While rooftop solar panels are the most common way to install a solar energy system, another alternative for homeowners is a ground-mounted set-up. Known as backyard or free-standing solar panels, ground-mounted solar panels can be set up on any open space with maximum sun exposure. They are usually the same size as rooftop panels (60-cell solar panels) and are placed within several inches to a few feet off the ground.
Ground-mounted panels operate the same way a typical rooftop system does. Energy from the sun is absorbed by the photovoltaic (PV) cells, which feed power to the solar inverter. In a ground-mounted system, the inverter is located either in the house or behind the panels.
While ground-mounted systems take up space, they are typically more efficient and can be a better alternative than a rooftop system if the roof doesn’t face south, is structurally weak, isn’t at the right angle, is heavily shaded, or has chimneys, skylights, or other features that prevent proper installation of solar panels. Another reason to consider a ground-mounted system is if a roof simply isn’t big enough to support the number of panels needed to generate adequate power. A ground-mounted system can be sized to meet the homeowner’s electricity needs. They’re also easy to access for cleaning and maintenance.
There are different types of ground-mounted installations. The most common is the standard ground mount which holds solar panels in a fixed position. Panels can also be mounted to a large pole, which puts them higher off the ground. When paired with a solar tracker, the panels change position to follow the movement of the sun and optimize energy output.
Want to learn which system would work best for your home? Contact Ion Solar Pros for a recommendation and an estimate.
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