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Mounts & Trackers

Solar Module Location

Solar modules must be outdoors in open, direct sunshine. (Yes, we have seen modules installed in the shade!) Exposure to sunshine must be free of all shadows from trees, wires, buildings, etc. A shadow on any part of a photovoltaic module will cut off much of its power (no matter what some advertisements claim).

Precise aim is not necessary. 95% of full power is produced within 20 degrees of the sun. As the sun rises and sets, modules aimed at noon sun position give full power from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Earlier and later sun is less direct, and adds enough to make a sunny day equivalent to 6 hours of full rated power.

Tilt for seasonal sun angle adjusted twice a year gains 35% over fixed mounting. For summer, set modules to face the overhead noon sun. In winter, tilt them to face the lower noon sun. To shed snow, set modules near vertical to south.

Types of Solar Mounts

Pole Mounts

Pole mounts in the yard are easy to set up and adjust seasonally. They must be located where there will be no shadows from trees or buildings, even in winter. They more easily pass code than mounts attached to a building. Limit to 6 or 8 larger modules per each mount is safest in high winds.

Roof Top or South Wall Mounts

Roof top or south wall mounts can place modules high enough to avoid shadows. Chances of theft are less. Seasonal adjustment may be more difficult atop a building, and the electrical code can require a costly ground fault interrupter be added to the solar wiring when installed on a dwelling. Our S-RAILS are economical mounts.

Tracking Mounts

Tracking mounts automatically follow the daily sun from sunrise to sunset. Where there is a clear view to both horizons, tracking gives full power 10 - 12 hours a day. Gain is 35% to 50% in summer, for water pumping or refrigeration. But trackers do little to help winter shortage in the north. The December sun barely moves 20 degrees from noon position. If the sky is overcast, there's nothing to track. If you live in the north, the same money spent on extra modules buys more power year round, including overcast days when tracking can't work. Limit to 6 or 8 larger modules per each mount is safest in high winds.

R.V. Mounts

R.V. mounts attach modules to the roof individually, or S-RV RAILS hold 2 to 4 modules on a single rack attached to the roof only at the 4 points. Usually tilting is not necessary if you're following the sunny weather, but the full set of S-RAILS allows tilt-up on an RV.

Custom Design Service & Support

Backwoods Solar offers FREE custom design service for your alternative energy system as well as FREE after-sale technical support for the life of the system - it's what has helped make us America's most trusted off-grid power supplier. Let us work for you! Contact us online or call us 208-263-4290 to get started.

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