Solar mounts are used to mount photovoltaic (PV), solar water heaters, or other solar collection devices. They hold solar panels in position and are either fixed or tracking. Fixed mounts are stationary solar arrays that may permit some seasonable adjustments to account for changes to the angle of incoming sunlight. Tracking devices are single-axis or dual-axis solar trackers that are adjusted to maintain nearly constant incident angles of solar radiation.
Some solar mounts are used to mount solar panels to a roof. Others stand alone. To facilitate PV panel installation, rooftop solar mounts may use roof-mounting plates, bolts, and rack systems. Solar mounts that are designed for ground installation may have their own foundation and support systems.
Location is an important factor to consider when selecting solar mounts. Rooftop devices may be designed for either flat roofs or pitched roofs. For both types of solar mounts, product specifications include applicable roof claddings (e.g., asphalt shingles, metal sheets, or ceramic tiles) as well as roof slope and maximum building height.
Additional product parameters include wind load and snow load. Ground-based solar mounts are functionally similar to rooftop products, but are supported by one or more metal legs, tubes, or pipes. Typically, these supports are made of aluminum, galvanized steel, or stainless steel. Custom solar mounts for specialized photovoltaic racking structure are also available. Solar mounts differ in terms of available features, but are often modular and lightweight.
In addition to roof mounts, ground mounts, fixed mounts, and tracking mounts, solar systems may include locking mounts that are designed to prevent solar panel theft. PV mounting systems for adjustable solar trackers may include accessories or components for single-axis or dual-axis motion, or feature easy-mounting systems. There are three main categories of single-axis products: horizontal single-axis trackers (HSAT), vertical single-axis trackers (VSAT), and tilted single-axis trackers (TSAT). Polar-aligned single-axis trackers (PASAT) are a type of VSAT. Dual-axis solar trackers are divided into tilt dual-axis trackers (TTDAT) and azimuth-altitude dual-axis trackers (AADAT).