Roof-Mount Systems

Welcome to this installment of SPW Classroom on Roof-Mount Systems.


Solar panels can't do their jobs of making energy if they aren't successfully secured to a roof, whether it is sloped or flat. Roof-mounts can use rails, be rail-less and even depend on ballast, but they all must clamp to solar panels in some way.


Here you will find resources describing the various types of racking and mounting systems used on rooftops. These tutorials are all designed to give you a better understanding of this important mechanical component of solar arrays.

Billy Ludt

Associate Editor, Solar Power World

Roof-Mount Systems Classroom Sponsored by

Roof-mount systems

Principles • Implementation • Basics

Railed vs. rail-less mounting for rooftop solar projects

What are the different types of solar flashing?

What are the different types of solar mounting systems for roofs?

Metal roofs are no problem for solar installations

Without flashing, a residential roof with solar might become a leaky mess. When holes are made in a roof—for vent pipes or solar mounts—flashing is the material used to stop water from leaking into the roof.

Probably the most competitive solar pro­­duct market, mounting systems are an important element of solar arrays—they secure solar panels to the roof or the ground.

The standard rail-based mount is popular with sloped rooftop installers, but rail-less systems have their advantages in the right scenario.

For solar installers most familiar with comp shingle or tile roofs, encountering a metal roof can be challenging.

Related Resources

QB2 with Microflashing

Stone Coated Steel Mounts

QB2 only has 3 components and can be installed in less than 30 seconds. QuickBOLT is the only Top Mount in the industry that uses BoltSeal™ technology, which allows QB2 to be mounted on a variety of asphalt shingle, EPDM, and TPO roofs that other flashing cannot.

Explore new lines of income for your solar installation business with QuickBOLT’s Stone Coated Steel roof mounts designed in partnership with metal roof manufacturers themselves. These SCS roof mounts work on all metal tile profiles and will help you bring in money you’re missing out on.

EPDM Cylinder Conduit Mount

Deck Mount

QuickBOLT’s new Conduit Mount for Asphalt Shingle, TPO and EPDM roofs features a 7/8” high EPDM Cylinder that lifts the conduit off the roof to meet NFPA Code. Installers can use this in combination with their conduit shoulder clips for supporting conduit on the rooftop.

Save time with the Deck Mount by skipping the step for finding rafters. The base of the mount has Silicon embedded into it and is secured to the roof with Stainless Steel Screws assembled with Umbrella Washers for superior holding and water protection.

Related Resources

A Quantum Leap Forward in Caulk-free PV Mounting

Flexible Flashing Wins the Day for Michigan’s Strawberry Solar

With most of its land bordered by the Great Lakes, Michigan can pose numerous challenges for solar installers. In Detroit, the home of Strawberry Solar, the average overnight temperatures in January linger just under a frigid 18°F. Joe Nagle, founder of Strawberry Solar, added that Michigan’s utilities have eliminated net metering which increases the cost of solar for consumers, but solar is slowly gaining acceptance in the state. 

Since the dawn of the solar industry, PV installers have struggled with mounting systems that put the roof at risk by drilling holes into rafters that can damage shingles and cause leaks. In 2013, Roof Tech introduced its innovative flexible flashing technology with RT-Butyl, and those risks quickly faded into the past. Now, Roof Tech brings you AlphaSeal™ Technology, the impenetrable sealant that eliminates the need for caulking once and for all.

Freezing Winter Weather is No Match for Roof Tech AlphaSeal™ Technology

For Peak Performance in Extreme Weather, Roof Tech’s AlphaSeal™ Technology Delivers

Most manufacturers of asphalt shingles recommend a minimum ambient temperature of 40°F before doing any work on asphalt roofing because of the danger of shingles cracking,” explained Mike Dunlap, Roof Tech Sales Director. “But Roof Tech’s flashing with AlphaSeal™ Technology eliminates the need to lift shingles and delivers an impermeable seal in temperatures as low as 22°F. Installation crews working in temperatures below 22°F also know to use heat guns to warm the AlphaSeal™, so it softens just enough to form an impermeable seal.

Annual temperatures in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, range from a high of 90°F in summer to a low of -40°F in mid-winter. With such extreme fluctuations in weather, solar installers in that region require mounting solutions that are impervious to these changes.

Watch this 3D rendition of the RT-APEX installed on the rafter and deck with solar panel installation

What components are in a solar power system?

Mounting a solar system to survive a hurricane

Mounting wires is just as important as mounting panels on rooftop projects

Manufacturers transition to minimal-flashing solar roof mounts

Solar contractors working in expanding regions along the East Coast have the unique challenge of installing PV arrays that can withstand upwards of 100-mph winds.

There are two primary types of solar power systems: grid-tied and off-grid or stand-alone.

Aluminum and other metallic solar flashing requires installers to pry composite shingles up to slide the sealing roof attachment beneath.

For aesthetic reasons, more customers and installers are turning to flush-mount, pitched rooftop solar systems that are increasingly getting closer to the roof.

More Resources

Solar Basics: Where should you mount a rooftop solar array?

Webinar: A showcase of residential racking innovations to save money and time

Solar Spotlight: PLP talks how to handle unexpected solar installation obstacles

Solar Speaks: How to tackle commercial rooftop solar projects that require longer spans

Roof Tech Inc. is the global pioneer in solar flexible flashing. We have been engineering solar mounting solutions since 1994 with flawless performance—over one million rooftop installations all over Japan and North America. All our products include a 25-year warranty from the installation date that are IBC and IRC compliant. We provide full support with installation manuals, installation videos, digital design tools, and in-person training. Become an innovative installer by learning the codes and best practices of Roof Tech's AlphaSeal™ Technology.

QuickBOLT is a family-owned and operated business working hard to solve your problems. They believe solar mounting can be easier and more affordable for everyone. For over a decade, QuickBOLT has supplied one of the widest ranges of innovative solar mounts for residential and commercial roofs in the US. They brought Stone Coated Steel mounts to the industry and "Top-Mounts" through their patented Microflashing® and BoltSeal® powered mounting solutions.