The location of your solar panels is important. Mounting them close to your well is ideal, as this reduces the amount of voltage loss as the electricity travels from the panels to the RPS Optimizer. You’ll also want to avoid areas of shade from nearby trees or buildings. The ideal orientation is facing directly south without shade for the entirety of the day. With that said, we have plenty of customers with solar panels mounted between gaps in trees who are still able to pump enough water for their remote cabins.
Solar panels are most efficient when facing as close to perpendicular to the sun as possible. As the sun travels across different angles during the day and throughout the year, it is impossible to keep panels perfectly perpendicular all the time without a sophisticated dual-axis tracking device. The RPS Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) Pump Controller is designed to make the most out of your available sunlight, but mounting your panels at the right tilt angle for your latitude will also help maximize your power. Adjusting the angle of the panels two to four times each year will allow you to gain a few percentage points in yearly efficiency. We recommend keeping a fixed angle or adjusting twice a year (March 30th and September 12th). Tilt angles for both fixed and adjusted mounting angles are included below.
If you have questions about any of the options below, call our team at 888-637-4493.
Solar Panel Dimensions
|RPS 100 w|
|Mounting Holes||There are four 0.35-inch diameter holes along the vertical sides of an aluminum frame of the solar panel (see diagram). Bolts/washers can be used to attach to the panel frame to metal, plywood, pipe, or 2x4s.|
|Adjustable Top-of-Pole Mount
Easy to install. Just anchor down a steel pipe vertically in cement and fasten the RPS Adjustable Top-of-Pole Mount to the top. This mount allows you to adjust the tilt angle of the panels to get maximum pumping power year-round.
Buy 2-Panel Mount (1 for the RPS 200, 2 for the RPS 400, 3 for the RPS 600)
Buy 4-Panel Mount (2 of these can be used for the RPS 600 or the RPS 800!)
|Wall Mount||This mounting style can easily be installed with wood, angle iron, or pipe. It does require a building or branchless tree that is oriented with a south face. Every solar panel from RPS has holes in the frames that align with our RPS mounts, but if you’re using wood or your own metal, additional holes can also be carefully drilled in the frames. Use nuts/bolts to tightly fasten the panel to the mount.|
|Angled Roof Mount||This mounting style requires a south-facing rooftop. Panels can be tilted up with wood or metal brackets. As with anything mounted on your roof, make sure to ground the panels well and attach in a secure and watertight manner. If roof angles are less then ideal for the season, additional panels may be needed but we encourage customers to start small and add later if needed. Our systems are very efficient.|
|Flat Roof/Surface Mount||
||Do you have a south-facing rooftop that is close to the proper tilt angle for your latitude? (See table above for tilt angles.) With inexpensive L or Z brackets, panels can be fastened flat to the surface of the roof. As with anything mounted on your roof, make sure to ground the panels well and attach in a secure and watertight manner. If roof angles are less then ideal for the season, additional panels may be needed but we encourage customers to start small and add later if needed. Our systems are very efficient.|
|Ground Mount||We often recommend using a ground mount until you decide how you want to do your final mounting. As long as the panels are in the sun, your pump will work. Just be sure the are no shadows on the panels, no cardboard packaging or shade from another panel. You can use anything you’d like to prop the solar panels up to the desired angle. Be sure to ground the frame of the panels with a grounding rod. Note that we do not recommend this method if you have cattle or other animals that could knock the panels over or trample them.|
|DIY Wood or Pipe Mounting||Constructing your own pole mount from wood or welded pipes is always an option. When installing a pole mount, make sure to elevate your panels for their safety. This setup is most popular with livestock installations. Angle iron, pipe, wood and brackets to attach the panels. Bonus points if you can adjust the tilt angle based on season (recommended for higher latitudes). Cost varies based on cost of lumber and metal locally.|
|Solar “Trackers”||Assorted||While we get lots of questions about “trackers”, our customers have found over the years it far more affordable to add more solar panels to their systems as opposed to add a single or double axis tracking system. There may be some use cases where the high cost makes sense, but we don’t generally recommend or install ourselves.|
|Fixed Angle Frame for Larger Arrays (4 or 6 Posts/Beams)||When there are 8 or more panels to mount, our customers often build fixed angle frames to hold the panels. Four posts are bedded in cement and horizontal supports are created with pipe tees ore welds. You can mount panels to these supports with simple hardware and slotted struts, all things you can find locally.
Check out a diagram from a past install – all with parts from Home Depot for ease of sourcing parts!
Feel free to call and chat about any of the mounting options you see above. Every site is different, and our team would love to help you find a technique that fits your site and budget. 888-637-4493