There are a couple of different types of installation methods for solar panels. Here at Paradise Energy Solutions, we install roof-mounted solar panels, ground-mounted solar panels, and carports. These installation types accomplish different goals, and what works for one customer may not be the best option for other customers.
It is important to examine the advantages and disadvantages of all installation types when considering solar for your business, farm, or home. The goal of this blog post is to highlight the things you need to know to make an informed solar investment decision.
Before diving into the list, let’s first define what a ground mount and roof mount solar system is.
Roof Mounted Solar Panels
A roof mount is the most common type of installation. This is when the solar racking, which holds the panels in place, is installed directly on the roof. Panels can be attached to flat or sloping roofs consisting of metal, shingle, or rubber materials.
Not all roof-mounted systems require penetration to be secured to the roof. If you have a flat room, a ballast mount is an option. These installations are secured by blocks that weigh the system components down.
Ground Mounted Solar Panels
A ground mount is when the panels are secured to a rack structure that is connected to the ground with steel beams or another type of metal post. Ground mounts can be installed in an open area or as a carport over a parking lot.
Ground mounts can be installed wherever the conditions are best for solar, making them a great alternative for someone who doesn’t have enough usable roof space or just prefer to not have panels mounted to the roof.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Roof Mounted and Ground Mounted Solar Systems
Without further ado, here are the advantages and disadvantages of ground-mounted and roof-mounted solar systems.
Roof Mounts: Pros and Cons
Pros of a roof mount:
- Roof mounts utilize space that otherwise wouldn’t be used.
- Typically the installation cost is lower compared to a ground-mounted system
- Doesn’t take up land that could be utilized for other activities
- Limits unauthorized visitors from accessing the panels
- Panels can protect the roof from exposure to certain elements
Cons of a roof mount:
- Roof penetration is required for shingle roofs
- Could require a new roof before installation
- You might have to remove and reinstall panels for roof repairs or to install a new roof
- Adds weight to your roof, and in some cases, the roof could require additional support mechanisms
- Some believe solar hurts curb appeal
- Can be a safety hazard for the installation team
Things to consider when installing a roof mount:
- The age and condition of your roof
- The impact solar could potentially have on your roof warranty
Ground Mounts: Pros and Cons
Pros of a ground mount:
- Ground mounts can be installed to face any direction and in almost any location, positioning them for optimal energy production
- They can be installed at multiple angles
- The system can easily be accessed for maintenance
- Carports can be installed in existing parking lots - providing shading, lighting, and protection to parked cars
Cons of a ground mount:
- Typically the installation cost is higher
- Limits the use of the land
- Takes up large areas
- Easier access for unauthorized visitors
- Increased chance for accidental damage from rocks or other particles thrown from a mower and other equipment
- Will likely be required to install a fence adding cost to the project
- It likely requires mowing around multiple posts and under low clearances
Things to consider when installing a ground mount:
- The long-term plan for the plot of land
- The terrain of your property
Both roof-mounted and ground-mounted solar systems are good options. Ultimately, you need to select the option that best meets your specific requirements. If you have plenty of unshaded roof space available then a roof mount is likely going to be the best, cheapest option. If your available roof space is limited and you still want a way to take advantage of solar's financial and environmental benefits, then a ground mount or carport might be a great option.
If you're looking for additional information on both types of solar installations, check out these other informative blogs next:
- How solar panels are attached to your roof
- Can I put solar on my roof?
- Is solar right for your home?