Mounting options for flexible solar panels vary depending upon the type of surface they are being mounted to as well as the type of vehicle or vessel you are mounting to. Panels mounted to the roof of a vehicle or RV will be subjected to high winds and require a semi-permanent installation to prevent the panel from being ripped off of the roof.
In this article I want to show you mounting technique that does not require any drilling. This technique also provides an insulated barrier between the solar panel and the roof that should improve cooling and improve the efficiency and longevity of the solar panel.
How The No-Holes Technique Works
In this video, I’ll demonstrate how to install a semi-flexible solar panel to aluminum T-track using this no-holes technique.
This has technique has proven to be very successful. I have three solar panels mounted this way and have driven thousands of miles through all kinds of conditions.
Materials You’ll Need
Here are the materials you’ll need before mounting the solar panels. Most of these materials can be found at your local home store.
- Aluminum T-Track (Shop for T-Track on Amazon)
- Corrugated Plastic Sheet (size of panel)
- 1/4″ x 20″ T-Bolts (Shop for T-Slot Bolts on Amazon)
- 6 x ¼” x 1” Stainless Steel Washer
- 6 (or 12) ¼” x 20 Stainless Steel Bolts (double for locking)
- 6 x ¼” x 20 Stainless Steel Wingnuts (optional if using bolts)
- 4 x ¼” Lock washers
- Lattice Frame (for front edge)
- 3M VHB Tape or Double Sided Eternabond Tape (Shop for VHB Tape on Amazon)
- Sikaflex 714 Sealant (Shop for Sikaflex 715 on Amazon)
How to Make The Solar Panel Mount
Follow these steps to mount the T-track and anchor the flexible solar panel to it:
- Cut insulator plastic sheet to fit solar panel and attach it to the back of the solar panel with some Sikaflex.
- Cut a section of vinyl lattice wide enough to fit between the T-Track
- Cut two pieces of T-Track a couple inches longer than the solar panel
- Clean the T-Track and roof surface with a solvent like rubbing alcohol or acetone
- Attach the VHB tape or Double-Sided Eternabond tape to the bottom of the T-Track (cut away excess with a knife)
- Set the T-Tracks in place on the roof and press firmly
- Add a bead of Sikaflex sealant around the T-Track for extra support, moisture protection and a clean look
- Assemble the mounting bolts, washers and other hardware (leave solar panel off for now)
- You’re ready to mount the solar panel
Installation The Solar Panel
This is the easy part. Simply slide the 1/4″ x 20″ T-Bolts into the T-Track. Align each bolt to each mounting grommet in the solar panel. Set the panel in place over the bolts and secure it using the bolts, washers and lock washers.
Finally, slide the lattice piece over the front edge to close the gap and protect the front and minimize wind lift.
I used high-quality Sun Power Flexible solar panels for this project purchased from SunPoweredYachts.com. They were durable and performed very well.
Now stand back and admire your fine work. The T-Track mount also makes it very easy to remove the solar panels for inspection or when not in use. I recommend doing this each year.