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What are the advantages of ground mounted solar energy

As its name suggests, a ground-mounted solar system is a free-standing solar array mounted on the ground using either a rigid metal frame or atop a single pole. Ground-mounted systems can take the place of a rooftop system when the latter isn’t available or suitable. Both provide greater benefits than relying on fossil fuels for your electricity needs. Not every roof is suited for solar panels. but not every home has the extra space needed for ground-mounted panels.

Depending on your space requirements, ground-mounted solar panels can be a more worthwhile investment than rooftop panels. The list of benefits is longer than the list of drawbacks, but every individual situation is different.

Nothing on Your Roof

Your roof may not have the structural integrity capable of supporting solar panels. A professional contractor or inspector can determine its suitability.

Asphalt roofs also need replacing roughly every 10 to 15 years. You may also not like the aesthetics of solar panels on your roof, or perhaps your homeowner’s association prohibits rooftop installations.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

If you have a big enough lot, you can set ground-mounted solar panels beyond the sight from your house or immediate yard. If you are lucky enough to have a second property or are able to lease land somewhere, you can install ground-mounted solar panels on that property, then get credit through a net metering program for the electricity that they send into the electrical grid. (This is how community solar programs work.)

Potentially More Efficient

While a roof that faces north-south can still support solar panels that generate electricity, the amount of solar radiation they receive may make the panels not efficient enough to pay for themselves. Ground-mounted systems can be placed without obstructions like chimneys, trees, or neighboring structures, shortening the payback time.

More easily than rooftop panels, ground-mounted ones can be adjusted according to the season or can support a solar tracker that follows the path of the sun throughout the day. A ground-mounted system with a tracker can be 10% to 45% more efficient than a rooftop solar system.

The larger height of ground-mounted panels means they are better suited for bifacial panels, which have solar cells on the back of the panels that capture light reflected off the ground or other hard surface. Because air flows more freely around ground-mounted solar panels than rooftop panels, they are less likely to suffer from heat buildup, which reduces the efficiency of solar panels.

Potentially Safer

Faulty wiring in any solar system can create fire risks, but in a ground-mounted system those risks are isolated from your home rather than sitting on your roof. Ground-mounted panels also have independent electrical grounds rather than the ground being bonded to your house’s.

More Easily Expandable

Should your energy needs expand in the future, such as after the purchase of an electric vehicle or heat pump, it’s easier to expand a ground-mounted solar system than a rooftop one, especially if it has already maximized all available roof space.

Dual-Purpose Capabilities

A ground-mounted solar array can double as a solar carport or solar canopy, providing shade and shelter for vehicles and patios, or as a spot to charge your electric vehicle.

Easier Maintenance

Ground-mounted panels are easier to access than rooftop panels and thus easier to repair when an inverter fails or some other defect arises. They are also easier to periodically clean to maintain their efficiency. All solar systems need periodic inspections from your installer or an electrician—panels that are easier to inspect can reduce the maintenance costs of the system.

DIY Capabilities

With kits available on the market, you can more easily and safely install a ground-mounted solar system than climbing on a roof to install one. As always, follow all local ordinances, obtain all permits, and use a licensed electrician if you are unable to set up the system yourself.

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