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When you start to consider solar panels, the next thing that usually comes to mind is rooftops, right? It is the norm to see solar panels glistening in the sun atop the roofs of buildings. What is indeed rare is seeing solar panels on floor mounts. We bet you have mainly seen them in the media. So, what sets a roof-mounted solar panel apart from a ground-mounted one? Do they even function the same way? Do I get less or more power supply from a ground-mounted panel? These are some of the most common questions homeowners and business owners ask us when considering ground-mounted solar panels.
In this article, we will debunk the most popular myths about ground-mounted solar panels by answering the frequently asked questions about them.
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Whether you want standard residential solar panels, or want to increase the efficiency and reduce the bills of your commercial structure, we’re the team to call. At Grandmark Energy, we offer solar panel systems at affordable prices for any client. We have a great deal of expertise in the design of systems to fit the roof of almost any structure.
In the rare event that a client’s roof cannot support solar panels, we offer a range of additional services to help improve their home’s energy efficiency.
As the name implies, ground-mounted solar panels are affixed close to the ground. The panels are usually mounted on photovoltaic trusses or supports with varying clearance above ground level. These supports come in three forms; the poles, foundations, and ballasts.
Pole supports for solar panels are either set in concrete or wedged straight into the earth. Foundation supports are slab-like, providing horizontal clearance between the panels and the ground while the ballasts are metal or concrete mounts that weigh enough to support the panels off the ground without penetrating it. Ballast supports are very easy to reposition and work best for locations were digging is almost impossible.
So, let’s dive right into debunking the myths surrounding ground-mounted solar systems.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Ground Mounted Solar
Yes indeed. To install a ground-mounted solar system, you only need a locally obtainable building permit and standardized photovoltaic supplies. These supplies must comply with the UL 2703 building code, which ensures that the mounting systems, fastening devices, panels, and all other parts that make up the solar system are tested to guarantee strength and durability.
The most prominent is the fire risk advantage. For roof-mounted solar systems, fire-related risks are more critical. In the event of a fire, containment and quenching are easier with the ground-mounted systems as they are more easily accessed. Overall, to reduce the risk of a fire outbreak, solar supplies should be sourced from one contractor to avoid matchmaking parts that were not manufactured or tested for use together.
Additionally, all solar wiring should be sealed off by conduits to prevent dangers stemming from exposure.
Surveying before installation is a valuable measure for all property owners. It is easier to fix foreseeable installation concerns during surveys. Don’t be that property owner that spend a lot of money to set up a ground-mounted solar system before discovering that you have crossed land boundaries. Making this mistake will leave you no choice but to dismount and start all over in a new location.
Find out what is required in your region for solar installation so you do not break any laws or amass issues that can be solved pre-installation. Make smart decisions by getting your property surveyed beforehand.
Ground mounting might seem easier than roof mounting, but that is not the case. For roof mounts, a building is already in place for support. All that’s left is the racks and solar panels. The installation process is quite complex as conversely, with ground mounts, a structure has to first be built for you to mount the panels on.
Before you install a ground-mounted solar system, you also have to know what soil you have in your yard. Like surveying, knowing your soil type pre-installation is equally important. Some locations are prone to earthquakes or extreme weather conditions and as such, they might have completely different compliance codes for buildings and mounts. A professional soil engineer should be hired to check your soil type and give the requirements for installing your ground-mounted solar system. Or you can simply reach out to us and we will assess your land and tell you if it’s good for a ground-mounted solar system.
When this is done, your contractor can follow the given adjustments and provide you with compliant materials that are tailored to the standard demands of your region. Usually, the perfect soil type for ground-mounted solar is that without hefty rocks.
Ground-mounted solar systems have many benefits and downsides over the roof-mounted kind. However, in terms of power supply to a building, there aren’t many major differences. You will learn more about this as you keep reading.
Unlike roofs, where the panels have to be angled to the west or south to collect sunlight, ground-mounted panels can be fixed in any position. So, if your building cannot use a rooftop panel because of its positioning, a ground-mounted solar system is best suited for you.
Also, because of the absence of obstructions from rooftop structures like skylights or smokestacks, ground-mounted panels can collect more sunlight than roof-mounted panels. This, in turn, produces more electricity, which saves you money.
Generally, ground-mounted panels need more space than the roof kind. An advantage of this is that it generates more power. A downside, however, if the fact that it alters the exterior graphic of a building. Another downside is the complex installation process which is also pricy. If you do decide to have ground-mounted panels installed, you will balance the price-power ratio with time.
Provided you have the required space for the number of panels required to power your building and a suitable soil type, then yes, you can install the ground solar system anywhere with perfect sunlight conditions.
This depends on two important factors; the amount of power your building requires, and the amount of power one solar panel produces. Another important consideration is how much sunlight is available daily in your region.
The pros at roofsandsolar.com will do the math for you. If you are eager to know, here’s a rough example. If your region provides you with ten hours of sunlight daily and you have 600 watts per panel, you will get 6000 watts of electricity in 10 hours and will need about 40 panels. Luckily, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) suggests that an average home uses about 30 watts daily, so the number of panels you will need will be less.
If you do not have the acres to do ground-mounted system, then the roof system is the best option for you and thankfully we also offer roof panel installation. However, if you do have space (and the money), then go for the ground-mounted type.
The high cost is from the permits and labour that the installation needs. Ground mounts might be expensive but will save you a lot of money in the long run and give a better power output. Roof-mounted panels can be limiting, especially if your building requires more power than the available panels produce. For more power output, you need more panels, and with more panels, more mount space is required. Your roof might not be big enough to house the required number of panels your building needs to match the power demands.
Also, with ground-mounted solar, you do not need to drill into your roof. Ground panels have easy access for washing and maintenance. They are also easy to dismount and relocate. Thereby increasing the durability of your solar panels.
Our solar technicians have roofers on site, and our air conditioning technicians have a trade electrician on site, no more scheduling problems, and voided warranties. Grandmark team will handle it all for you.