Why choose a ground mount?
Sometimes, a roof just isn’t fit for solar panels. When the roof is too flat or too shaded, it is more difficult to take advantage of the benefits of solar power. Ground mounts are a great option for households who still want to install solar panels, but cannot do it on their roofs.
What is a ground mount?
This term simply refers to a solar array that is installed on poles or a cement base on the ground, rather than on top of a roof. The picture on the left shows and example.
Are there different types of ground mounts?
There are two main types of ground mounts. The first is a standard mount, which are installed at a fixed angle on the ground. This angle may be adjusted slightly, but not much.
The second type of ground mount is a pole mounted system. This is exactly what it sounds like – the panels are elevated by poles. With these systems, you have the option to buy a tracking system. Tracking systems allow you to change the angle of the panels based on where the sun is in the sky, to get full sunlight for as long as possible. They can be expensive, but they do significantly boost system efficiency. The picture above shows a pole mounted system.
Are ground mounts more efficient than rooftop solar?
Ground mounts use the same panels that you would on a rooftop installation; there is no special panel for the ground. So, the efficiency of the physical panel is the same as a panel on the roof.
However, ground mounts can be installed at different angles. Panels on a roof are pretty much bound to the angle of the roof. Also, there is a little more freedom in regards to location with panels on the ground. This is important because it makes it easier for the installer to avoid shaded areas. It is generally easier to avoid forested areas when installing panels on the ground, since you can’t really change the location of a house that is near a forest. For these reasons, overall the efficiency of a ground mount system can be higher than that of rooftop solar.
Another benefit of ground mounts is that as long as there is room on your property, these systems can actually be larger than what you could fit on their roof. Ground mounts are also easier to maintain, clean, and fix if any problems arise.
Are ground mounts more expensive?
Because of added labor cost, and the cost of extra materials like poles, cement base, underground wiring, etc. ground mounts tend to be a little more expensive than rooftop solar.
However, as discussed above, they also tend to be slightly more efficient. Also if you can’t install solar in your house, installing solar anywhere is better than no solar at all!
So, those are the basics about ground mount installations! If you want to learn more about installing solar panels on your property, contact us.