The main reason I installed the tilt / hinge is to access underneath to clean the skylight, etc. and in case I need to repair a wire, etc. I rarely need to tilt towards the sun, but may need to at some point.
All three panels are connected. Note in the photo above you can see where the panels are joined by screws in the aluminum frame underneath and in other photos on the outside, joined by the aluminum L bars. The L bars provide better looks and strength.
The rear overhang helps protect the backup camera, etc. from weather and offers better handling during tilt operation.
These are custom made, simple base bolts to hold the tilting base plate, bar or plank. Use a lock-nut with hex head bolt. Then compress butyl tape on both sides for corrosion resistance (unless you have all stainless steel). Use pieces of 1" aluminum flat bar with hole drilled in middle for the bolt.
- There is no practical way for solar to power an electric heater for very long yet.
- Flexible panels are less efficient and more expensive.
- See the power webpage for info on necessary charge controllers, auxiliary batteries, etc.
- Panel frames have to be mounted at least a half inch from any surface to prevent overheating.