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Ground-Mounted Solar vs. Roof-Mounted Solar

December 8, 2022

Solar panels are an excellent way to balance energy costs and minimize your home’s environmental impact. They offer a horde of other benefits, such as contributing to energy independence and supporting local businesses. 

Once you decide to get solar power installed, you need to start considering the different ways you can make it a part of your home. Solar panels were designed to go either on the roof of your house (roof-mounted) or a stable ground space (ground-mounted) where the panels can rest on. 

Large solar panel installation

Large solar panel installation

Understanding the primary differences, pros, and cons of installing roof-mounted or ground-mounted solar panels can help you determine the right fit for your home and help you solve an array of problems before they actually occur. 

Ground Mounted Solar vs. Roof Mounted Solar

Getting solar panels for your home is definitely a no-brainer, even more so when the installation process is so easy and quick. Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems enable homeowners to take considerable advantage of free, sustainable, and renewable energy to benefit from money and energy simultaneously. 

Once you’ve picked out your solar panels, it is time to make the most important decision: Which mounting system will be ideal for your budget, living space, and energy needs? When it comes to solar panel system installation, homeowners can choose from two types of solar mounting: roof mount and ground mount solar systems. 

A rooftop solar system is the most prevalent option for residential solar. It refers to installing a solar photovoltaic system on homes or commercial buildings that affixes to your roof brackets. A roof-mounted solar system is an excellent way of harnessing the sun’s power through panels installed on your home’s garage, roof, or other buildings on your property.

Ground-mounted solar system refers to the installation of solar panels that are built into a foundation at the ground level. It also consists of ground mount racking but does not have the roof of your building as a starting point. You can put up the solar panels wherever the conditions on your facility are best, especially if you cannot or do not want to place them on your rooftop.

Both ground-mounted and roof-mounted solar systems have their own benefits and merits depending on your project specifications. For instance, the roof-mounted solar panel install cost less as it utilizes the existing roof structure as a foundation for the solar system. Moreover, it consumes less space on your property.

On the other hand, despite occupying more room on your property, ground-mounted solar systems are easier to access for installation and repair. In addition, they provide sturdy control over your array’s orientation to optimize the production of solar energy. 

Roof-Mounted Solar Panels

Roof-mounted solar panels are the most common form of solar panel installation. This is when the solar racking is installed directly on your home’s roof, keeping the panels intact. In addition, they significantly help in protecting your roof. 

Solar photovoltaic installers can attach the panels to different types of roofs, i.e., slanting or flat roofs consisting of rubber, shingle, or metal materials. Not all roof-mounted solar systems need penetration to be secured to the rooftop. A ballast mount is an option for those who have a flat roof. These installations are fortified by blocks that weigh down the system components. 

Rooftop solar systems are ideally suited for smaller properties that lack the essential land space to afford or facilitate a ground mount system. This particular design uses space that typically goes unoccupied. Hence, you do not need to worry about losing your property’s functional spaces. So when space is a constraint, this is the best solar installation method you’ve got.

Roof-mounted solar panels are the most common form of solar panel installation. This is when the solar racking is installed directly on your home’s roof, keeping the panels intact. In addition, they significantly help in protecting your roof. 

Solar photovoltaic installers can attach the panels to different types of roofs, i.e., slanting or flat roofs consisting of rubber, shingle, or metal materials. Not all roof-mounted solar systems need penetration to be secured to the rooftop. A ballast mount is an option for those who have a flat roof. These installations are fortified by blocks that weigh down the system components. 

Rooftop solar systems are ideally suited for smaller properties that lack the essential land space to afford or facilitate a ground mount system. This particular design uses space that typically goes unoccupied. Hence, you do not need to worry about losing your property’s functional spaces. So when space is a constraint, this is the best solar installation method you’ve got. 

Pros of Roof-Mounted Solar Panels

  • Roof mounts use the existing foundation in your home, so you will not need to build another structure on your land solely to accommodate your solar panels. This ultimately makes it an inexpensive option. 
  • It is less expensive than ground-mounted solar panel installation since it does not require starting from scratch. Your roof already offers some of the foundations you require for this kind of installation.
  • It frees up the valuable space solar panels would otherwise take up.
  • Rooftop solar power systems call for cheaper labor costs than ground-mounted solar systems because they are not as labor-intensive as their counterpart. 
  • It is the perfect way to use your unused roof space. With rooftop solar power systems, you can put all the unoccupied roof real estate to use rather than allowing it to absorb the sun’s heat, which gradually makes its way down into your home. 
  • It limits unauthorized access to solar panels. Only the ones who have access to your rooftop can access it. 
  • Unlike ground-mounted solar systems that require the kind of space that you cannot spare or might not have, rooftop solar system installation does not occupy an area of your facility. Hence, that area can be utilized for other things.
  • It simplifies the permitting process and ensures you do not have to go through all the hassle. Moreover, completing a rooftop solar panel project takes less time and costs. 

Cons of Roof-Mounted Solar Panels

  • A roof-mounted solar panel installation might call for holes in your roof, causing it to damage over time and result in leaks.
  • You might need to replace your roof before the installation.
  • The solar array’s size is limited to the available roof space.
  • Panels can be incredibly daunting to access for repairs and maintenance. 

