Solar panel mounting

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by Hillbilly549, Apr 4, 2020.

  1. Hillbilly549

    Hillbilly549 Monkey

    Looking for some ideas on adjustable solar panel mounting. I'm sure I can McGyver something up but was hoping for some inspiration from you pros.

    Have yet to decide if I'm mounting them on my cabin roof (gain significant altitude and thus exposure in winter this way...we live down in a holler here in WV so it's significant..) or place them on the wood shed roof.

    If I install on the cabin roof, it's an 8/12 pitch (approx 34 degrees), so I'd have to be able to elevate the bottom and top of panel, depending on season.

    The wood shed is relatively flat (5 degree) so I'd just need to be able to elevate from top end.

    Long winded way of saying HELP! Thanks y'all.
  2. Big Ron

    Big Ron Monkey++

    I like them on a frame close to the ground so I can clean them. Maybe pallets attached to a frame. On a roof use some angle iron to make L shaped brackets. Bolt it all down to studs or with through bolts and some big washers. Get creative and make it so the panel frame can pivot so the right angle can be achieved. Good luck.
    3M-TA3 likes this.
  3. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    techsar likes this.
  4. IceRanger

    IceRanger Intellectus Refuticus

    There's a calculator somewhere online that gives pretty precise angles of sun for any location in the country; I'd look that up and find the best average winter angle for your location and I'd plan just two settings; one, as near to flat as you can get them, and the second at that particular angle. I'd do the angle iron someone else suggested, but do bolt it tight. Solar panels do well in the wind, but I still don't like taking chances with some of the heavier winds we can get.

    Conversely, I can tell you that my panels are flat-mounted on a pitched shed roof that faces almost dead south. The angle isn't steep at all, but my collection rate is pretty consistent and surprisingly efficient (winter numbers surprisingly comparable to summer) even without the proper adjustment angle. We obviously get a pretty low-slung southerly sun in winter, but as long as you are able to keep the panels free of snow/leaves/dirt/debris, and the sun can shine on them unobstructed, you may not need to piss with the angle as much as you might think. I use a solid MPPT controller, so that helps, but I was pleasantly surprised by the collection efficiency even angled mostly flat.

    Obviously the winter days are shorter, so less sun. If you have to squeeze every last ounce of efficiency out of your panels, I'd look up that angle and adjust accordingly.
    Hillbilly549 and snake6264 like this.
  5. BlueDuck

    BlueDuck Monkey++

    I mounted a 100 watt panel, on a garden cart. Adjustable from about 30 - 45 degrees up and down and easy to move around to stay in and track the sun.
  6. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Angle iron is stupid don't use it.
    Only reason to put it on angle is if you want to put 1 or 2 panels on something.
    If you want to put up more than a few panels on the roof or ground mount use unistrut.
    Unistrut has it's own hardware line.
    Off the shelf panel mounting systems, hinges, connections, roof to unistrut systems for all different kinds of roof surfaces.
    I put panels on angle iron before, back when I didn't know any better. So don't do it.
  7. Hillbilly549

    Hillbilly549 Monkey

    Yep, I've already looked them up. It's pretty flat in the summer at around 14 degrees and 62 degrees in the winter. Appreciate the input!
    IceRanger likes this.
  8. BenP

    BenP Monkey++ Site Supporter+

    I use unistrut from Lowe's and it works perfectly.
    Hillbilly549 and techsar like this.
  9. Hillbilly549

    Hillbilly549 Monkey

    I'll check it out. Thanks Ben
  10. Hillbilly549

    Hillbilly549 Monkey

    Super strut worked wonderfully.

    Just fyi from discussions we've had in other threads. I ended up with 4 320W panels, 40 AMP controller, 2000W inverter, and 24V 150ah life po4 individual cell battery pack.....we are golden so far. We need to be using more power, honestly.

    We used some 120 AH Trojans while waiting for our lifepo4 cells. Not even on the same planet as far as performance.

    Thanks for all of your input.
    BenP and mysterymet like this.
  11. BenP

    BenP Monkey++ Site Supporter+

    If you bought individual 3.4v cells you might want to get some battery balancers to keep some from getting over or under charged. If it is one big pack it probably already has them.

    I used these: Affordable Electric Vehicle Batteries & Components from Electric Car Parts Company
  12. Hillbilly549

    Hillbilly549 Monkey

    Individual cells and no balancer in use right now but I'll grab one. They were evenly charged at the start and I check them all multiple times daily....but I understand what you're saying. Peace of mind.
    BenP likes this.
  13. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    I built my self a shop trailer and put my solar panels on it and never regretted it.
    Another alternative is to build a car carport for the solar panes to rest that way doing double duty.
    BenP likes this.
  14. Hillbilly549

    Hillbilly549 Monkey

    I put them on my firewood shed. Working great for now.

    Cruisin Sloth, TnAndy and BenP like this.
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