Ground Mounted Solar Panels
Solar panels are more commonly associated with installation on rooftops, however, there are several other options available. Solar panels are versatile and can be installed in several locations, even appearing on cars and motorhomes. When installed with domestic or commercial premises, installation locations typically include:
- Pitched Rooftops
- Flat Roofs
The household or commercial premises that the solar panels are installed on typically determine the location where the panels are to be installed, with space often being a deciding factor.
Types of Ground Mounted Solar Panel
- Frame Mounted
A frame-mounted solar panel structure is typically mounted on a fixed frame on a flat structure. The frame should be fixed in a position where it is exposed to the most amount of sunlight possible throughout the day. These panels also allow for some angle adjustment, to help maximise efficiency.
- Pole Mounted
Mounted on a fixed pole, these panel-mounted are more versatile in terms of the mounting location. Pole mounted panels can be mounted in fields, slopes or extended into a more aerial position to reduce shading. These panels also allow for more adjustment than that of frame-mounted panels. Pole mounted systems can be more expensive to install than a frame-mounted system, mainly due to the construction involved with the installation.
- Tracking Systems
Tracking systems are most often mounted on a pole-mounted system with a motorised frame that follows the sun throughout the day. This ensures that the panels are always at the right angle to maximise efficiency. These systems are often more expensive to install, however, increased levels of efficiency over the life of the solar panel can offset this increased investment.
Solar canopies are often used where ground space is limited. They are usually fitted to a frame that is part of an existing structure which minimises installation and space used.
Ground Mounted Solar Panel Installation
Ground-mounted solar panels are generally more popular on domestic or commercial premises where they have an abundance of land. Both or either Solar Thermal (solar hot water) or Solar PV (solar electric) can be mounted using ground mountings.
Advantages of ground mounted solar panels
- Easier installation
Ground-mounted solar panels involve a slightly different mounting and installation process than that of rooftop mount panels. This can on occasion make installation easier as no scaffolding is required.
- Easier ongoing maintenance
While solar panels generally require low levels of maintenance, panels mounted at ground level make it easier without the need for scaffolding and any cleaning.
- Utilise unused or wasteland
In houses or commercial premises with unused or wasteland, utilising these areas to produce
- No rooftop restrictions
With rooftop installations, you can often be limited to the number of solar panels that can be installed depending on the size of your roof. Other elements include the aspect of your roof and the structural integrity of your roof. Ground-mounted panels will avoid these issues altogether.
- Rooftop shading
Some rooftops have some element of shading, whether that be a chimney or a nearby tree, these are bad news for solar panel efficiency. With ground-mounted solar panels, you can choose a location where shading won’t be an issue.
- Visual Impact
Some may think that solar panels on their roof may impact the style and design of their house. Installing solar panels in a garden or area that won’t impact the design of your house may be a preferable option.
Disadvantages of ground mounted solar panels
Depending on the location of the panels being installed, shading from trees and buildings can be an issue. Where rooftop solar panels are higher in the air, there is often less chance of shading at certain times of the day when the sun may be lower in the sky.
Ground-mounted solar panels often accumulate more debris than that of rooftop solar panels. Despite this, being that they’re ground-mounted, they’re also easier to clean off.
Despite the installation being more accessible and often not requiring scaffolding, the installation cost can often be more than rooftop solar panels. This is mainly due to the mountings and wiring that take longer and can be more complicated to install/route.
This may be an obvious one but, ground-mounted solar panels take up more space on the ground. This is often a limitation within most households as they either don’t want to lose space to ground-mounted solar panels or the space isn’t available in the first place.