar installations.

The foundation of any efficient solar system lies in its racking, ensuring that your panels remain securely in place and achieve maximum sun exposure. So, let's explore the different types of racking and mounting systems suitable for DIY enthusiasts!

1. Roof-Mounted Systems

Reference: Major Types in Roof-mounted Solar Racking Systems

a. Flush Mounts:

  • Overview: This is the most basic and common type used for residential installations. They're simple brackets that hold panels slightly above the roof.
  • Ideal for: Roofs with a moderate to steep pitch and standard solar panels.
  • Pros: Economical and straightforward to install.
  • Cons: Limited to roof's angle and might not provide optimal sun exposure.

b. Roof Ballasted Mounts:

  • Overview: These are non-penetrating systems that rely on the weight of the panels and additional ballasts to stay in place.
  • Ideal for: Flat roofs where penetrations are undesirable.
  • Pros: No roof penetrations mean fewer chances of leaks.
  • Cons: Heavier, requiring roofs to have adequate load-bearing capacity.

c. Adjustable Tilt Mounts:

  • Overview: As the name suggests, these mounts can be adjusted to maximize sunlight exposure during various seasons.
  • Ideal for: Areas with varying sun angles throughout the year.
  • Pros: Maximizes solar energy production.
  • Cons: More complex to install and may require periodic adjustments.

2. Ground-Mounted Systems

Reference: Solar Mounting System Guide: Why Racking Matters

a. Standard Ground Mounts:

  • Overview: These are metal structures fixed into the ground, holding panels at a static angle.
  • Ideal for: Spaces without any shading issues.
  • Pros: Easier to access for maintenance and cleaning. Flexible installation location.
  • Cons: Takes up yard space and may require additional landscaping.

b. Pole Mounts:

  • Overview: Solar panels are hoisted onto single poles.
  • Ideal for: Areas with potential shading issues, or where ground space is limited.
  • Pros: Can hold multiple solar panels per pole. Adjustable tilt improves sun exposure.
  • Cons: Requires deeper foundations and might be more challenging for DIY installations.

c. Tracking Mounts:

  • Overview: These are advanced systems that move the panels to follow the sun.
  • Ideal for: Maximizing solar production.
  • Pros: Increases energy production by up to 25%.
  • Cons: More expensive, complex, and may require regular maintenance.

Key Considerations for DIYers:

  1. Roof Evaluation: Always evaluate your roof's structure, material, and load-bearing capacity. If unsure, consult a professional.
  2. Orientation and Tilt: South-facing installations (in the northern hemisphere) usually generate the most electricity. Ensure that the chosen racking system allows for optimal orientation and tilt.
  3. Local Regulations: Before installing, check local zoning laws, HOA guidelines, and obtain necessary permits.
  4. Maintenance: While solar panels require minimal maintenance, accessibility can be vital for cleaning or troubleshooting.


Choosing the right racking and mounting system is pivotal for the efficiency and longevity of your DIY solar project. Understand your property's unique needs, weigh the pros and cons of each system, and embark on your solar journey with confidence!

If you are starting down the DIY path, consider a cutsom solar kit from us! We will customize your system, do the engineering and design work, and send you the equipment and instructions for install!

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