Key takeaways


ant to switch to solar energy but confused about where to install the panels? While the most common method is installing them on the rooftop, ground mounted panels have unique advantages that might make them a better fit for your property. In this article, we'll examine the pros and cons of ground mounted solar systems and provide insights into the costs and installation, so you can decide if they're the right choice for you.

Ground mounted solar systems: What they are and how they work

Solar panel ground mounting systems are an alternative type of photovoltaic (PV) installation that's placed on the ground rather than on a rooftop. These systems work particularly well for residential or commercial properties with ample land but lack suitable rooftops for solar installation. Essentially, they are made up of solar panels fastened to a sturdy support structure that's anchored into the soil.

In terms of components, ground mounted solar systems use the same ones as their rooftop counterparts: solar panels, grid tie inverters, wiring, and optionally, batteries and charge controllers. Solar panels contain photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity, while inverters are responsible for transforming the DC electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity, which is what homes and businesses use.

Compare Roof Mount Vs Ground Mount Solar Panels

Pros of ground mounted solar panels

Solar panel ground mounting systems have gained popularity over the years, and for a good reason. They offer a range of advantages over their rooftop counterparts, which makes them a preferred choice for many homeowners and businesses. In this section, we will delve into some of the pros of installing solar panels on ground.

Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity using photovoltaic cells. These cells generate direct current (DC) power when exposed to sunlight, which is then converted to usable AC power.

Flexibility in solar panel placement

One of the main advantages of ground mounted solar panels is their flexibility in placement. Unlike rooftop solar panels, which are limited by the roof's size and angle, ground mounted panels can be placed wherever there is enough open space. This flexibility allows for more significant energy production, as you can install more modules and optimize their position for maximum exposure to the sun.

Better airflow and cooling

Ground mounted solar offers the added advantage of improved ventilation and cooling. As the panels absorb sunlight, they produce heat, and their efficacy decreases when they get overheated. Ground mounted panels, being detached from the roof, can be positioned with more gaps between them, promoting better ventilation and heat dispersion. Consequently, the solar array operates at maximum efficiency, with the modules maintaining optimal temperatures.

Better angles for solar exposure

Solar panels on the ground can be set up at the perfect angle to soak up maximum sunlight. Rooftop arrays are generally stationary, so they might not be installed at the ideal angle for your region's weather and latitude. With solar panels on ground, you have the flexibility to adjust the angles or even incorporate solar trackers, enabling them to rotate and track the sun's position throughout the day, ensuring you get the most out of your investment.

Reduced solar maintenance

Ground mounted solar panels are easier to access for maintenance and cleaning, which can significantly reduce maintenance costs over time. With rooftop modules, cleaning and maintenance can be difficult and dangerous, requiring specialized equipment and professional services. Panels based on ground, on the other hand, can be easily accessed and cleaned with standard equipment and tools.

Suitable for large-scale solar energy production

Finally, such panels are the way to go for large-scale solar energy production. Although rooftop panels work well for homes and small businesses, ground mounted panels are versatile enough to be installed in both residential areas and large arrays, generating substantial amounts of electricity for commercial and industrial purposes.

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Cons of ground mounted solar panels

Although ground mounted solar systems offer numerous benefits, it's essential to weigh their drawbacks before installation. So, let's explore some of the downsides of using solar panels on ground.

Higher costs

One major downside of installing solar panels on ground is the cost. Typically, they're pricier than rooftop solar options because they require extra materials like racking and mounting structures, as well as more labor-intensive installation. Additionally, setting up ground mounted solar panels may necessitate extra wiring, trenching, and land preparation, which all factor into the total expense.

Ground space requirements

The space required for setting up solar panels on the ground is another disadvantage. To put it in perspective, a 6kW solar kit needs up to 345 square feet of land, which may not be feasible for homeowners or businesses with limited land availability.

May affect landscape aesthetics

Ground mounted solar systems have the potential to impact the overall visual harmony of a property's landscape. While some individuals may find them pleasing to the eye, others might not be fond of the idea of having these modules visible in their backyard. This could be a concern for homeowners or businesses that prioritize their property's aesthetic appeal.

Limited solar panel mobility

Once ground mounted solar panels are installed, they cannot be moved or repositioned with ease, limiting their mobility. This may create difficulties for homeowners or businesses that plan to make changes to their property or landscaping in the future.

