Should I choose Ground-Mounted Solar Panels?
Ground-mounting your solar panels is an alternative way of installing a solar energy system on your property. While most solar energy systems have their panels mounted on roofs, there are reasons why ground-mounted systems are chosen instead.
Reasons to ground-mount your solar panels
There are several reasons why you would want to ground-mount your solar panels. The main reason to choose a ground-mounted system is that your roof isn’t suitable for solar panels. This could be for a variety of reasons:
- The structure of your roof isn’t strong enough to support the weight of the solar panels.
- The number of solar panels needed to power your property cannot fit your rooftop.
- Buildings or other structures around your rooftop will block sunlight from reaching your solar panels.
- The orientation/layout of your roof isn’t suitable for solar panels.
These are some reasons why you would go with ground-mounted solar panels. Some people may prefer to have their solar panels off their rooftop for aesthetic reasons. Others may want easy access to their solar panels if they need to clean them.
Requirements for ground-mounted solar panels
To install ground-mounted solar panels on your property. You will need to consider three main factors.
The available space
Ground-mounted solar panels will take up a large amount of space on your property. Because a ground-mounted installation will need plenty of space for the solar panels themselves. Trenches and wiring will need to be laid out to connect your property to the solar panels. Your solar panels themselves will also need a strong foundation made to support their weight and the mounting equipment. Building this foundation will also need serious machinery, so your property should also allow them access.
Trees can get in the way of your solar panel installation. Your solar panels will need clear access to sunlight and avoid as much shading as possible. Consider the position and orientation of your solar panels to the sun above. If anything can affect the performance of your solar panels, you will need to get a groundskeeping crew to either trim or cut them down.
All of this installation work will also need planning. Your local city or town might have special setback requirements. These requirements say how far your installation can be from roads, structures, and other property borders. You will need to make sure your installation follows these requirements and stays within your property lines. Contacting your local government’s planning department will give you proper information on your area’s setback laws.
The ground itself
Before even building a heavy-duty foundation and ground-mounting your solar panels, you will also need to examine the ground around your property. Your property must have sturdy ground for the foundations and solar panels to stay in place. The soil itself would have to fulfill some specific requirements to be able to support a ground-mounted installation.
- The soil itself needs to be clear of large rocks. The construction of the foundation will require drilling, which can interfere or even prevent any drilling work. You remove these rocks or even have alternate methods of dealing with them. But these steps will cost more money and require more time.
- The soil itself also needs to be stable, if your property’s soil is loose or contains rock formations, it won’t be suitable for installing a foundation. If your property is near coastal areas or a body of water, chances are the soil is wet and unstable.
- If your property is within or near an active seismic zone, it won’t be suitable for ground-mounted solar panels.
To check if your property’s soil is ideal for a solar panel installation. Have a soil/structural engineer survey your property. They will determine if you can go forward with a ground-mounted solar panel installation.
Ground-mounted solar panels require much more labor and equipment compared to rooftop solar panels, resulting in a higher cost. You will want to check with your financing company if these additional ground-mounting costs are also covered. Some loans are limited in their amount. Rebates or incentives may not cover the groundwork for your system. These are some financing issues that you may come across and want to sort out before an installation. Our articles on solar financing and incentives can help you understand more.
Ground-mounted solar panels systems can use different components compared to rooftop mounted ones. If you are looking at a ground-mounted system, we will choose components and parts that will fit the requirements of your home and are suitable for ground-mounting. We will also help you make the most of any incentives that can ease the cost of your ground-mounted installation.
Ground-mounted solar panels for your property
If you are considering a ground-mounted or even roof-mounted solar energy system, we are ready to help you. Our website also has a free online estimate tool that generates a personalized report for you from a simplified questionnaire. That report will contain the potential savings you can net, and the cost of a solar energy system installed on your property. You can also contact us directly via phone at +1 (602) 363-8919 or via email at Scott@elitesolarenergy.org for more information regarding solar energy for your property.