Rooftop solar is the most popular option for homeowners when it comes to installing solar energy systems on their homes. Many homeowners are unaware that ground mount solar panels can be just as cost-effective and easy to install.
What are ground mount solar panels?
Ground Mounted solar panels are solar panels that are mounted at ground level. They function in a similar way to rooftop solar systems. The panels are exposed to sunlight, which is converted into electricity by solar cells. This can be used to power one building, or communities in the case with solar farms.
These are the top three facts about ground mounted solar panels.
Ground Mounted solar systems are often the best choice.
Rooftop solar panels are the most popular choice for homeowners. However, ground mounted solar panels are also an option.
Ground mount solar panels are frequently more pricey than rooftop solar panels due to the extra labor and permits that may be required. Ground Mounted solar systems might save you money in the long run if your home isn’t suitable for solar installations.
Solar arrays from Rooftops have a limited range of performance due to the roof they are mounted on. Your solar array will not produce as much if it isn’t installed at the right angle, faces south or has obstructions such as skylights or chimneys. Ground Mounted solar panels, on the other hand, can be placed wherever the best conditions exist.
You might also find that your roof is not large enough to accommodate a solar energy system that can meet your electricity consumption. Ground Mounted solar systems, on the other hand, can be scaled to meet your electricity consumption without the limitations of a rooftop system.
All ground mounted solar panels systems are not created equal
There are two types of basic ground mounted solar panels systems:
Ground-mounts are made from metal framing that is driven into the ground and holds your panels at a fixed angle. While standard ground mounted solar panels can be adjusted manually to adjust for seasonal changes.
Pole mounted solar systems can support multiple panels on one pole and raise panels higher than standard ground mounts. Many pole mounted solar systems include tracking systems that automatically tilt the panels so they capture the maximum amount of sunlight.
With tracking systems, solar panel manufacturing can be boosted by up to 25%. When it comes to adding a tracking system to your ground mounted array, you have two alternatives. Single-axis tracking systems monitor your solar panels throughout the day, following the sun’s path across the sky. Dual-axis tracking systems also can account for seasonal changes in the sun’s position.
All homeowners can benefit from ground mounted solar panels systems
Even if your home is ideal for rooftop solar energy, ground mounted solar panels have numerous advantages.
Ground Mounted solar panels are easy to install because they can be placed on any level of land. Ground-mount solar panels don’t need to be drilled into your roof.
Additionally, the bracings in standard ground-mount systems can be removed easily and are lightweight. They will be more secure if you choose a pole-mount.
A ground-mount solar panel system is more efficient per panel than a rooftop array. Ground Mounted solar panels don’t need to be attached to your roof and can be set at the ideal angle for optimal energy production.
You can produce more electricity than a comparable-sized rooftop system and also save money over the long term.
Ground Mounted solar panels can be easily cleaned and maintained. It is very convenient to be able to sweep snow off your panels if you live in an area with a lot of snow.
Ground-mount systems are available from Nevada Solar Group installers. The cost of a conventional ground mounted solar system is comparable to the cost of a rooftop system. If you incorporate a tracking system, you will have to pay an upfront price, but this can be compensated by higher electricity generation, making tracking systems more reasonable for homeowners.
What is a suitable area for a ground mounted solar system?
You want a space that is ideal for you.
- To the south, flat or gently sloping (up to 5 degrees).
- A floodplain beyond 100 years old is not possible
- Shade from nearby trees not required
- It is easy to locate the existing electrical infrastructure, avoiding expensive trenching and cabling.
- Large installations (above 100kW) are not visible from nearby homes.
- A suitable ground (not too soft that concrete foundations are required, but not too hard that pre-drilling is necessary)
A geotechnical study is required before a solar installation can proceed. This will confirm that the right solar mounting structure can also be used, and the warranty.
Different Ground Mounted Solar Panel Racking Systems
Steel pillars are the most economical way to install ground mount systems. Steel pillars are suitable for driving in if the ground has been deemed suitable by the geotechnical assessment.
Sometimes, a concrete footing is required in order to mount the panels. This provides greater stability and wind resistance.
Although they are more expensive to install, ground screws offer a stable solution. You can drill the screws with special equipment.
It is possible to not penetrate the ground entirely if it is necessary. Concrete blocks can be used to install solar panels. They sit on the ground and hold the system in place.
Single Axis Tracking
Tracking systems use motors to pivot panels throughout the day so that they are at the right angle to the sun. Single-axis trackers follow the sun’s path from East to West.
Dual Axis Tracking
Dual axis trackers are equipped with multiple motor distinctions that allow the panels to move in a more circular motion, maximizing the output.
Ground-Mounted Solar: Drawbacks
Ground Mounted solar systems have their drawbacks, but it all depends on how your situation is.
