The structure that keeps solar panels in place on a roof or the ground is called solar racking, also known as mounting. If you are considering installing solar, it is essential to carefully consider purchasing solar racking as they help ensure the panels are safe and last for a long time.
Several racking types and clamping techniques exist for diverse roof kinds, including tile and metal.
It's critical to have enough clamps to hold the panels in place, especially in locations subject to storms or severe winds. Some homeowners might also consider the racking's aesthetic appeal, such as whether it is silver or black.
The cost of roof-integrated solutions, including the roof's solar panels, might be higher than that of conventional racking systems.
Is solar racking important?
Solar racking also known as mounting, is an underappreciated part of the solar system. The quiet achiever holds everything together. Ensuring these panels don’t fly off your roof.
When the solar installers try to sell you a system, they’ll try and emphasise the panels and the inverter. Usually, the racking just gets mentioned as a bit of a sideline.
For example, if you use non-anodised racking, you will find that you may need to shift the panels in years to come. It will be challenging to open the clamps and get these panels off quickly. So the solar racking quality is essential to the system’s overall long-term maintenance.
In Australia nowadays, the majority of the racking that we’re getting is all made out of Chinese aluminium extrusions. While there’s nothing wrong with those extrusions, Australian-made extrusions are now coming through.
How many clamps should I have on my system?
An important note is to ensure you don’t have the minimum number of clamps. Instead, you want the maximum clamps because a big windstorm can make a big difference. For example, in Darwin, they have 2-3 times the number of clamps holding the rails because of the cyclone risks.
Therefore, tell your installer you want the top clamps to secure your system firmly. There are different types of racking and clamps. Some for tile roofs, some for metal roofs etc.
Full black rails and clamps can look good
Then you can get the rails and clamps in silver or full back. Full black solar racking can look visually more pleasing. However, it is not as easy to find as the standard silver version. For those homeowners who have a solar system that can be seen from the street, talk to your installer to find other options that may better suit what you may be after.
If your roof is unsuitable for installing solar panels, you could also have panels installed on a solar carport. As those are sold nowadays, you could even consider a ground-mounted system or tilt frame system.
Roof integrated solutions
There is a new style of racking called a roof-integrated solution. These roof-integrated panels, such as the Tesla solar roof tile, do physically look very attractive on the roof. The problem is often it can double or even triple your cost.
If you are considering purchasing solar racking, consider looking at a full black conventional racking installation. This can look quite attractive. It also costs you only half the price of a roof-integrated solution.