If you are reading this, you are probably mulling over a decision to stop paying for electricity and contemplating finally going solar. When you decide to go solar, you can choose where to install your photovoltaic (PV) panels.
Depending on your townships zoning and ordinances, you may be able to determine where to put your panels, either:
- On top of your property (i.e. rooftop installation)
- In the front, side, or back yard (i.e. ground-mounted installation)
But between rooftop and ground-mounted solar, which option is best? And, which option is best for you.
It really depends. Let’s explore some of the benefits of these two different solar installation arrangements by examining a pros and cons list for each.
ROOFTOP SOLAR – PROS
There are several important advantages or pros of rooftop solar installations, including:
Aesthetics—the panels fit seamlessly with your pre-existing rooftop for a more streamlined appearance.
Space optimization—with rooftop solar, there’s no need to excavate your land. You still have space for your pool or to have a catch.
Fortification—your solar panels protect your roof from weather and wear and tear. This, in turn, increases the lifetime value of your roof and structure.
Speed—rooftop solar is usually easier and faster to install than ground-mounted systems.
Vision—rooftop installations are the most popular and allow you to imagine what your solar system will look like on your home. We have done countless local solar installations in Maple Shade, NJ as well as Toms River, NJ and the surround areas.
ROOFTOP SOLAR – PROS
Although rooftop PV systems are the most common installation type in the US, there are times when this arrangement is not ideal:
Spatial limitations—some roofs are too small or have too many obstacles in the way (chimneys, vents, antennae, etc.).
Shading—if your roof is surrounded by trees, a ground-mounted system can help you capture more direct sunshine.
Orientation—solar panels work best on south-facing roofs. If your home has a different orientation, you may be better off with a ground-mounted system.
Pre-installation upgrades—older roofs may need to be fortified before they can accommodate solar panels. This can add to the total installation cost.
Neighborhood restrictions—some homeowners associations prevent residents from installing panels that are visible from the street. Ground-mounted solar solutions might be the only option.
Now let’s explore why you might want to consider ground-mounted PV installations instead.
GROUND-MOUNTED SOLAR – PROS
Although ground-mounted systems are less common, they offer important benefits, including:
Installation size—if your property has a lot of unused land, you can install a much larger PV system and generate even higher savings (depending on if you’re leasing or purchasing or course).
Orientation—for properties without south-facing roofs, ground-mounted solar installations allow you to maximize your energy generation potential.
Shading—you can set up your solar panels in the sunniest regions of your yard to avoid shading.
Fewer upgrades—no changes to existing rooftops are necessary with ground-mounted systems.
GROUND-MOUNTED SOLAR – CONS
For properties with smaller rooftops, ground-mounted systems offer many more options. But they are not perfect in all situations. Below are a few reasons why you may want to avoid ground-mounted PV systems:
Less land—when setting up solar panels in your yard, you lose some recreational space. Ground-mounted installations may require putting off that pool project for a while.
Aesthetics—this is largely subjective. Some customers think ground-mounted PV systems are unsightly. Others view them as green badges of honor.
Time—ground-mounted installations require underground wiring and additional digging to stabilize the panels. This trenching adds both time and money to the installation process.
SO WHICH SOLAR INSTALLATION TYPE IS BEST FOR YOU?
From our experience, there is no single “best” option. Both of these solutions have important benefits, and the “optimal” arrangement ultimately depends on personal preference and property type.
If you are not sure which solar installation option is best for your home or business, contact us today for a free consultation. We can help you select the most suitable arrangement after analyzing your energy goals and the layout of your property.