Mounting options for solar PV panels

There are many ways to mount solar panels and the method used will depend on where you are situating them. Most domestic solar panels are mounted on top of the existing roof, but they can also form part of the roof itself, be mounted on the side of a building or on a flat roof, or just on stands on the ground.

Roof mounted solar panels
On-roof mounted panels on left, in-roof on right. Source:

On-roof mounting

Mounting solar panels on top of an existing roof is simple, fast and economical. The panels are secured to a frame and held about 5-10cm above the roof to allow air to flow underneath, keeping the panels cool. The frame is attached to the beams in your roof using brackets that slide underneath the tiles.

In-roof mounting

As well as generating electricity, solar panels can also act as part of your roof, keeping the weather out. Building integrated PV (BIPV) panels may be suitable for a new-build house or if you are replacing your existing roof.

Facade mounted panels
Facade mounted solar panels. Source:

Façade mounting

Some buildings may have large expanses of south-facing walls. Although solar panels should ideally be at an angle, façade-mounted panels can still produce a significant amount of electricity. Like roof-mounted panels, the panels can either be an addition to the normal building structure or can be used as part of the wall.

Flat roof mounting

Whereas roof- and façade-mounted panels have their position prescribed for them, panels mounted on flat roofs can be made to point directly at the sun. If a solar tracker is used, the panels are automatically turned to follow the sun making sure that as much energy as possible is used.

Ground mounted panels
Ground mounted panels. Source:

Ground installations

Solar panels do not have to be fixed to a building. Ground installations can be an effective use of disused land, from rubbish tips to decommissioned quarries. Like flat roof-mounted panels, trackers can be used to optimise output.