This post documents the steps to mount a 120W solar panel to a pole.


I chose to use aluminum angle to construct my solar panel frame.


I cut through the aluminum angle using a hacksaw.


I drilled the holes into the aluminum using a drill press and a hand drill.


To protect the steel pipe from the elements, rust, and corrosion, I sprayed it with a cheap, $1 can of black spray paint.




The pole is concreted into the ground with rebar.  I used 230 pounds of concrete.  The pole is plumbed to keep the pole perpendicular to the ground, letting the panel naturally balance on the pole without putting strain on the pole to either side.  But when the wind blows, it pushes on the large panel, so to keep it safely secured in the ground, I used concrete.

How do you know how deep the hole should be?  How big should the hole diameter be?  I referred to a chart at  PDF File

Chart from

Chart from

VIDEO – Putting the pole in the ground with conduit and concrete


Conduit shields the electrical cables going from the solar panel to the house.  How do you get conduit out of the boxes anyway?  I think I spent way too much time trying to figure it out, trying to find the end of the conduit so I could pull it through the box.  It may be easier to cut the box all the way open and remove the entire coil of conduit from its box.  If you plan on using all the conduit for one job, why try so hard to preserve the box?

VIDEO – Frustrating Conduit Box Dispenser


In the next video, the solar panel is finally mounted to the top of pole and locked with a chain.  The solar panel can be manually rotated on the pole and aimed at the sun. To demonstrate that the panel is producing power, I show in the video how it can charge a portable 12V battery and power an air compressor. The air compressor performs useful work, inflating the tires on my son’s bicycle.



VIDEO – Using an extension cord to transfer power from the solar panel to the house.

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  1. Alisa Mercer says:

    Greetings. I am trying to build a racking system for 4 solar world 145 watt panels. Can you suggest how long the pole should be, the size of the pole, and framing. I like how you have your system…thanks

  2. Earl says:

    The pole size would depend on the surface area of your panels, usually measured in square feet. So, if your 4 panels combined are about 35 sq. ft., then the pole could be: 3.0 inches in diameter, 42 inches in the ground, and 60~72 inches above ground. These figures come from Direct Power & Water with the disclaimer to “always consult your mount manufacturer for specifications for your site and mount.” Good luck.

  3. Alisa Mercer says:

    Oh my Earl…thank you so very much…well I had contact Direct Power and they wanted $610.00 for a rack mount for 4 solar world 145 watt panels…I thought that was a bit much…so I have been reseaching to make my own rack mounts….so far you site is the best…I will update you on our progress …Alisa

  4. Earl says:

    Thanks for the compliment. :-)

    That rack mount is costly. I understand why you want to build your own to save some money.

  5. serjio says:

    from what I can see above, this panel gives just 28W (when clouds have passed). does it really happen that it provides 120W?
    what’s the latitude you are located and what’s the cost of that panel?

  6. Earl says:

    The power provided is less than 120W. That is a maximum value.

    34° 29′ 50″N

    The panel is a few years old now. Prices have come down so much since.

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