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3. Secure panels to their mounting surface

  • Panel locations and surface type will determine mounting technique
  • Review mounting hardware components from previous section.
  • Check out step-by-step pictures at the bottom of each section
  • Once the panels are connected together, and if the roof pitch is 5:12 or less, it should be possible to slide the bank of panels to their mounting location. 
    • Be sure not to drag them over anything sharp. 
    • Make sure the headers are horizontal and level or very slightly pitched towards the feed port so that they can drain thoroughly in the fall if necessary.
      • I personally like horizontal headers for aesthetic reasons.
        • They will still drain just fine if piping is done to allow it.
    • Once in place, have someone hold them from shifting or lifting until upper header is secure.


There are two ways to do this procedure:
  • 1. Slide two ST clamps (part #8508) onto the upper header of each panel (center roughly about 30" apart) and seal and secure it to roof - recommended
    • Use enough sealant so that there is a bead of sealant around all four edges of the clamp.


  • 2. Seal and secure tie-down cleat base above every upper header rubber coupler.  (See pictures below)
    • Location of cleat is dependent on roof type above (whether it has sheathing boards or plywood sub-roof).  Bolt needs to be secure to one or the other.
    • Generally, it should be within 6" from the coupling. 
    • Remember to pre-drill shake if on wood shake shingles
    • Use enough sealant so that there is a bead of sealant around all four edges of the cleat base when secure. 
    • When using tie down cleats, cut short Dacron straps from the big roll anywhere from 24-36" long depending on how far tie-down cleat can be from the upper header. 
    • If your straps are precut in panel packs, use the short (32") Dacron straps
    • Remember, these straps need to be long enough to wrap around each upper header coupler and then be secured using the "cap and base" tie down cleats.  
    • Always put a single knot in all Dacron strap ends wherever they may be. 
      • This will keep the strap from coming out of the cleat if it might loosen somewhat over time.
    • Wrap strap around each coupler, laying overlapping straps in groove of base, and hand-tighten the tie-down cleat cap onto the base. 
      • These caps can easily cross-thread so be careful when threading them on.  They should screw on easily. 
    • If the base moves when threading on the cap, the lag bolt holding it to roof is not tight enough and should be redone. 
    • Remember that these cleats (when using cleats) are all that is holding your panels from sliding down your roof.  Take care to do them properly. 

Tie-down base sealed and bolted to asphalt roof

Upper header tie-down cleat with strap and cap. Note knots in strap.

Cross section of header attachment

panel body (belly-band) straps

  • Once the upper headers straps or brackets are all secure, it is necessary to install the "belly band" straps across the panels (unless you used the SunSaver ST panels that don't require them).
  • If you need to, you can walk on the edges of the panels if you have on soft shoes and the roofing material is not abrasive or sharp underneath.
  • Secure tie-down cleats between each panel and the sides about 18-24" below the upper header
    • If you are using strap in a roll, tie a knot about 4" from the end of the strap, lay in at one end of the panel bank and secure the strap with a tie-down cleat cap as you go.  Put slight pressure on the strap with one hand as you tighten the cap with the other. 
    • If you are using 62" pre-cut straps, do the same as above but put knots at the very ends and overlap the straps together for all interior cleats.  See picture below.
  • Do the same between 12-18" above the lower header.
  • For 10 and 12 foot panels, put a third strap at the center of the panels.
  • Again, remember to put single knot in all strap ends.  Leave ~6" of strap on the ends.

Put gobb of mastic onto roof

Set 1/4" lag bolt into base over mastic

Screw-down lag bolt slowly until tight

Secure tightly to roof so mastic sqeezes out around the cleat edge

Do the same for all cleats

Leave excess strap at each end

Put single-knot in all strap ends

Another view of strap end

Another view of cleat between panels on shingle roof

Belly-band using short 62" straps overlapped at cleat - note knots in both ends

View showing upper belly-band strap across panels

Bottom belly-band



  • Honestly, the lower-header straps are often unnecessary.
    • Made of flexible vinyl to allow for panel expansion and contraction
    • No knots required
    • Recommended wherever windy conditions are common.  Use as needed.
      • Between every panel
      • Between every other panel -generally enough
      • Only at the bottom corners
    • Secure similar to upper header straps but below bottom header

Standard bottom-header strap

Bottom-header strap on pipe between two panels

 Copyright 2001 ecosystems. All rights reserved.
 Page last updated:
August 18, 2015

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