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.
|Latitude||Fixed Tilt Angle||Summer / Winter|
|25° (Key West)||22°||2° / 41°|
|30° (Houston)||26°||7° / 46°|
|35° (Albuquerque)||30°||12° / 50°|
|40° (Denver)||34°||16° / 54°|
|45° (Minneapolis)||37°||21° / 59°|
|50° (Winnipeg)||41°||26° / 63°|
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.|
Easy to install. Just anchor down a 2″ schedule 40 steel pipe vertically and fasten our newest RPS 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.
Also available as a 1-Panel Mount for $99 each
|Wall Mount||This mount can easily be installed with wood, pipes, or the RPS Tilt Mounts. 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.
$49 per panel
|Angled Roof Mount||Similar to the wall mount, this mount requires a south-facing rooftop. This mount can be easily installed with wood or the RPS Tilt Mounts. As with anything mounted on your roof, make sure to ground the panels well and attach in a secure and watertight manner.
$49 per panel
|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.
Z Brackets (shown at left): $12 per panel
|Ground Mount||Ground mounting is the easiest installation. 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. You can use anything you’d like to prop the solar panels up to the desired angle, or use the RPS Adjustable Tilt Mounts to attach to a wood or concrete footing. Be sure to ground the frame of the panels with a grounding rod. We do not recommend this method if you have cattle or other animals that could knock the panels over.
$49 per panel
|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. Use wood and L or Z brackets ($12 each per panel) to attach to the mount. Bonus points if you can adjust the tilt angle based on season (recommended for higher latitudes).
Cost of lumber and metal hardware.
|4 Panel Pole Mount||This is a rendering similar to our new mount for 4 panels. We have a few other favorite installation photos, so feel free to ask us for additional examples if you’re interested in this style of mount. Most customers dig post holes and bed their 4-inch metal post into cement for added stability. This is especially important when mounting 4 panels on a single post.
$250 for 4 panels – Ask an Engineer!
|Four or 6 Post Frame (for large arrays)||When there are 8 or more panels to mount, our customers often build frames to hold the panels. Four posts are bedded in cement and horizontal supports are created with pipe. You can mount panels to these supports with special hardware.
Check out a diagram from a past install – all with parts from Home Depot for ease of sourcing parts! This one is with 50w panels, but the same can be done with 100w and 135w panels.
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