The Differences Between Ground and Roof Solar Panel Installation

With the decreasing costs of solar energy, ever-improving technologies and the influx of solar contractors in Western Canada, this system of energy generation is getting better and more accessible with every passing day. Plus, as more systems get installed, the installers get more opportunities to learn and improve the services they offer. 

There are two major groups of solar panel systems commonly used – ground-mounted and roof-mounted installations. Each comes with its own set of advantages, and depending on your unique circumstances, may be equally viable choices. Ground-mounted systems tend to be more expensive initially than roof-mounted systems but are also typically more efficient when it comes to energy gathering. Conversely, roof-mounted systems are great for smaller properties, but they require sturdy roofs with good exposure for proper installation.

Ground-Mounted Solar Systems

Ground-mounted solar installations are an excellent choice for those with room to spare or seeking large systems. Plus, without having to go on your roof, you have better access, and you can incorporate the newest bifacial solar panels into the system (bifacial panels generate solar energy on both its top and bottom sides). Also, if your roof does not have an adequate solar window (the length of time each day when the sun shines on a specific area), ground-mounted panels present a viable alternative. 

Solar contractors offer two broad types of ground-mounted solar arrays, standard and pole mount. Each of these subcategories has a range of uses and will perform better under specific conditions. Pole-mounted installations may be more expensive than standard-mounted, but their adjustable functionality makes cleaning much more manageable.

Standard Ground Mount

Standard ground mounts probably are what you think of when you envision ground-mounted solar panels. Poles, either screw piles or reinforced by concrete shoring, are staked to the ground with a racking system mounted to them for holding the panels. These systems remain in a fixed position and angle which offers cost-saving opportunities, but they can make areas with heavy snowfall a bit more challenging. 

As well, ballast options (with the concrete kept above-ground) are available if your soil type is not great for digging into, which is usually only a concern if your soil is full of large boulders. They may be a preferred option for larger arrays.

Pole Mount

Pole-mounted ground systems are functionally similar to standard mounts, but they differ in providing a single hole and post, reinforced with concrete. Although, they can have the added benefit of being attached to a swivel system so that your panels are adjustable at any time. Combined with automatic position trackers, this option can generate additional benefits in terms of snow removal and increased energy production. 

Roof-Mounted Solar Systems

Roof-mounted systems provide their own set of benefits when compared to ground-mounted installations. For instance, they are usually more cost-effective, which means you will receive your ROI sooner. As well, they are a great choice when you have limited ground space to install your panels. Further, there are additional considerations.

Your solar window will be critical when considering roof-mounted systems because of additional shade-throwing objects, such as trees, chimney, and vents. You will have to consider the direction your roof faces. In Western Canada, south-facing roofs are ideal, but east or west-facing roofs are still practical in many situations. Also, east or west-facing roofs provide the added benefit of typically larger surfaces for you to install more solar panels. 

In conclusion, every type of solar panel system is a step in the right direction, and finding the perfect fit for your situation is best done with the help of a knowledgeable and experienced solar installer. 

Empower Energy Corp is here to provide people in Western Canada with top-tier solar PV solutions. Having installed over 1.3 million watts of solar power, our reputation speaks for itself. Contact our solar power company today at 1 (780) 532-3610 in Alberta and (250) 718-7282 in British Columbia.

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