Pole mount design?

FrxddyFrxddy Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭✭✭
I am going to build a pole mount rack to hold six panels. Each panel is about 40" by 66". The attached sketch is about 12 feet tall & 11 feet wide. I spaced the panels 6" apart to help with wind load. I have searched my tail off & can not find any designs with dimensions on the internet. Any idea what size the rails should be? I kind of thought the long rails would be aluminum & steel supporting them, but I'm open to suggestions. The pole I can have centered or at the top. I would like to be able to have the rack so it can tilt, either by hand or perhaps by motor in the future. If this were on a roof it would not cantilever this far. <brain melting>

For those that are wondering... my plan is to have 6 panels pole mounted & 24 panels roof mounted.


  • Paul54Paul54 Registered Users Posts: 18
    Re: Pole mount design?

    You may want to look into Unistrut or Superstrut steel channel. It is sold at Lowes and Home Depot. Very strong and fairly cheap. The manufacturer's web site has lots of loading and other spec.s Many folks here have used it for racking and frames.
  • JamesJames Solar Expert Posts: 248 ✭✭
    Re: Pole mount design?

    If you go with steel rails, you might consider taking an extra precaution by using stainless steel washers between the PV frame and the steel channel and then also use stainless steel fasteners. A source for stainless fasteners is mcmastercarr.com
    Just my two cents worth, others may have better suggestions.
    I used aluminum, but still used stainless washers/fasteners.

    You may want to increase the spread width of you two main support beams...they look a bit close in proportion.
  • solarixsolarix Solar Expert Posts: 713 ✭✭
    Re: Pole mount design?

    My rule of thumb is that no more than a 1/3 the width of a panel should be cantalevered beyond its rail supports
  • XRingerXRinger Solar Expert Posts: 529 ✭✭✭
    Re: Pole mount design?

    When I got my 10 foot 'Superstrut' at Lowes, I wanted light weight on the tracker,
    so I go the smaller lighter Superstrut. It's flexible and sagged a lot.
    I ended up using twice as much, to take out the sag..

    If I had it to do over again, I would buy the bigger SuperStruts.




    Here's the larger size..
    Beefy stuff..

  • FrxddyFrxddy Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pole mount design?

    Thanks for the thoughts & tips. Keep 'em coming! I have a little time before I start construction.

    Rich, is that a home built tracker? Do you have a page someplace that describes how you built it? When I first do my project I am going to simply "get it working". First the 6 on the tower, then later this year the 24 on the roof. At some point the tower will be "my hobby" and I will play with tracking.
  • XRingerXRinger Solar Expert Posts: 529 ✭✭✭
    Re: Pole mount design?

    The mount started life with a 10.5' satellite dish on it..
    Here's the blog, mistakes and all.
    Expect for the the really big one, this week when I almost crushed the array by felling a tree on it. :blush:

  • dgsloandgsloan Registered Users Posts: 22
    Re: Pole mount design?

    When I setup my system I used tubular aluminum because it is lighter and stonger. The one inch by one inch eight foot long Home Depot variety work out pretty good. To add reinforcement you can attach a triangular section to the back made out of two by 3/4 inch fir and attach with steel brackets (stainless is good). Main thing is that you want to build a structure that you can lift yourself up the pole and then mount the panels on once attached. I used the fir as it made mounting the enphase inverters much easier. It also withstood wind this winter of over 70 mph at -10 with a 65 degree tilt. The nice part about stainless steel bolts and washers is that it makes the copper grounding get along with the aluminum structure.
  • XRingerXRinger Solar Expert Posts: 529 ✭✭✭
    Re: Pole mount design?

    If this mount is just temporary, maybe some 2x4 PT lumber?

    Blog at: http://ecorenovator.org/forum/solar-power/1284-cs6p-200-canadian-solar-pv-xantrex-c40-project.html

    The short 2x4s are the redwood I used when I only had 2 panels.
    When I went to 4 panels, I added two 13' PT 2x4s.
    It's good stuff, but will sag a bit..
Sign In or Register to comment.