The number of different ways to connect panels to rooftops are almost as varied as rooftops themselves. There are a wide variety of racking and attachment solutions available on the market. The best racking system for your home depends on how your roof is structured and what type of roofing materials you have. Your installer will recommend the type of racking system most appropriate for your property.
Below are examples of the most common roof types, and how installers will attach your panels. This list is not exhaustive as there are a wide variety of racking and attachment solutions available.
Pitched comp shingle roofs
Most homes in the United States feature roofs that are pitched or tilted (as opposed to low-slope/”flat”) and a large number of those roofs are covered with shingles of various styles and materials. Roofers lay down these shingles in courses (rows) that overlap across your roof to allow water to shed from them and not get underneath and leak into your home.
Racking for pitched comp shingle roofs
Pitched tile roofs
Racking for pitched tile roofs
Pitched slate roofs
Racking for pitched slate roofs
Racking for flat/low-slope roofs
|Party wall beams and rails – aluminum beams that span shared parapet walls and provide a structure for the modules or a sub-structure to which rails are attached and then the modules.|
|Ballasted racking – non-penetrating hardware that is kept on your roof by weighted blocks. Image credit: Solardock.com.|
|Standing seam clamps and rails – hardware that attaches to the standing metal seam of the roof. Aluminum rails connect to the clamps and then the modules to the rails or in some cases the modules connect directly to the clamps.|
|Standoffs and rails – metal standoffs attach directly to roof supports and are surrounded by flashing or other waterproofing material. Rails and modules or the modules directly connect to the standoffs. Image credit: www.quickmountpv.com.|
Types of ground-based systems
|Ground mount – metal structure sits at ground level and provides the base for modules. The system is held in place either by weighted blocks or set in concrete footers.|
|Pole mount – metal structure sits on top of a pole that is set in a concrete footer.|
|Pergola – an existing structure or one built for this purpose provides the base onto which modules are attached. These structures are often built in garden areas to provide shade or otherwise integrate into an existing landscape.|