In this guide, I’ll show you how to make a DIY solar panel wall mount in just 7 steps.
Soon, you’ll have a wall-mounted solar panel that looks something like this:
And it’ll be mounted at the best tilt angle for your location so it can soak up the maximum amount of solar energy.
Let’s get started.
Materials & Tools
- Wood – I used 2×2
- Wood screws of various lengths – the lengths will depend on what size wood you use
- Solar panel – This mount is best for smaller solar panels. I used a 20 watt panel.
- 4 2-inch straight mending plates
- Bolts with nuts and washers – I used 3/4″ bolts
- Safety glasses
- Drill and drill bits
- Tape measure
- Speed square, protractor, or something for measuring angles (not pictured)
Step 1: Find the Best Tilt Angle for Your Location
Just enter your city or zip code and it’ll find the best angle for your solar panel.
I’m building my wall mount for my parents, so I calculated the tilt angle for the town they live in:
Turns out the best angle for me is 28°.
Try it out for yourself here:
Remember this number for later.
Step 2: Cut the First Side of the Triangle Brackets
My dad is an engineer, so I got his input on this design. We came up with something easy and sturdy. It’s not perfect, but here’s what we did:
The wall mount I built is essentially two triangles brackets secured to the wall with the solar panel connected to each one via mending plates.
So, first up, we need to put together the triangle brackets.
Time to cut some wood.
First, decide whether you’ll mount your panel horizontally or vertically. I chose vertically because of the location of the mounting holes on the back of my solar panel.
Measure the length of the sides of your panel for your given orientation. Record this number. My panel was 20.25 inches (51.4 cm) long.
Add 4 inches (7.6 cm) to this number to give yourself room to drill screws above and below the panel.
So I did:
20.25 in + 4 in = 24.25 in
Find the length for your triangle using this method, then cut two pieces of wood to this length with your saw. (Two pieces because we’re making two triangle brackets.)
Cut one end flat and cut the other end at your optimal tilt angle that you found in Step 1.
Here’s what my two pieces looked like after cutting:
These are the pieces the panel will be mounted to. So your pieces should be a little bit longer than the sides of your solar panel. Like this:
That’s it for the first side of our triangle brackets.
On to the second!
Step 3: Cut the Second Side of the Triangle Brackets
You could use the good ol’ Pythagorean theorem to figure out the length of the other sides of the triangle.
But here’s a simple way to do it without math.
Assemble your triangle on the ground like this:
Mark where to cut the bottom side of the triangle so that it connects with the side you just cut, the hypotenuse.
One end of the bottom piece will be flat (the one that touches the wall). The other, the one that connects to the hypotenuse, will be cut at an angle.
Find the cut angle by subtracting your optimal tilt angle from 90°. (Recall that my tilt angle is 28°.)
So I did:
90° - 28° = 62°
Find your cut angle using this method.
Then use a speed square or protractor (or whatever tool you use to measure angles) to mark the cut.
Once you’ve marked your cut at the proper angle, cut both pieces.
Here’s what my pieces look like:
We got two sides of the triangles down.
Just one more to cut.
Step 4: Cut the Third Side of the Triangle Brackets
Assemble your triangle on the ground again using the two cut sides. For the third side, use the remaining length of wood you have.
Mark where you want to cut the third side of the triangle (the vertical side). As you can see in the above photo, I added about 2 inches (5.1 cm) of margin to the top to give myself room to screw the third side to the wall.
Cut the third sides to length with your saw. No need for angles on this one — just straight cuts.
Assemble your triangles on the ground for the final time before screwing them together. Make sure everything fits together well like so:
We’re done cutting!
Step 5: Assemble the Triangle Brackets
Here’s how I screwed my triangles together:
Feel free to copy my placements or adjust for your own purposes.
Grab your drill and screw the pieces together with wood screws of the appropriate length. Repeat for the second triangle bracket.
And just like that…
…your triangle brackets are done!
I’m pretty happy with how mine turned out:
You can use plates and L brackets for even stronger connections, but I didn’t bother.
Step 6: Attach the Triangle Brackets to the Wall
Tip: If you’re in the northern hemisphere like me, mount your solar panel on a south-facing wall to maximize energy capture. If you’re in the southern hemisphere, mount it on a north-facing wall. If you’re uncertain, you can find the right direction to point your panel (the “azimuth”) with this calculator.
Mark where you want to attach your triangle brackets to the wall. Use a tape measure to make sure they’re installed as far apart as your solar panel is wide.
Screw the brackets to the wall, using a level to make sure they’re vertical. I used two screws per bracket — one at the top and bottom of the vertical side.
Here’s a video of this step:
Your wall mount is now assembled!
Now only one thing left to do — attach the solar panel.
Step 7: Attach the Solar Panel to the Wall Mount
Measure the distance between the mounting holes on the back of your solar panel. Use this distance to mark where to attach the mending plates.
Screw the mending plates to the angled side (the hypotenuse) of the brackets. Attach two plates per bracket, oriented inward.
Here’s a video illustrating what I mean:
Grab your solar panel and bolt it via the mounting holes to the mending plates. I tightened each of mine with a wrench.
Here’s what my bolts look like from the bottom:
Once the final bolt is tightened…
…your solar panel is mounted to the wall!
You’ve just made your very own DIY solar panel wall mount.
If needed, drill a hole in the wall and feed the solar panel’s wires through it. My dad’s shed had a gap in the wood siding, so I just fed my panel’s wires through that, like so:
Here’s how mine looks from the front of the shed:
From the side:
And finally, from the bottom:
What I Learned
This was a fun project, and I learned a few things while doing it I thought I’d share:
- I’ll consider buying a pre-made solar panel wall mount next time. The DIY route is always the most rewarding. But for some scenarios, it might make more sense for me to buy. At the very least, I will research solar panel mounting brackets because the mounting holes on the backs of some solar panels are difficult to use. They are usually only a half-inch or inch from the back of the panel. That’s not a lot of room to work with.
- Wall-mounted solar panels make the most sense if your roof isn’t a good option. I chose to mount this solar panel on the wall because the roof of my dad’s shed doesn’t face south. If it had, I’d have mounted the panel on the roof.
- Wall mounts are best for small solar panels. My 20 watt panel was a perfect size and weight for the wall mount we designed. Anything bigger — say, a 100 watt solar panel — and mounting it on the wall would’ve been much more of a challenge.
3 More Ways to Mount a Solar Panel
1. On the Roof
The roof is, in many scenarios, the best place to mount solar panels — especially larger arrays. It’s likely to have limited shade and may face the azimuth direction for your location. Installation can be a challenge, though, and the tilt angle may be limited to the angle of your roof.
2. On the Ground
Mounting a solar panel on the ground is as easy as it gets. You can just prop the panel up and call it a day. Or, you can build a fixed or adjustable mount for cheap.
In fact, I built an adjustable solar panel ground mount out of PVC pipe for just $11. Check it out:
3. In a Window
Windows greatly reduce the power output of solar panels. But, for certain situations where you don’t need a lot of energy — and don’t mind blocking a window — mounting a panel in a window can be the easiest and cheapest option.
For example, this guy mounted a solar panel in a window to power his solar shed lights. I’ve never done it, but I might one day for a small, low-power project.
DIY Solar Power Projects You Can Build Now
Your solar panel is mounted, now it’s time to connect it to the rest of your solar power system. This guide walks you step by step through how to connect a battery to — and charge it with — a solar panel.
This versatile solar lighting system can be used to light up a shed, garage, van, and more. LED strip lights are bright and energy efficient — the perfect option for solar power systems.