Want to install solar panels but not sure where to put them? Most people choose to install them on the roof of their home or business. But if that’s not possible, or it’s just not attractive to you, ground-mounted solar arrays are a smart alternative! Here, we look at the benefits and drawbacks to both.
What Are the Benefits of Ground-Mounted Solar Arrays?
Perhaps you don’t like the look of them on your house, or your roof is positioned in the trees, or maybe the direction and pitch of your roof is not ideal for solar.
Regardless of why you can’t or don’t want to install solar on your roof, ground-mounted solar panels are a great alternative! Ground-mounted solar panels can be installed anywhere on your property — including the front, side, or backyard — whereas rooftop-mounted panels must be attached to your roof.
Costs: Ground-mounted panels often cost more than roof mounted systems because they require additional materials, time, and labor. Artisan Electric generally uses a cement foundation or reinforced pole structure to ensure the panels are propped up off the ground, tilted at the proper angle, and then wired to your home, all of which ends up being a slightly more involved and pricier than installing on your roof.
Benefits: If you have a large demand for electricity, ground-mounted arrays can be ideally oriented to the direction and angle of maximum energy production. This way, you can produce more electricity than a pre-determined roof not ideally designed for solar. The increased cost of the ground-mounted solar array is offset by the high efficiency of the array.
Space: If you have a large yard or a lot of space, you can install a much bigger ground-mounted system than you could with a rooftop-mounted system, giving you the opportunity to generate more energy and save on your utility bill. However, a large ground-mounted system will consume more of your land, leaving you less space for recreation or gardening.
Aesthetics: Ground-mounted solar panels typically sit between a few inches and several feet above the ground, depending on your location and the mounting system. If you have a small yard and a bulky array, the panels may stand out more than they would on a rooftop. This can be a significant deterrent to homes with manicured lawns and landscaped gardens.
Cleaning and Maintenance: While solar panels don’t require much maintenance, you may need to clean or repair them at some point. As ground-mounted panels are closer to the ground, they are easier to clean and maintain than those on a roof. The only extra effort a ground-mounted array owner will need to invest is to keep the base of the panels clear during cold and snowy weather, as new snow on the panels can only slide off if the area below is clear.
What Are the Benefits of Roof-Mounted Solar Arrays?
Roofs are the easiest and best use of space for solar panels. It tends to be space that is not otherwise used on your home. Roofs are positioned high in the air, which gives them better chances to be in sunlight. In many cases, they are already angled toward the sun.
Costs: Rooftop-mounted panels are more common, and they’re usually easier and faster to install. The only thing that might increase those costs significantly is the condition of your roof. Rooftop-mounted panels require a steady, well-maintained roof that is expected to last at least 20 years. If your roof is more than 10 years old, you will likely have to replace it during the solar array’s lifetime. Uninstalling and reinstalling solar panels is complicated, time-consuming, and expensive, so you may want to replace the roof before installing your panels, which will increase overall costs.
Space: With rooftop-mounted panels, you’re much more limited in how large of a system you can install. because you likely don’t spend a lot of time on your roof, a rooftop-mounted system will preserve your land’s usable space.
Aesthetics: Rooftop-mounted systems are generally less noticeable, though it does depend on the positioning of your home. If the front of your home faces south, the panels will be very visible. If your home faces north, on the other hand, you can hide the solar panels better by placing them on the backside of your roof.
There’s no one right choice when it comes to deciding between ground-mounted and rooftop-mounted solar panels. Both solutions offer benefits, and the best arrangement ultimately depends on your property and preferences.
Let Artisan Electric help you evaluate your solar options. We can assess your property and provide a recommendation as to whether or not solar is a good choice for your home.
A smarter energy solution is closer than you think. Take the first step today.