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When is a Solar Ground Mount Worth it?

Green Bolt

Most of the solar installations around us are found on roof tops, but solar ground mounts are also a great option. Considering the two options, which of them may be right for someone who is planning to install solar panels? While there is no fixed answer to this question, we can look at some of the overall benefits and drawbacks to each option to help homeowners consider the most suitable installation to meet their needs.

Solar ground mounts are PV installations done on the ground such as in the front or backyard of a house or parking or field area of a business. The panels can be installed horizontally or vertically. And are generally installed in more of a rural or suburban area in New Jersey. These systems are generally bigger and many times cost a bit more money upfront than roof mounted options.

It may be worth noting that despite the possibility of a higher initial cost, ground mounted solar systems can provide greater advantages as compared to some roof-mounted solar systems. As with any decision related matter, buying solar and using roof-top or ground-mounted panels will involve the consideration of the associated costs and benefits. A ground mounted PV system costs more as there is no prior infrastructure for the panels and a structure must be created. The solar installation company will also have to prepare trenching and associated rack and pole mounting to prepare for the solar panel installation.

However, the return on investment (ROI) for a ground mounted PV system is strong when compared with the roof-top because of the slightly higher efficiency of solar ground installations due to optimized installation angle and tilt towards sun. Ground mounted panels take full advantage of the pitch and direction towards 180° south.

Another advantage of solar ground mounts is they can be designed for optimal tilt to maximize electrical output. A home’s roof is limited to the tilt of the roof plane which may not be the most optimal for solar.

Although normal tilt for a ground mounted solar system may range from 20° to a maximum of 40°, for people who are more concerned about aesthetics than efficiency, the mount can be done at a relatively low profile of 20°. This “low profile tilt” may still serve its basic purpose and without much compromise on efficiency. The panels can be made to merge with the surrounding area’s landscape and be well hidden from a distance.

If you are in an urban area with little or no ground option than most obviously the roof-top solar installation is the only choice for you. Roof-top solar installations are a good choice as it is the best use of a place which apparently has no other use especially in a large and densely populated area. In a rural or suburban area where you have enough land, then an option is the solar ground mount. Particularly if you have difficult roof planes, or simply not enough space on the roof to cover your electric usage with solar panels.

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