Compare Roof-Mounted with Ground-Mounted Solar

Roof mounted solar pv systemThinking about cutting energy costs by investing in solar energy for your home? The installation of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system can be a roof-mount, a ground-mount, or a pole-mount. Which is best for you is determined by a number of factors, perhaps even strict guidelines enforced by your homeowners’ association. Since pole-mounted panels and ground-mounted are very similar, comparisons here will be between panels installed on the roof versus installed on the ground.

Optimal Conditions for Roof-Mounted Solar

The most economical method for homeowners to install a solar system is on the roof because no additional structures are required for mounting the solar panels other than the roof itself. Your best option is to go with roof-mounted solar panels if the following conditions exist:

  • The appearance of solar panels on your rooftop is something you are comfortable with
  • The roof faces south
  • There are no significant obstructions to sun exposure on the roof, such as nearby trees, buildings, hills, or mountains
  • The roof itself has few obstructions which would interfere with installation of panels, such as sky lights and chimneys
  • The roof has an adequate amount of room for installation of solar panels
  • The homeowners’ association where you live doesn’t disallow rooftop solar panels
  • You have small children and are therefore concerned about their having contact with electrical wires on a ground-mounted system
  • You prefer the added security provided by having the solar panels up on the roof rather than on the ground

It’s possible that the size of the solar system that can be installed on your roof may be limited due to lack of space, if you are interested in generating a certain amount of solar energy. Our NASS professionals can help you determine what size solar system you can install with the amount of square footage available on your roof and answer any other questions you may have about installing solar on your rooftop.

Reasons to Install a Ground-Mounted Solar System

If the following conditions apply, installing a ground-mounted solar system may be the right choice for you:

  • Ground-mounted solar energy systemYour roof does not give you the opportunity to maximize on solar capabilities, whether due to size, too many obstructions, too much shade, or a shape that doesn’t accommodate solar panels
  • Your property is roomy enough for ground-mounted solar panels
  • Your roof is made with material that is difficult to work with for solar installation, such as clay tiles
  • The pitch of your roof doesn’t work for solar panel installation
  • Your roof is old and needs to be replaced within a few years (solar panels usually carry a minimum 20-year warranty)
  • Your area usually gets an excessive amount of snow
  • You want the option of being able to maximize solar potential by adjusting the solar panels seasonally

The greatest benefit of ground-mounted solar panels is that you may have better options for placing your solar panels where solar capabilities are optimal, since they can be installed to directly face south. The air flow is better for ground-mounted solar, which means there is a slight, though not significant, increase in performance. The additional materials required to install ground-mounted solar panels includes structures underneath and wiring which should be trenched in order to connect the panels to the house. If you live in a particularly rocky area, trenching the wires could be a special challenge.

NASS can help you, whether you need professional installation of ground-mounted, roof-mounted, or pole-mounted solar panels. Give us a call today and get energy savings started.

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