Photovoltaic mounting systems (also called solar module racking) are used to fix solar panels on surfaces like roofs, building facades, or the ground. These mounting systems generally enable retrofitting of solar panels on roofs or as part of the structure of the building (called BIPV).
The solar array of a PV system can be mounted on rooftops, generally with a few inches gap and parallel to the surface of the roof. If the rooftop is horizontal, the array is mounted with each panel aligned at an angle. If the panels are planned to be mounted before the construction of the roof, the roof can be designed accordingly by installing support brackets for the panels before the materials for the roof are installed.
Mounting as a shade structure
Solar panels can also be mounted as shade structures where the solar panels can provide shade instead of patio covers. The cost of such shading systems are generally different from standard patio covers, especially in cases where the entire shade required is provided by the panels. The support structure for the shading systems can be normal systems as the weight of a standard PV array is between 3 and 5 pounds/ft2. If the panels are mounted at an angle steeper than normal patio covers, the support structures may require additional strengthening.
The most common mounting structure used for rooftops is like the one shown in below.
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