Land is required
Ground Mounted systems have the obvious disadvantage of needing to be installed on land. This makes them more appropriate for suburban or rural settings than urban ones. Ground Mounted solar systems capable of producing enough electricity to power an American household’s average daily needs would require approximately 1,000 square feet of unobstructed sunlight.
Potential Environmental Impact
The United States has more than 8 billion square meters worth of rooftops that can be used to install solar panels. These panels are capable of doubling the country’s electricity generation capacity. There is no need to make additional land available. Rooftop solar has a minimal impact on the environment in terms of land use.
A typical ground mounted solar array requires that land be cleared of vegetation and then graded before it can be covered with gravel. Sacrificing land with high environmental value is costly. It can lead to lost time in permitting and public approvals, as well as potential litigation.
Ground Mounted solar projects can be placed on marginal lands such as brownfields and other disturbed or contaminated land to limit their environmental impact. You can also mount solar panels high enough for agrivoltaics. This combines solar panels and agriculture. The panels can be used to support crop-growing or provide shade for livestock. The United States is introducing more renewable energy sitting tools to help with the environmentally-friendly development of ground mounted solar plants.
Home Resale Value
A Zillow study found that homes with solar panels sell for 4.1% less than similar homes without them. However, a ground mounted system could turn off potential buyers who are looking to use the property for another purpose.
In certain cities, rooftop solar systems may be considered “permitted development”. However, because this is a new use for property, ground mounted systems might require permission from local zoning or environmental authorities. This depends on system size and height as well as local regulations.
Ground Mounted systems require longer wiring to connect to the home. To protect the wires from being eaten by squirrels and other animals, it may be necessary to bury them.
What is the cost of ground mounted solar panels?
A solar system costs about $2.77 per Watt on average. This means that a 10 kilowatt system would cost $27,000.8 Ground Mounted systems have higher upfront costs. We include extra mounting hardware and labor as well as additional permits.
A solar system is a long-term investment. Therefore, it is important to calculate the return on investment (ROI) and not just the upfront costs. The ROI of a solar system is determined by many factors, including the cost and efficiency, financing costs, labor costs, incentives from the federal and state governments, and the price for electricity in your region. It takes 7 to 12 years for the system’s cost to be fully paid off.
Its efficiency is the main factor that will determine whether a ground mounted array is more cost-competitive than a rooftop solar system. It may be more efficient if it can produce more electricity with fewer panels. This will allow it to have a faster return on investment.
Is Ground-Mounted Solar cheaper than Roof-Mounted Systems?
Ground Mounted systems can be more expensive than roof-mounted ones, even though it may seem counterintuitive. Although it might seem like lugging panels onto roofs and having them installed in difficult locations would be costly, using a roof to start building on can help reduce costs.
Roof-mounted solar panels require a foundation to install the racking. You may need to lay a foundation of cement or other materials. However, this is more than just setting up the solar panel mounts and calling it good.
Ground-mount panels are more expensive than roof-mount panels, but it is not much. You might need additional permits depending on the size of your solar array and foundation. This will add time and cost money.
Ground-mounts can be adjusted manually throughout the year so that they make the most of the sun’s rays. Although they may not offer the same flexibility as a pole-mount system, they can be adjusted more than roof-mount systems. This allows for more electricity production and reduces the cost gap.
It is worth noting that although the installation will be more costly, your ground-mount panels will perform better. They don’t need to be adjusted to the orientation or direction of your roof. This allows them to be placed to get the best sun exposure. This means that you can get more electricity, which could potentially save you money over the life of your solar system.
Ground Mounted solar panels: What are the pros and cons?
You should be aware of both the advantages and disadvantages of a ground mounted system if you are considering one over a roof system. Your needs and the parameters that you and your provider can work within will ultimately determine your decision.
Freestanding solar panels have the advantage of maximizing sunlight exposure. Although your rooftop might not be perfectly oriented (e.g., it is south-facing and has a slope of 30-40 degrees), you can choose how to mount your ground mounted solar system to maximize energy production. Ground Mounted systems are more efficient because there is more air circulation underneath the panels. This allows them to remain cool. Ground Mounted systems are also easier to access for maintenance. This can reduce labor costs.
Ground Mounted systems may not be the best fit for everyone. Rooftop systems can sit on your roof and occupy valuable space on your property. Ground mounted systems may require you to use valuable land. This alone can be problematic for homeowners who use the space for gardening, recreation or farming. However, in certain cases, you may be able to combine ground mounted and farming systems using agrivoltatics. Ground Mounted solar panels are more susceptible to being damaged by wildlife and people trying to alter the equipment. Ground mount solar systems are more expensive, as long as you don’t need extensive roof repairs to install a rooftop solar panel (which you will probably have to do eventually).
Nevada Solar Group is the best place to start your solar journey.
You can get up to seven quotes from local installers on the Nevada Solar Group Marketplace. This will allow you to choose the system that best suits your needs and at the right price. Register your property today to speak with one of our Energy Advisors, who will answer all your questions during the entire process.