Ground-Mounted Solar Systems: Pros and Cons

SOEASY Solar Ground Mounting Kokura Japan 250KW
SOEASY Solar Ground Mounting Kokura Japan 250KW

A ground-mounted solar system involves a structured frame fixed on the ground to support PV panels for power generation. There are mainly two types: fixed tilt and tracking systems. Fixed tilt systems are known for their stability and ease of installation, while tracking systems adjust the panels’ positions to follow the sun, maximizing energy capture. Although tracking systems can boost energy production by approximately 20%, they require more engineering and have potential risks, such as damage from high winds or increased maintenance costs.

Ground-mounted solar systems generally offer greater efficiency compared to roof-mounted systems. They can be installed in areas with fewer obstructions, allowing the panels to be positioned at optimal angles and directions. Additionally, ground solar racking can accommodate bifacial solar panels, which convert more sunlight into electricity. This increased energy production can accelerate the return on your solar investment.

This blog post aims to help you determine if ground-mounted solar panels are the right fit for your needs. We’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of ground-mounted systems and compare them to rooftop solar panels to help you make an informed decision.

Types of Solar Ground Mount System

Standard Ground-Mounted Systems

– These systems resemble rooftop installations, securing solar panels onto metal frames. The frames, often made of steel, may adjust occasionally to optimize sunlight capture. This setup is cost-effective, easier to install, and maintain compared to pole-mounted systems.

Solar Ground Bracket
Pv Mounting Rail

Pole-Mounted Systems

These systems involve installing a pole deep into the ground, on which a rack with tracking panels is mounted. Equipped with sensors and motors, these panels pivot to follow the sun’s path, enhancing efficiency by 25% or more. Ground-mounted arrays offer the option of single or dual-axis tracking systems.

dc motor for solar panel cleaning robot
solar panel system pv cleaning panel robot

Pros of Solar Ground Mount Systems

Location Flexibility
You can position these systems for maximum sun exposure, avoiding shadows from obstacles, resulting in enhanced efficiency and greater energy output.
Angle Optimization
Adjustable brackets allow you to modify the solar panel orientation seasonally or daily to follow the sun’s path, maximizing energy capture.
Simplified Maintenance
Ground-level access facilitates cleaning, inspection, and maintenance, ensuring optimal performance and potentially reducing long-term costs.
Future Expansion
Ground-mounted systems are easily expandable if your energy needs increase. Adding panels to an existing ground array is generally simpler than expanding a rooftop system.
Improved Cooling
Ground-mounted panels experience better airflow, operating at cooler temperatures and translating to improved energy production.
Enhanced Safety
Ground-mounted configurations isolate fire risk from your home. These systems also use independent electrical grounding, reducing potential hazards.
Added Functionality
Ground-mounted solar arrays can serve dual purposes, such as providing shade as a carport or canopy for vehicles and patios, or as a designated spot for charging electric vehicles.

Cons of Solar Ground Mount Systems

Space Requirements
These systems require significant space, making them impractical for urban settings or properties with limited land.
Additional Permitting
Local zoning laws may require special permits to build new structures, with approval times varying from days to months based on location.
Higher Initial Costs
Ground mounts need a newly built structure, unlike roof installations that attach directly to existing rafters, leading to higher initial costs.
Extra Wiring
These systems require extended wiring to connect the panels to your home. Burying these additional wires is advisable to protect them from damage by wildlife.

Positioning Your Ground-Mounted Solar Panels

While ground-mounted solar panels can be installed at a distance from your property, greater distances lead to higher installation costs. This is due to the extended wiring required to connect the panels to your home’s electrical system, necessitating thicker gauge wires to mitigate voltage drop, which can impact appliance performance.

Ground-Mounted Solar Panels vs. Roof-Mounted

For many homeowners, ground-mounted solar arrays often present a better alternative to rooftop installations. Ground-mounted systems can be positioned optimally on your property, avoiding the limitations of rooftop angles and obstructions. For households with high electricity needs, ground-mounted panels offer a viable solution, providing ample space for sufficient energy production.

Should You Consider a Ground-Mounted Solar System?

Deciding on a ground-mounted solar panel system depends on your specific situation. While initial costs may be higher, the enhanced efficiency can lead to greater savings over the system’s lifetime. Each project has unique aspects, and we can help you evaluate various scenarios. We offer customized ground-mount solar systems, as well as rooftop and floating solar systems, tailored to maximize space utilization and energy production.

You can tell us what you need, such as tilt angle, planned panel layout.
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