The type of mount system used for an installation will depend on the location of the solar panels. Most solar panels are installed on roofs because this layout does not require building additional structure to support the panels and is generally the least-expensive option.
In some cases, the roof of a building may not be well-suited for a solar installation. This could be due to the complexity of the roof, the roof’s integrity, shading, or other factors. In this case, a ground-mounted system is an alternative option. There are generally two different types of ground mount systems: A standard ground mount and a pole mount.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Ground Mounted Solar Systems
Choosing between a roof mount system and a ground mount system will depend on a number of factors including your roof, property and budget, among others. In general, a roof mount system is less expensive and easier to install, however a ground mount has a slight efficiency advantage.
Most ground mount systems are made out of a combination of aluminum and stainless steel metal, where the former is used for the bulkier components and the latter for smaller components like bolts and rivets. Some designs allow orientation of the panels to be adjusted manually or mechanically to increase energy production. However, the introduction of moving parts can result in additional costs and maintenance requirements
- Ability to tilt & adjust panel orientation to increase energy production.
- Increased air flow around panels can result in cooler cell temperatures and slightly higher efficiency and energy production.
- Typically there is much more space on the ground than on the roof in rural settings, so larger systems can be installed.
- Cells are easier to clean and maintain.
- Urban settings often do not have the available land space.
- Aesthetically more imposing.
- Solid foundations and concrete footings will need to be built to provide stability in storms and high wind.
- Typically more expensive to install due to cost of frame, foundation and footings.
- May be easier to damage and vandalize due to increased accessibility.