To put it simply, solar panel mounts are the structures where you would install your solar panels. They act as an infrastructure, and provide a permanent resting ground for your panels. While there are quite a lot of mounting options, the two most commonly used types of solar panel mounting options are roof mount, and ground mount systems. Roof mount systems affix to brackets on your roof, while ground mount systems are built into a foundation at ground level. See the comparison images below for examples.
Which is better? Installing solar panels on your roof or creating a special ground mount for your array?
Here’s an overview that will delve more into the factors we consider before advising you to choose between ground mount and roof mount solar panel.
|Easily accessible since it’s on the ground.
|It Occupies spaces and requires more land to maintain.
|Simpler to clean and maintain.
|The installation is comparatively costlier than roof mounting.
|Less difficulties to fix if any issue occurs.
|Extra equipment are needed for installation
|Got comparatively stronger racking.
|Requires permission which also adds to the cost
|The system is not limited by the roof’s areas.
|It might not be visually attractive to all.
|Higher energy output results from cooler panel temperature.
|Installation requires additional work
|If the roof is changed, there’s no requirement to take out the panels.
|Enables unauthorized visitors to enter.
|It takes less labor cost for installation.
|Difficult to access since it’s on roof.
|Utilize and optimize space as it doesn’t need extra space in land.
|Hard to clean and maintain.
|Requires less equipment to install.
|Comparatively difficult to fix if any issue occurs.
|Easy to get installation permits from authorities.
|Got comparatively less strong racking than ground mount.
|Easy to install and takes less time.
|The system is limited only to roof areas so it’s hard to expand.
|Unauthorized visitors can’t have any access.
|Making holes in the roof could result in water damage.
|Solar panel systems put on the roof help keep your property better protected and insulated.
|If the roof is changed, it requires taking out all the panels.
There was a time when people could imagine solar panels only on roofs. But over time, for more sustainability and energy production ground mount solar panels gained popularity.
Decrease in overall productivity can be the result of an unfavorable roof angle and orientation. More flexibility in terms of angle and orientation is provided by ground mounting. So it’s easy to align the panels according to the sun’s direction to get the maximum amount of solar energy.
In comparison to a ground-mount array, maintenance, and troubleshooting of a roof mount PV array take more time and are riskier. For purposes of maintenance, ground mounting enables simple access and navigation around the solar panel array.
Because they have more airflow to cool down the panels than roof mounted solar panels, ground-mounted systems typically outperform rooftop solar panels in terms of performance.
Roof-mounted systems call for the use of lag bolts to penetrate the roof, raising the possibility of subsequent failures like water damage. Ground installation allows for flexibility in panel location without being restricted by roof vents, antennae, or other impediments. It also prevents interference with the existing structure.
When compared to rooftop installations, ground-mounted arrays often provide more room for expansion. So when anyone needs more energy and wants to expand the system they can do that easily with permission.
Cost, limited space, permitting issues, and individual aesthetic preferences may all play a role in the decision between ground-mounted and roof-mounted systems.
When compared to roof-mounted systems, ground-mounted systems are more difficult and expensive to install since they need more manpower and parts. The return on investment may be impacted by this up-front expense.
Since ground-mounted systems are regarded as new constructions, the permitting procedure for them is frequently more drawn out and complex. This creates new difficulties, such as submitting design plans, evaluating the soil, and fulfilling setback restrictions.
Ground-mounted systems take up a lot of room on the premises. For individuals with large swaths of land, this might not be a problem. Still, it can restrict alternatives for smaller residences where the rooftop is the only practical room for installation.
While some people may find the aesthetics of ground-mounted systems unpleasant, others take pride in displaying their solar panels as a sign of their independence and environmental awareness.
There are a few mentionable factors too before you decide to go for a ground mount solar panel system and it’s vital to consider them before installation.
Ground-mount systems require more labor and parts for installation, which may involve partnering with a contractor and a lengthier and costlier permitting process. However, the initial investment pays off over time through higher energy output and easier panel removal for roof maintenance.
If the soil is hard or challenging to dig into, rooftop installation may be more suitable to avoid high installation costs. Alternatively, ballasted systems or other workarounds can minimize digging requirements for ground-mount options.
For those planning to go off-grid or expecting changing energy needs, ground-mount systems offer the advantage of scalability. Additional panels can be easily added, and the built-in tilt allows for optimal sun exposure compared to rooftops.
Roof-mounted solar panels are perfect for homes or structures with small plots since they make the most of the available area on your roof. They increase the functionality of present structures while requiring more land or space to be installed.
In comparison with ground-mounted systems, roof-mounted systems are frequently more affordable. They reduce installation costs by doing away with the need for extra land purchase, excavating, and specialized installation equipment.
Roof mount systems install more quickly and easily than ground-mounted systems. Since the circuitry is closer to the primary electric panel, the roof structure provides a solid basis and makes wiring easier and less complicated to install.
Roof-mounted systems can protect the roof from UV rays, wind, rain, and snow, as well as keep the building better insulated. Solar panels have been found to keep the roof 5° cooler than an uncovered rooftop, saving the building an average of 5% on cooling expenditures. This is in addition to the energy bill savings from going solar.
Now let’s discuss the disadvantages so that you can make your decisions on choosing the right mount system for solar panels for your purpose.
Depending on how the roof is oriented, the solar panels’ exposure to the sun may be restricted by surrounding buildings or trees.
Your roof might not be able to support the required number of panels to satisfy your energy requirements if it is tiny or has irregular shapes. Roof space is the only physical restriction on systems that are roof-mounted.
Panels put on the roof may make it difficult to access the roof for upkeep or repairs.So it’s difficult to maintain and clean them regularly. If there’s birds, rodents making their nests, then you need extra mesh to protect your panels.
Since installing roof-mounted panels necessitates drilling or attaching them to the roof, this may jeopardize the integrity of the roof. Water leakage and other hazards can occur if the roof is not sturdy enough for installation.
The cooling effectiveness of your home or building may be affected by roof-mounted solar panels. In warmer weather, they put a layer between the roof and the outside world, which can lessen the cooling impact. This can result in more energy being used for cooling. On the other hand, ground-mounted devices don’t affect the roof’s thermal properties.
Like ground mount solar system here’s also some vital factors you need to consider before going form roof mount solar panel systems. These are:
In addition to roof and ground mounting options, you may also want to consider installing solar panels on a pole. Solar panels could be mounted on top of poles, or attached to the sides. This option is not the most popular pick for several reasons, and provides very few advantages. We’ve ruled this out mainly due to its limiting factors and difficulty involved.
If you’ve ever wondered how you can make your solar panels face the sun at all times, the tracking system mount is probably what’s on your mind. This options allows your solar panels to switch angles and face the sun to receive optimum sunlight. It may sound futuristic, but it has too many downsides ranging from the maintenance it requires all the way to the insurmountable costs involved.
Solar systems installed on the ground or on roofs are both viable solutions. The option that best satisfies your unique needs must be chosen in the end. A roof mount will probably be the best, least expensive alternative if you have a lot of open, unused space on the roof. A ground installation could be a great solution if you have a small amount of roof space but still want to
benefit from solar’s economical and environmental advantages.
Decision is all yours after you go through all the nooks and crannies of both options.