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Roof Mounted vs. Ground Mounted Solar Panels

Roof Mounted vs. Ground Mounted Solar Panels

Ground-mounted solar panels and roof-mounted solar panels are both great options for your solar system, however, each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages that should be considered before deciding on one over the other. Which location you decide to place your solar panels depends on a variety of factors that differs for everyone. Naturally, your building’s roof size and available real estate are determining factors as to which you are able to install. Once you determine that both forms are an option, you must decide which one will best fit your solar goals. To do so, we will go in-depth into the positive attributes and the drawbacks of each so you can decide which is right for you.

Pros Of Roof Mounted Solar Panels

Less Expensive Installation

Roof-mounted solar panels are easier to install and require less money upfront. A roof-mounted system doesn’t require the same structural installation that a ground-mounted system does, the roof itself works as the foundation. 

Utilizes Unused Space

Placing your solar panel system on your roof utilizes the unused space on your roof, as opposed to occupying space in your yard which can be used in various other ways. With the majority of American homes being located in suburban neighborhoods, limited yard space can make roof-mounted solar systems the only feasible option. 

Easier to Permit

Since a roof-mounted solar system is not a new structure like ground-mounted solar panels are, it is much easier to go through the permitting process. The only approvals that you will need to acquire are to show that your roof is structurally sound and that your electrical systems are up to code.

Quicker R.O.I

Due to the lower upfront cost of roof-mounted solar panels, you will enjoy a quicker return on your investment as opposed to ground-mounted solar panels. If you are interested in using solar as an investment, roof-mounted solar panels are the recommended choice.

Drawbacks of Roof-Mounted Solar Panels

Inaccessible

One of the main drawbacks of roof-mounted solar panels is their difficulty to access them. Since they are located at heights on your roof, any solar technician that performs maintenance or repairs will have to do so by getting up on your roof. This adds a layer of danger and complicates any work that must be done.

Less Efficient Than Ground

Due to the restrictions of your roof, solar panels mounted on the roof are subject to the direction that your home faces, unlike ground-mounted solar panels which can be faced whichever way will optimize sunlight exposure. This will lead to a diminished optimization of energy production.

Harder to Expand

Roof-mounted solar panels are limited by the available surface area of your roof. If you want to add more solar panels down the line, you might not have any available roof space. Be sure to consider the available space on your roof before committing to mounting your solar panels on your roof.

Pros of Ground-Mounted Solar Panels

Can Face Any Direction

One of the main benefits of ground-mounted solar panels is their ability to face any direction to optimize energy production. Achieving optimized alignment can be difficult on roof-mounted solar panels as they are restricted by the roof’s permanent direction. This leads to ground-mounted solar panels being the most efficient placement option for solar panels.

Better Airflow/Cooling

Due to the cooler temperature of ground-mounted solar panels and increased airflow, they will produce energy more efficiently than panels mounted on the roof. Photovoltaic solar panels reach peak production between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Room to Expand

Ground-mounted solar panels enjoy the massive benefit of being able to expand within the limitations of your property’s land area. If you plan to expand, more panels can easily be added to a ground-mounted system as opposed to a rood-mounted system which is limited by the surface area of your roof.

Accessible

Maintenance is key to ensuring a prolonged lifespan of your solar panels. Ground-mounted solar panels are easily accessible and allow solar technicians to perform their work without having to go up on your roof. This also means that troubleshooting will be much simpler and homeowners will be able to notice damage to their solar panels more easily by having them on the ground.

Drawbacks of Ground-Mounted Solar Panels

More Expensive 

Since ground-mounted solar requires more permitting and installation costs, it is initially more expensive than roof-mounted solar.

Takes Up Real Estate

If you have a limited amount of yard area, ground-mounted solar might not be your best option as it can take up a considerable amount of real estate where as roof-mounted solar only occupies the space on your roof.

More Difficult Permitting Process

While permitting requirements do differ amongst varying locations, permitting for ground-mounted solar panels will always be more extensive. More often than not, you will have to provide a design plan, obtain a building permit and consider your soil type.

Not Aesthetically Appealing

With roof-mounted solar, you get the advantage of having your solar panels out of sight. With ground-mounted solar panels, they will be occupying space that is easily visible and can prove to be an eye-sore to some.

Important Things to Consider

Roofs Current Condition

Before making a decision as to where to place your solar panels, check your roof’s current condition to see if it would even be able to support a roof-mounted solar system. If not, you will need to have the necessary repairs or replacements before considering mounting solar to it. 

HOA Restrictions

If you live in a neighborhood or a community that has a homeowners association, there will most likely be restrictions in place that limit or prohibit the installation of solar. Before considering where you will mount your solar, be sure that your HOA allows it.

Electricity Cost

When considering where to place your solar panels, you will first need to decide how much electricity your home consumes on average. This will give you an idea of how many solar panels you will require to power your home, which in turn, may limit where you can place them.

Comprehensive Solar Guidance

Not sure which mounting location is right for your unique circumstances? Lumina Solar is here to help. Our solar technicians will go over your roof’s available surface area and determine your home’s energy demand in order to create a personalized solar plan that achieves your renewable energy goals. Having expert guidance every step of the way ensures that your solar panel system is built specifically to meet your energy requirements. Whether you decide to mount your solar panels on your roof or on the ground, Lumina Solar will see to it that it is professionally installed. Call or contact Lumina Solar today to take your first steps toward clean and renewable, solar energy.

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