Learn about the various types of solar pole mounts and which ones are right for your PV system.
Pole mounted solar panels use a pole (instead of a roof top) to elevate and support them to the desired height. Pole mount solar power is commonly used in backyard applications to keep the panels off the ground and out of harm's way but yet still easy enough to adjust and to reach for snow removal.
Solar pole mounts available for pole mounted solar panels are divided into 3 categories: Top of pole mounts, side of pole mounts and poll tracking mounts. Their names reflect the position the panels get mounted in on the pole and to some extent their functionality.
The top of pole solar pole mount is typically used for larger solar panels. With top of pole mounts the solar panel is bolted to a rack that sits on top of the pole. A 3-8 inch wide pole made for top of pole PV applications is required as well as a secure concrete base.
If they are very big and heavy, top of pole mounts can be more difficult to install especially in windy conditions. It's common for large pole mount installations to require the help of a crane and many workers to be performed safely.
There are top of pole mounts that hold single solar panels and ones that hold several panels. Some people buy these units with extra space available so they can add more pole mounted solar panels in the future.
The side of pole solar pole mount is typically used for smaller pole mounted solar panels but there are some that can hold up to four of them. With side of pole mounts the pv panel is bolted to a rack that's attached to the side of a pole.
Often existing utility and telephone poles are used which eliminates the need to erect your own pole.
This type of pole mount solar application can save you considerable time, work and money, however make sure you consult with your local utility or telephone company for confirmation that it's okay.
Side of pole mounts are only recommended for small solar panels, for larger panels, you should use a top of pole mount.
Tracking pole mounts are just like top of pole mounts. They look similar, they both hold pole mounted solar panels, except tracking solar pole mounts have one additional function:
They track the movement of the sun through out the day and follow it.
By automatically adjusting to the best possible angle, this solar pole mount improves the panel's efficiency and the solar power production increases.
Tracking pole mounts are generally more expensive than the other two pole mount systems, however because they increase the efficiency of your pole mounted solar panels, they can save you more money over a longer period of time.
Now that you know how pole mounted solar panels work, click here to go back to the Solar Power Installation section in the exact spot you left off (or just click your browser's back button).