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

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.

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.

Related 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