There are many options for mounting your solar array on the ground. Top of pole mounts are a great option. Some top of pole mounts provide an adjustable option, allowing you to optimize the angle of the solar panels to match the seasonal angle of the sun. Pole mounting can be a more flexible option than roof mounting depending on the location.
Top of pole mounts install fairly quickly, and provide a secure mounting structure for up to 20 solar panels on a single pole, and multiple poles connected together for larger arrays.
MT Solar, Preformed (DPW), and Tamarack Solar offer some good pole mount options for your solar panels. Each style has sizing tools to help you decide which mount is best for you, but in general, here are the steps:
1) Enter in the Solar Panel Model and Quantity
- 60 cell, 72 cell, or 96 cell module, or specific brand/model
2) Enter in the Site Conditions, including wind/snow loads, soil conditions etc., as well as any options/upgrades available for the mount
- Ground snow load - this calculates the snow loads on the solar panels, based on the tilt. Standard snow loads are 30-50 psf.
- Max wind speed - standard mounts can withstand 90-100 mph winds. High wind version mounts available for higher zones.
- Desired tilt angle - with most mounts able to be seasonally adjusted, what is the best angle it should be set at for most of year
- Soil type - is the soil crystalline bedrock, sedimentary rock, sandy gravel, silty sand, sandy clay
- Exposure category - is the site sheltered with buildings or forests, or open/flat, or on the coastline/severe conditions.
- Foundation shape and size - what is the diameter of the hole that will hold the mount, that concrete will be poured into
3) Source locally the Schedule 40 or 80 Steel Pipe for the suggested pole mount, and set the foundation for the mount
- Pole mount installs easily over standard Schedule 40 or 80 rigid steel pipe, that is not included with the mounts
- Dig hole according to recommended depth and diameter. Once pole is in ground, use level to make sure it's vertical to the ground. Brace pipe to prevent it from moving during the concrete pouring. Allow concrete to cure. Backfill around pole.