Solar panels aren’t just for rooftops – if you can’t install solar on your roof, or simply don’t want to, a ground-mounted system can be an attractive alternative. Here are some important factors to consider before installing ground-mounted solar panels:
#1. Land space
Unlike a rooftop solar panel system, a ground-mount system takes up new, unused space on your property. When you put solar panels on your rooftop, you are using space on your property efficiently; however, when you install a ground-mount system, you’re using space on your property that could be used for another purpose. If you decide on a ground-mount system, you’ll need enough sunny space for the solar panels themselves, as well as space for digging trenching and laying wiring. Your city may have zoning laws that limit the amount of space on your property you can use, as some jurisdictions dictate how close a ground-mounted system can be to roads or property lines.
Ground-mounted solar panel installations require more equipment, which means they sometimes have a higher upfront cost. Additional labor costs or permitting fees beyond what’s needed for rooftop solar can also add to your upfront price. Fortunately, because you aren’t restricted by the size, tilt, or angle of your roof, ground-mount solar panel systems can be built to maximize electricity production, thus producing more solar electricity than a similarly-sized rooftop system.
#3. Electricity needs
Ground mount systems are typically larger than rooftop solar installations; if you have relatively low electricity needs and can get by with a smaller solar panel system on your roof, it may not be worth it to pay more for a large ground-mount system.
On EnergySage, you can compare the costs and benefits of rooftop versus ground-mounted solar panel installations so that you can ensure you’re installing the right system for your needs.