Costs of ground mounted solar

Before investing in a solar panel ground installation, it's crucial to take into account the associated costs. The price tag for such a solution can range from $27,000 to $60,000 or more, based on factors such as size, equipment quality, and installation complexity.

The solar panels themselves make up a significant portion of the cost, with high-quality ones being pricier but also more efficient in generating electricity. Other costs to consider include mounting, wiring, inverters, labor, and ongoing maintenance expenses like cleaning and component replacement. Nonetheless, despite the upfront investment, many people discover that the long-term savings on energy bills make it a wise financial decision.

Use your own personal savings calculation to shop and compare top providers

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Installation of ground mounted solar setups

With ground mounted solar systems, you have the flexibility to choose the best location to place them for optimum energy generation, unlike rooftop arrays that are constrained by your property's roofline. If you're considering a solar panel ground installation, here are the key steps to take.

Installation of ground mounted solar panels
Installation of ground mounted solar panels

Site assessment and preparation

Before setting up a ground mounted solar system, the initial step is to evaluate the installation site. This includes examining the soil conditions, terrain features, amount of sunlight exposure, and any factors that could impact the performance.

After completing the assessment, you need to prepare the site for installation by clearing away any debris or vegetation that could hinder the process. Additionally, the land must be leveled to provide a flat surface for positioning solar modules.

Selecting a solar mounting method

To continue with your solar panel ground installation, it's essential to determine the type of mounts you'll use. Two of the most commonly used techniques for positioning solar panels on the ground are standard and pole mounts.

  • Standard mounts use metal framing anchored into the soil to securely hold solar panels at a fixed angle. Some standard systems can be adjusted manually a few times a year to keep up with seasonal changes in the sun's position.
  • Pole mounts can hold multiple panels on a single pole, elevating them higher above the surface than standard mounts. They also feature tracking systems that automatically adjust the modules to maximize their exposure to sunlight. You have a choice between a single-axis system that tracks the sun's daily movement or a dual-axis option that considers seasonal changes as well.

Installing solar panels

Once the ground solar mounting system is in place, it is time to set up the solar modules. They should be carefully positioned to maximize exposure to sunlight, and the mounting equipment should be checked for stability and safety. A professional installer will ensure that the panels are securely attached to the mounting system and that they are angled correctly to maximize energy production.

Electrical wiring and connection

The last stage of solar panel ground installation is to wire the panels and link them to the electrical grid. This involves running electrical cables from the array to the inverter, which is responsible for converting the DC power generated by the array into AC power that can be used by the home or business.

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Last words on ground mounted solar: Is it a smart solar alternative?

To wrap it up, opting for solar panel ground mounting systems can be a clever choice for those planning to go solar. While rooftop solutions are popular, ground mounted solar systems offer various benefits, such as more flexibility in terms of placement and orientation, as well as simpler maintenance. Besides, these setups can be an excellent option for those with limited rooftop space or shading issues.

Nevertheless, it's essential to keep in mind that this type of solar installation may not be suitable for everyone. It's crucial to consider factors like site feasibility, local regulations, and upfront costs before making a decision. Ultimately, it's wise to seek the advice of a professional installer to help determine the best solar solution for your specific needs and circumstances.


Key takeaways

1. Ground Mounted Solar Overview:

An alternative to rooftops, these panels on sturdy structures are ideal for expansive properties.

2. Advantages:

Placement Flexibility: Freedom for optimal sunlight exposure.

Ventilation Benefits: Detached panels offer better airflow, preventing overheating.

Optimal Angles: Adjustable angles and solar trackers enhance exposure.

Reduced Maintenance: Easy accessibility minimizes maintenance costs.Versatile

Scale: Suited for both residential and large-scale setups.

3. Drawbacks:

Higher Costs: Pricier due to extra materials, labor, and land prep.

Space Requirements: Needs significant land area.Aesthetic Impact: May impact landscape aesthetics.

Limited Mobility: Panels lack easy repositioning.

4. Costs:

Ranges from $27,000 to $60,000, influenced by size, quality, and installation complexity.

5. Installation:

Assessment: Evaluate soil, terrain, and sunlight.

Mounting Methods: Choose standard or pole mounts.

Installation: Careful positioning, ensuring stability.

Wiring: Connect panels via inverters for power conversion.

6. Smart Choice?

Ground panels offer benefits like flexibility and simplified maintenance. Consider feasibility, regulations, and costs, seeking professional advice.

May 5, 2023
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