Solar Panel Mounting and Racking: A Comprehensive Guide

Solar panels are an excellent way to harness the power of the sun and convert it into electricity for our homes. But have you ever wondered how these panels are securely attached to rooftops? The answer lies in the world of solar panel mounting and racking systems. While it may seem like a straightforward DIY task, the installation process requires professional expertise to ensure a durable and long-lasting renewable energy system.

The Mounting Process: More Than Meets the Eye

Mounting a solar energy system involves more than just screwing components into your roof. It's a meticulous process that ensures the system will be safe and efficient. Here's a brief overview of the steps involved:

  1. Installing the Mounts:

Mounting brackets are placed on your roof to provide a sturdy base for the solar panels. These mounts are typically attached directly to roof rafters and are sealed to be watertight and resistant to corrosion or damage.

2.Installing the Solar Panels:

Once the mounts are in place, long metal components called "rails" are added to support the panels. Solar panels essentially "snap into place" on top of these rails, providing support against heavy weather conditions on a sloped roof.

3. Installing the Electric Wiring:

After the solar panels are in place, the system is wired so that the electricity can be generated and sent to the home and grid. Wires are contained in a metal conduit to protect against outside conditions.

The Hardware: What's Involved?

A typical solar panel installation involves several specific pieces of hardware:


These are used to support the entire installation. Solar panel mounts, such as L-feet, are attached to the roof rafters to provide a safe and secure place for the system.


These provide a waterproof barrier to prevent any possible leaks from rain or snow. Flashings are typically made of rubber, aluminum, or galvanized metal.


These are long, aluminum tracks installed on top of the mounting hardware to bear the weight of the panels and prevent them from sliding off the roof.


These ensure that every component will stay in place. Solar panels are usually secured to the rails with a system of stainless steel screws and clamps.


Choosing the Right Mounting System

Choosing the right hardware for your solar panel installation depends on several variables. It's not just about finding the lowest-cost option. High-quality materials may be more expensive upfront, but a safe and secure installation is worth it when considering the potential consequences of roof damage from poor craftsmanship or voided warranties.

Here are four key things that are considered when selecting the best roof-mount system:


Most solar panel racking systems look similar to the untrained eye, as the majority of the hardware is hidden below the panels. However, if you have visibility concerns from your HOA, experienced solar companies may be able to adjust various aspects of the system installation.

Leak Protection:

To protect against pooling, leaks, and physical property damage, solar panels are installed with a small, intentional gap between the modules and the roof. This helps prevent the possibility of mold, rot, and even electrical fires.

Installation Ease:

The longer a professional solar installation takes place, the more you may end up paying for labor costs. Therefore, most trustworthy solar installers prefer a mounting solution that is easy to install and proven to withstand the test of time.

Roof Shape & Attributes:

The shape of your roof and its physical attributes can also influence your solar panel mounting system choices. Dramatically sloped roofs with a steep tilt angle may require a bit of extra care when it comes to safety.

Top Brands for Solar Panel Mounting


While it's always beneficial to research solar panel mounting hardware, most solar power companies prefer to supply their own equipment to ensure a high-quality installation. Here are a few top brands in the industry:

Iron Ridge Solar Racking and Mounting:

 Based in California, IronRidge is among the top choices for installers and manufacturers in the United States today. They offer excellent products with long-lasting warranty periods and solutions for every kind of roof system.

Unirac Solar PV Racking:

Also manufactured in North America, Unirac is another reputable solar panel mounting hardware brand with industry-leading quality standards and commitment to its customers. They offer a wide range of support options, including full-color installation manuals, video tutorials, a phone hotline, and an online chat feature for their catalog of hardware choices.


With systems designed for speed and ease of installation, SnapNrack is a third great solar panel racking system manufacturer based in the United States. They offer a few main racking options, including a “universal” system for roofs of any pitch or material, as well as rail and modified railless choices.

Wrapping Up: The Importance of Professional Installation

To guarantee a safe and successful installation, solar panel mounting should only be performed by a professional. Knowing how a typical solar installation is performed and the top brands used in the process can help you and your installer determine the best overall racking solution for your home.

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