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Although solar panels are the most visible part of an installation, what is beneath them matters a lot. At stake: the stability of the solar energy collection system and, also, its costs. We tell you which solar panel mounting systems exist and which are the most common for pitched or flat roofs. In addition, the market is evolving at such a speed that there are already alternatives to do without any type of anchoring system for the sunroof.

Mounting systems for pitched roofs.

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The three most common options for attaching solar panels to pitched roofs coincide in at least one respect. It is nothing more than the need to perform some type of drilling, directly on the roof, or on a beam or crossbar. Here are the available alternatives:

1. With rail.

In this system, each panel is attached to two rails which, in turn, are attached to the roof with bolts or screws. These structures are also sealed and include systems that ensure that the water is drained.

2. Without rail.

Reduction of production costs and, also, of transport costs. These are the advantages of solar panel mounting systems on curved roofs that do not use rails. In this case, the panels are connected to a support which is anchored directly to the roof with screws and bolts. This option does not prevent perforations, which will be as numerous as with the rail system.

3. With shared rail.

The third alternative is to mount the panels with shared rails. In this case, two rows of panels are placed on three rails, and not four, because the two rows share that of the central part. In this case, the number of roof penetrations is reduced by maximizing the use of the rails.

There is another method which for a long time was considered unsuitable for this type of roofing and which, however, is gradually opening up a gap, also in this area. These are the assemblies with ballasts and without penetrations, more common on flat surfaces. However, when used in sloping areas, what is usually done is to cover them in such a way that the weight is distributed equally on both sides of the roof.

Mounting systems for flat roofs.

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For flat roofs such as those commonly seen in commercial or industrial buildings, but also in houses with a flat roof, ballast assemblies are typically used.

Among its advantages, there is the possibility of avoiding or at least minimizing roof perforations as much as possible. In addition, installation on smooth surfaces greatly facilitates operations, which reduces assembly time and even promotes prefabrication of the structure.

Integrated solar installations.

The solar energy industry is constantly evolving. This also applies to mounting systems or even innovative solutions that make them directly completely unnecessary. This is the case with Tesla’s solar roof, which the company is already producing on a large scale at its gigafactory in Buffalo, New York.

This solution, made possible after the acquisition of SolarCity, eliminates the need for separate solar panels, as the photovoltaic cells are directly integrated into the tiles and therefore into the roof structure itself. In addition to being easier to install, Tesla’s proposal is, according to the company, more profitable for homeowners who want to take advantage of their roofs to capture solar energy.


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