Ground-Mounted Solar Panels

Ground-mounted solar panels provide you with an additional way of using solar energy to power your home if it does not have suitable conditions for roof mount. The solar panels are secured against a rack structure affixed to the ground with a specific metal post or steel beams.

They can be installed as a carport over a parking lot or in any open area in your facility, wherever the conditions are ideal for solar. This makes ground mount a perfect choice for people who do not have a suitable roof over their homes, adequate space to affix the solar panels, or just do not prefer having panels mounted on top of the roof.

Moreover, ground-mounted solar panels can be installed with additional tracking capabilities for an extra cost. This helps you to harness the sun’s power more efficiently. 

Some ground-mount solar panels can also rotate with the sun, allowing them to capture the most sunlight throughout the day. If you opt for ground-mounted solar panel installation, there are two ways the panels can be attached: with a standard mount or a pole-mounted system. 

  • Standard Ground Mount Solar

Standard ground-mount solar systems are attached just like rooftop solar panels in the sense the panels are fixed to a metal frame. The frame can be sloped at an angle that captures sunlight most effectively.

Traditional or standard ground mounts use ground anchors to securely and safely hold up a racking table and the solar panels on rails. The precise anchoring technique depends on the conditions of your ground. The most common option is to use concrete piers, but other options include helical piles, driven piers, and concrete ballasts.

This particular system of ground mount is the most common, straightforward, and cost-effective solution for ground installation. 

  • Pole-Mounted Solar

Pole-mounted solar systems place a pole in the background with a solid foundation. They can have multiple solar panels fixed to a single pole, with some facilitating up to 24 panels. Pole-mounted solar systems come as side-of-the-pole mounts of top-of-the-pole setups.

The primary difference between them both is that the former usually cannot use solar tracking. However, it can work well for small solar systems. Moreover, the side-of-the-pole mounts typically consist of 2-3 solar panels. 

Pros of Ground-Mounted Solar Panels

  • Unlike rooftop solar systems, ground-mount solar systems are open and accessible, meaning they aren’t blocked by obstructions. As a result, the panels receive the maximum amount of exposure from the sun, which allows you to benefit from higher energy production.
  • Ground-mount solar panels can be fixed in any direction or position, most likely in numerous locations in your facility. This gives you ample freedom to choose how you want to lay out your solar array, which ultimately broadens your scope to produce more solar energy, i.e., panels can be adjusted to various angles and heights for optimum sun exposure. 
  • Your roof can’t be replaced without taking out the solar panels. If you ever require roof renovation or need to remove heavy equipment such as HVAC units from your roof, you won’t have to worry about any of that with ground-mount solar systems. 
  • Ground mounts are far more accessible and convenient than roof-mounted solar panels. This makes them easier to maintain, clean, and repair. 
  • They are relatively easy to install compared to roof mounts.

Cons of Ground-Mounted Solar Panels

  • Ground-mounted solar panels have a more complex permitting process than roof mounts.
  • They require and consume more space in your facility.
  • Ground-mount solar panel installations call for costly labor expenses due to the additional work involved.
  • They are relatively more costly than installing roof-mounted solar panel systems.
  • They are more prone to damage due to their exposure to natural elements and easy accessibility by uninvited people. 

What Works Best for You?

  • As you can see, both roof-mounted and ground-mounted solar power systems have pros and cons. However, at the same time, both installation options give homeowners complete access and freedom to install their solar panels wherever they find suitable, stable, and pass the inspection. 

    Maintenance, utility, aesthetics, efficiency, and cost are the most common factors that can help you understand which design will be the right fit for your home.

    If you have less space in your facility and want to spend less up-front, roof-mounted solar installation is the best option. However, if you have enough space to spare on your property and want the most efficient solar energy solution for your home, you should go for a ground mount.

  • Regardless of whether you opt for ground-mounted or roof-mounted solar panels, know that there are numerous benefits for homeowners who go solar. These benefits aren’t exclusive to the kind of mount you choose and install in your home.

    At the very least, you will significantly benefit from a free source of energy for your home with both types of mount installations.  

Get a Custom Quote and Design

If you are still not sure which mounting system will be the best fit, get in touch with our solar panels installer at Solgen Power.

Professional and reliable solar panel installation companies like Solgen Power can help you better understand which solar panel installation option works for you by weighing down each option’s pros and cons and giving recommendations on the most cost-effective installation.

Whichever system you choose to go with, our team at Solgen Power will happily provide you all the details you need to get the installation done. Contact us today in order for us to provide you a custom quote and give you recommendations on the ideal solar panel design for your home.

Rest assured, we will consider your priorities while preparing design options so that you can confidently move forward with your solar power investment with a reputable firm like Solgen Power. Click here to find out if you qualify for the $0 Down Solar Program in just minutes. 

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Solgen Power is a solar energy equipment company that sells and installs solar for homeowners. Solgen Power has been recognized by INC. 5000 as one of the fastest growing companies in the nation. Solgen Power has grown nationwide and continues to provide excellent customer service to homeowners.

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