Ground-Mounted Vs Roof-Top: Reality Check!
For any commercial, private or industrial space it boils down to two ways when you decide to go solar:
- On top of your property, i.e. Roof-top Installation
- At the peripheral available ground space, i.e. Ground-mounted Installation
Selection of either of the option depends primarily on the available space and various other considerations related to aesthetics, design and location of the property, future infrastructural requirements etc.
However, it is always better to be well informed before one opts for either of them. So let’s explore their pros and cons in a more detail.
When Roof-top Solar is a smart option
Roof-top solar has certain unique advantages. Some of the important ones are listed below:
- Aesthetics – A streamlined installation on the roof-top not only helps maintain the aesthetic value of the property but is sometimes considered as a welcome sight.
- Spatial Abundance – The available space on the roof-top can be optimally used to install solar panels. In doing so, no extra space within the property is required for solar installation.
- Roof Fortification – Solar panels installed on the roof-top serve the dual purpose of providing the electricity while protecting the roof from adverse effects of weather conditions. This, in turn, increases the life time value of the property.
- Ease – With available roof-space, roof-top installations are the easiest form of installations at technical front. Installation at roof-top is also comparatively faster than ground-mounted.
When Roof-top solar may not be suitable
Sometimes roof-top installations are just not the thing to go for depending on various limitations. Some of these are:
- Spatial Constraint – When available roof-space is not sufficient or comes with other structures like chimneys, antenna or vents, then roof-top installation is not an ideal option.
- Design and Orientation – Solar panels are installed facing south for better output. However, if the design and orientation of the building roof-top is not adequate then solar roof-top installation may not be a feasible option.
- Pre-Installation Upgrades – Older properties may require reinforcement of the roofs before solar panels may be installed. Such conditions may lead to an increase in the cost of the electricity obtained.
- Local Restrictions – In some cases, housing associations or local bodies do not allow installation of solar panels in areas that could be visible from the nearby streets. This is mostly done on safety grounds to prevent glaring and ensuring road-safety.
When Ground-Mounted Solar is a smart option
When the available roof-top is inadequate for installation of solar panels, it is always advisable to the property owners to go for ground-mounted solar solution. The following are the few arguments in favor of ground-mounted solar installations:
- Spatial Utilization – For the properties which have large unused land areas, larger solar panels can be installed on the available ground space. This would lead to more generation and better savings.
- Roof Orientation – If the roof of the property is not south oriented then clearly ground-mounted solar solution is the best option to go for.
- Shading/ Neighboring Structure – If the available roof-top faces shading issues then it is advisable to opt for the ground-mounted solution where the sunniest region in your property may be effectively utilized for electricity generation.
- Zero Changes – With ground-mounted solar solution the property holders can be assured that no upgradation is made to their roof-top.
When Ground-Mounted Solar may not be suitable
Ground-mounted solar solutions are not very commonly found and there are reasons to it. Below we discuss a few of them:
- Land Consumption – Every inch of land is a property for infrastructural plans. With ground-mounted installation that available inch is gone which property owners may disapprove of.
- Visual appeal – Although the opinion varies from person to person, but it has been observed that most property owners believe that ground-mounted solar solution is a mismatch to the aesthetic appeal of their property.
- Ease and Speed – Ground-mounted solar solutions require panel stabilization through ground- digging and eventual fortification. It also requires underground wiring. These, in turn, increase the time and decrease the speed of installation while adding to the existing cost.