It is no secret that here at the Dacha Project, do-it-yourself (diy), is often our preferred method of getting the things we need. Our latest homemade adventure is building our own solar panel mounts. Why would we do such a thing? It’s three to five times cheaper, which is significant given that often the mounts nearly equal the costs of the panels. In all honesty it can be a bit complicated to securely attach the mounts, but our effort has been worth it in cost-savings alone.
Building our own also allows us to add any amount of panels at a time. Our latest addition includes two new solar panels that we named Lapland and Lucy. I just made those names up, but feel free to refer to our solar panels by those names anytime. This will result in a total sum of five solar panels. With our new battery bank, and the addition of Lucy and Lapland, we will run the Jenny (our beloved generator- real name) way less. Read the rest of the post for some more specifics on the materials used. More specifics are included below, but please note that this is not meant to be a comprehensive guide on how to do this, but a general description to inform of this very real possibility.
Specifics: We are building the mounts out of 1/8 inch (beefy) slotted struts, otherwise known as unistrut, and simple hardware that can be bought at the hardware store. This is easy to assemble, once you know the dimensions of your mount. The unistrut can be cut with a cut-off saw, and you’ll want to make sure to smooth out any jagged edges.
When mounting the mount to the roof make sure to include cross-braces (not pictured below), these can be made out of thinner gage struts. You have to make sure that you brace it enough that the wind doesn’t catch it and blow it off into the yard.
One day our roof will be covered in solar panels nestled into homemade mounts, put up two to three at a time!