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    Solar

Rail Mounting System

Rail Mounting System

You may probably know that the two main types of solar installation are ground-mounted and rooftop-mounted solar installations. You may also learn the two basic kinds of ground-mounted solar systems, so now you are curious about if rooftop-mounted systems also have different ways to get it done. To tell you this, the rooftop solar installation can be also done in two ways. You can choose rail-mounted or rail-less solar panel installation. Between the two variations, the most widely used method is the rail mount.

In today’s article, we will briefly discuss what is rail mounting system is, its pros and con, and anything you should know before choosing a rail mounting system. 

What is Rail Mounting System?

A rail mounting system is the most common roof-mounted structure type that offers a versatile option for mounting solar panels on low and steep-sloped roofs. Usually, the system consists of a set of aluminum module support rails and other necessary components that attach the rails to the roof attachment and to attach the PV modules to the rails. The rail mounting system allows solar panels to be mounted either in portrait or landscape orientation. The rails can be a shared or fixed-tilt design in either orientation.

Rail mountings systems usually include pantiles, plain tiles, slate tiles, trapezoidal sheet metal, corrugated fiber cement, corrugated sheet metal, and standing seam roof.

How Does Rail Mounting System Work?

Each solar photovoltaic panel is attached to the aluminum rails through a set of clamps. Then the rails will be secured to the rooftop using screws and bolts. Usually, this installation method uses flashing to attach the solar panels to the house rooftop. The flashing is the same as the method used for a standard roof vent. Typically, an “L” foot or support component is fixed to the flashing and holds the aluminum or steel rails 2 to 4 inches above the rooftop, upon which the solar photovoltaic panels are mounted.

Pros and Cons of Rail Mounting System

If you are still undecided whether to choose a rail mounting system or not, we have listed some of its pros and cons. 

Pros for Standard Rail Mounting:

  • You can use the rail mounting system with almost any kW solar modules in any color of your choice. 
  • If you want to blend the rails into your roof shield, rails are easy to blend with them since rails are available in silver and black.
  • Many solar manufacturers of rails offer a flash to make it possible to blend the rails with your rooftop.
  • Conduits and wires used for installation can be run through the rooftop or across the rooftop.
  • Rail mounting system has a long lifespan, and it is the most common type of solar roof installation due to its long histories of success.

 

Cons for Standard Rail Mounting:

  • Older residential and commercial properties may not be applicable to rail mounting since rails are a bit heavy and it can add additional load/weight to the roof making it too much to handle. 
  • The solar panel system is more prominently displayed since they sit a little more inches above the roof shingles.
  • If you installed them without flashing, the solar panel system is more accessible to bad weather and rodents.

Should you get a Rail Mounting System?

All in all, a rail-mounted solar system offers the most flexibility and capacity when it comes to solar rooftop system design. Not to mention that it has a long history of success in the solar industry, enough proof that it is worth having. In fact, it continues to be the top choice for consumers when they plan to install solar panels at home.