When considering solar energy systems for their homes, many homeowners tend to think of rooftop solar as the primary option. However, it’s important to note that ground-mounted solar panels can be ever easier to install while being cost-effective and non-destructive to special roofing materials.
What is a Ground-Mounted Solar Power System?
Ground-mounted solar panels are solar panels that are installed on the ground instead of on a rooftop. These solar systems function similarly to rooftop solar systems – the panels capture sunlight and convert it into electricity using solar cells. Ground-mounted systems can power a single building or, in the case of solar farms, entire communities.
- Ground-mounted solar panels function like a typical rooftop system but provide greater flexibility and are typically more efficient.
- Ground-mounted solar panel installations can maximize your energy production by being able to move with the sun’s position, creating longer periods of optimum power generation.
- Ground-mounted systems provide and alternative option for homes with high-cost slate roofs.
Ground-Mounted vs. Roof-Mounted:
While rooftop solar systems are a popular choice for homeowners, ground-mounted solar panel systems should not be overlooked. Although they are generally more expensive on a per-watt basis due to additional labor and permitting requirements, installing a ground-mounted system can actually save you more money in the long run.
One of the main advantages of ground-mounted solar panels is that they are not restricted by the characteristics of a roof. If your roof is not at the right angle, does not face south, or has obstructions like chimneys or skylights, then your solar array will be less productive. On the other hand, ground-mounted solar panels can be located wherever the conditions are most favorable for maximum energy production.
Furthermore, if your home consumes a lot of electricity, your roof may not have enough space for a solar energy system that meets your needs. Ground-mounted solar systems can be sized to match your electricity consumption without the space restrictions of a rooftop system.
Benefits for Homeowners:
Even if you are a good candidate for a rooftop solar energy system, there are many benefits to choosing a ground-mounted solar panel system.
First, ground-mounted solar panel systems are very easy to place, because they can be located on open land. They don’t require drilling into your roof, and the bracings used in standard ground-mount systems are lightweight and easy to remove. (If you opt for a pole-mount, they will usually be installed more securely.)
Second, a ground-mount solar panel system can be more productive per panel than a rooftop solar array. Because they’re not dependent on your roof, ground-mounted solar panels are set at the perfect angle to optimize energy production. This means you can generate more electricity than a comparably-sized rooftop system, and save more money in the long run.
Finally, ground-mounted solar panels are very easy to access for cleaning and maintenance. If you live in an area that receives a lot of snow in the winter, being able to easily sweep the snow off of your solar panels is a major convenience.
Most installers offer a ground-mount system option, and the cost of standard ground-mounted solar is comparable with a rooftop solar energy system installation. If you decide to include a tracking system in your installation, you will pay an additional upfront cost, but the resulting increase in electricity production can make tracking systems cost-effective for many homeowners.