When it comes to generating energy, the decision between ground-mounted solar systems and roof-mounted solar panels can be significant, each with unique advantages.
What is a ground-mounted solar panel?
Ground-mounted solar refers to installing solar panels on a pole, typically in open areas of a property rather than on the roof of a building. Ground-mounted solar is known for its flexibility, ease of maintenance, and suitability for various land types, making it an excellent choice for homeowners and businesses seeking a different energy solution.
Here, we will discuss 18 reasons ground-mounted solar might be the right choice for your solar energy journey. Whether you’re looking to maximize energy production, preserve your rooftop, or make the most of your available space, you’ll discover why installing solar on the ground could be the answer you’ve been searching for.
1. Optimal Solar Panel Angle
The ideal orientation and tilt angle for solar panels are not always available on roofs. Fortunately, pole-mounted solar systems eliminate this limitation, allowing you to position your panels for optimal sun exposure. While different locations have slightly different requirements for maximum solar irradiance, ground-mounted solar enables you to design the optimal orientation and tilt.
2. More Efficient Solar Panels
Temperature plays an important role in maximizing solar panel efficiency. Pole-mounted solar panels stay cooler due to their improved airflow design, resulting in higher voltage and better energy production. Unlike panels on hot asphalt roofs, pole-mounted systems generate more energy by dumping excessive heat.
3. Adjustable Tilt for Maximum Efficiency
Adapting to the changing angle of the sun will help maximize energy production. Pole-mounted solar systems offer adjustable tilt mechanisms that optimize sun capture throughout the seasons. This adaptability ensures consistent efficiency by allowing panels to remain perpendicular to the sun’s rays, making it easy to change your system’s orientation as needed.
4. Overcoming Roof Space Constraints
Regulations for setbacks and space constraints can limit rooftop solar installations. For example, the roof may have various hips and dormers that restrict space. In contrast, pole-mounted solar systems provide a flexible alternative. You can overcome these obstacles and harness unlimited solar potential by using ground-mounted solar.
5. Easier to Expand for Increased Energy Needs
As power needs continue to grow, expanding your solar system becomes essential. Roofs have limited space. For example, if you’re considering getting an electric vehicle, you may have increased electric needs. Pole-mounted solar systems offer the scalability to meet your evolving energy requirements.
6. Preservation of Shade Trees
Shade from trees can significantly impact the performance of solar panels on your roof by blocking the sun from reaching them. Pole-mounted solar systems provide a viable solution by allowing you to place solar panels wherever you want on your property without cutting down your shade trees. This flexibility ensures optimal energy production without compromising the comfort and value your trees provide.
7. No Roof Penetrations
While the majority of rooftop solar installations have no issues, roof penetrations can still pose risks. Pole-mounted solar eliminates these concerns by avoiding roof penetrations altogether, offering peace of mind, and preserving your roof’s integrity for years.
8. Effortless Module Cleaning
Clean solar panels with access to sunlight is essential for efficient energy production. Pole-mounted solar panels simplify maintenance, as they are within easy reach for cleaning and adjustments. Whether you’re dealing with snow in northern climates or dust in southern states, maintaining ground-mounted solar panels is more accessible and cost-effective compared to roof-mounted systems.
9. Higher Return on Investment
Pole-mounted solar systems offer clear financial benefits. Maximizing energy production and simplifying maintenance can increase the return on your solar investment. Adjusting the panel tilt seasonally ensures consistent efficiency throughout the year, enhancing the long-term financial benefits of pole-mounted solar.
10. Longer Lifespan
Solar panels typically come with warranties spanning 25 years or more, surpassing the typical 20-year lifespan of roofs. When a roof replacement is necessary, you must remove your solar panels to replace your roof and then reinstall the solar panels. However, solar panel removal and re-installation can be costly, nearly doubling the initial installation expenses, as it requires machinery and poses a risk of damaging the solar panels.
11. No Added Roof Weight
Pole-mounted solar systems don’t burden your roof with additional weight. Most jurisdictions require structural analysis for roof installations and may restrict you from installing rooftop solar panels. Ground-mounted solar systems alleviate this concern, making them suitable for various roof types and structures.
12. Year-Round Solar Installation
Pole-mounted solar systems offer a unique advantage during winter months. While traditional roof installations often face delays due to adverse weather conditions, especially during snowy winter months, pole mounts do not face this issue. This allows you to install your solar panels seamlessly and ensure your energy production begins when you want it to, even in the harshest winter weather.
13. Safer Installation
Roof-based solar panel installations have safety risks such as falls and machinery hazards. Pole-mounted solar systems provide a safer alternative, reducing the need for harnesses, ladders, and extensive equipment use.
14. Simplified Installation
Installing solar panels can be physically demanding, particularly when climbing onto roofs. However, pole-mounted solar systems make the installation process much easier and safer, allowing installers to stay on the ground more often than not.
15. Utilize Empty Land
Pole-mounted solar systems enable efficient land utilization, making the most of available space. They are ideal for dual-use applications, such as providing shade by a pool, serving as carports for vehicles, or integrating with agriculture to generate energy and cultivate crops simultaneously. This versatility maximizes the value and productivity of your land.
16. Perfect for Rural Settings
Pole-mounted solar power is particularly beneficial in rural settings, where vast expanses of land are available. It allows for the efficient utilization of agricultural land, offering rural areas a sustainable and cost-effective source of clean energy. By harnessing solar power on these unused lands, rural communities can enhance their energy independence and contribute to a more environmentally friendly future.
17. Dual Benefits of Shade and Energy
Pole-mounted solar systems offer a dual advantage by generating clean energy and providing essential shade. This innovative solution lends itself to diverse applications, including shading structures by pools, carports, and agricultural settings while producing renewable energy.
18. Keep Your Roof Warranty
Your roof warranty could be voided when installing solar panels. Although rare, it is crucial to be cautious. With pole-mounted solar, you can avoid this issue and ensure your warranty stays intact.
In conclusion, choosing between ground-mounted solar systems and roof-mounted solar panels depends on various factors. Ground-mounted solar offers versatility, efficiency, and the ability to maximize energy production while preserving your roof.