The Benefits of Ground Mount Solar
Roof-mounted panels seem to be the standard when it comes to mounting solar panels. At least this is the most common solution that homeowners choose. While it is one of the most popular mounting solutions, it is not your only choice. Have you ever considered the benefits of ground mount solar panels?
If you have a roof that is not ideal for mounting panels, then you have to explore other options. Ground-mounted solar panels are perfect for those who do not have space restrictions to worry about. Let’s take a look at ground mounts and what they can offer you.
Types of Ground Mounts
There are two different types of ground mounts and multiple foundation options available. The most common is the standard ground mount, but pole mount solar panels are also available for consumers who need something different. Solar homes in cold climates may wish to consider pole-mounted solar panels for increased productivity in an area with less sun exposure.
Standard Ground Mounts
Standard ground mounts use several poles in the ground and a racking system on top to hold the solar panels. Building a standard ground mount system is a bit like building a fence. First, you dig lots of holes. Next, place the poles in the holes and fill them in with concrete. That’s the foundation for holding the solar panels.
With this type of mounting system, the angle the solar panels are tilted at is permanent and can’t be changed. The standard ground mount system is budget-friendly and easy to install. However, it lacks adjustability which makes it less desirable for cold areas that experience lots of snow.
The concrete piers used in the standard ground mount system are very practical and cost-effective. If you do not feel like this is an efficient method for you, there are alternatives.
- Ballasted – adds an above-ground concrete footing.
- Driven Piers – pile driven poles deep in the ground.
- Helical Piles – giant screws also known as “earth screws.”
These alternative options are mostly reserved for commercial installations with hard or rocky soil.
Pole-Mounted Solar Panels
Pole-mounted solar panels are another option for ground mount solar systems. Pole mounts can provide unique solutions in special cases.
Pole-mounts are built like the standard mounts. Instead of digging several holes, one large hole is fitted with an equally large pole. The solar panels are mounted on top with a feature that allows you to adjust the tilt and swivel of the panels. This can be done manually or with the use of automatic trackers for improved efficiency.
The adjustable feature also allows you to lift the system above the ground to clear snow in cold climates. The height plus adjustability makes a pole mount system ideal for some. However, pole-mounted solar panels are much more costly because they require large concrete footing and pipes.
3 Advantages of Ground Mounts
Here are 3 advantages to having a ground-mounted solar system:
- A ground mount system is easier to access and doesn’t interact with your roof. This means you won’t have to worry about damaged roofing, potential water leaks, or moving panels when it’s time to replace your roof.
- Ground mounts maximize sun exposure, so they’re able to generate the most electricity possible. Unlike roof-mounted panels, ground mounts don’t rely on the pitch of your roof and aren’t affected by a roof that stays shaded for much of the day. Ground-mounted panels can be pointed in the best possible direction, without having to rely on your roof for an optimal position.
- You can install as many ground mounts as you need providing you have space. Rooftop panels are restricted by the size of your roof, so once you run out of the south or west-facing space, then the amount of solar energy you’ll be able to create will drop. With ground mount solar panels, you’re only restricted by the size of your lot.
What do I need to know before installing ground mount solar?
Ground-mounted solar panels could be your best option.
While rooftop solar panel mounts are the most common, there are many reasons you may wish to consider a ground-mounted system. If your property isn’t ideal for rooftop installation, a ground-mounted solar system can save money.
Rooftop solar arrays are restricted by the optimal surface area of the roof on which they are being installed. If your roof doesn’t have optimal sun exposure, your solar array will be less productive. However, ground-mounted solar panels can be located wherever the most sunlight can be found, increasing their productivity.
Your roof might not be big enough for the size solar system you need. Ground-mounted solar systems can be sized to match your electricity needs with fewer space restrictions.
Not all ground-mounted solar panel systems are created equally.
Standard ground mount systems use metal framing to hold up solar panels at fixed angles. Some standard ground-mounted systems can be manually adjusted periodically to account for shifts in the sunlight, but many are immovable.
Pole mounted solar systems support many panels on a single pole and elevate panels higher than a standard ground mount system. Pole mounted systems often incorporate tracking systems too. Tracking systems automatically tilt solar panels to capture optimal sunshine.
Tracking systems increase productivity by 25 percent or more. If you decide to add a tracking system, you can choose from a single-axis or dual-axis system. Single-axis systems move panels in the direction of the sun throughout the day. Dual-axis systems also allow for adjustments based on seasonal variations.
Ground mounts give homeowners benefits.
There are many benefits to choosing a ground-mount system for your solar panels.
For starters, ground-mounts are easy to install, because they don’t require drilling into your roof. Also, ground mount solar panels are often more productive than a rooftop system because they aren’t dependent on the angle of your roof. Their perfect optimization creates excellent clean energy production, which saves money in the long run. Finally, they’re easy to access for cleaning and maintenance. Being able to maintain your solar system with ease is very convenient for homeowners.
Ground mount systems do have additional upfront costs, but the increased electricity savings is often cost-effective for many homeowners. Wondering if ground-mounted solar is right for you? Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We will help you explore all of your options so you get the best possible solution for your energy needs.