Off Grid Solar Panel Mounting

PorkChopsMmmPorkChopsMmm Solar Expert Posts: 189 ✭✭✭✭✭
I was able to bring up my "beta" solar setup to some acreage we own this past weekend. The panels generated a good deal of watts and charged the battery bank right up after recharging some power tools. I did run into an issue -- how to mount our solar panels. I was figuring on using simple ground supports but the grass is too tall and they would be easily shaded.

We have a food plot with 2 or 3 acres of open area with a few trees around. We think the best way to mount the panels is on a pole with a tilt-able mount so that we can change the angle for winter and summer sun (this is in Michigan).

Is there a how-to or any advice on how to build a lower cost pole mount set up? From various vendor sites I find that pole mounts, just the mount itself, can range from $250 to $350 that can support my 3 240watt panels that weigh ~65 pounds each. I am just looking for the tilt-able mount; I was planning on building a rack to hold the panels out of uni-strut. Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Solar Panel Mounting

    you could go with the commercial stuff or build your own for you only have 3 pvs to mount. some have used treated 4x4 lumber as posts to allow beams to cross and be used as rough mounts at an angle. combinations of metal angle and wood could also be used and is up to you as to how elaborate you may want to make it. or use several metal posts of smaller diameter tied together with angles.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Solar Panel Mounting

    Any chance you might be needing a tool shed at the back of that garden plot? Can be an efficient double-use of structure. Get the panels up high, but not too high to make adjusting them difficult.
    Just a thought. :D
  • stevendstevend Solar Expert Posts: 34
    Re: Off Grid Solar Panel Mounting

    You mentioned the weight of your panels. Another factor is that these act like sails i.e. wind can get behind them and push the pole down. Make sure you account for that too.
    -Steve
  • PorkChopsMmmPorkChopsMmm Solar Expert Posts: 189 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Solar Panel Mounting
    Any chance you might be needing a tool shed at the back of that garden plot? Can be an efficient double-use of structure. Get the panels up high, but not too high to make adjusting them difficult.
    Just a thought. :D

    Actually, we just moved a shed right next to our new cabin that is housing the batteries, inverter, charge controller, etc. We might need to build a structure out in the field but I don't see that happening any time soon, since we still need to finish the build of our main cabin. BTW the panels will need to be 50 to 75 feet away from the power shed (I am using 4 gauge cable which should not drop too much voltage...). I was hoping to use a 3" or 4" pole to help support the weight and get the panels up sooner. I don't feel comfortable using the panels around my little children when they are just propped up on the ground (the panels, not the kids).

    I will keep looking for ideas. From some pictures it looks like I could almost piece together a pole mount from parts at Menards.
Sign In or Register to comment.