Ground Mount Solar Panels (Advantages)

Mounting solar panels are typically done on roofs, but it is sometimes better and beneficial to your setup to mount them on the ground.

Ground-mounted solar panels are great for security systems, and lighting, and when you need to access them, update or don’t have a roof that’s suitable.

Here are some of the key points that I’ll cover, plus more you’ll need to know;

  • What is a ground mount solar panel? 
  • How much does a ground mount solar panel cost?
  • What are the different types of ground mount solar panels?
  • Are they safe?
  • How do they compare to other types of solar panels? 
  • Can you install your own ground mount solar panel? 

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about ground mount solar panels so you can find the best solar option for your family. 

Ground Mounted Solar Panels
Ground Mounted Solar Panels

What does Ground Mounted mean?

Ground mounted indicates that the solar panel is connected or attached to a pole, support, or structure intended to anchor the solar panel to the ground. 

The most common type of ground mount uses a concrete base and metal or plastic posts to support the solar panel. These mounts are often seen in agricultural settings where they provide power for farm equipment, but they can also be used in residential neighborhoods.

There are a few reasons why someone would opt for ground mount solar panels over other types of solar panel mounts. One reason is that ground-mounted solar panels are often less expensive than different types of solar panel mounts. 

Ground mounts can also be installed faster than some other solar panel mounts. Additionally, ground mounts offer more stability for the solar panel, which can be crucial in areas with high winds or severe weather.

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Is it better to Install Solar Panels on a Roof or on the ground?

Solar panels are traditionally mounted to the roof of a building or on the ground. Other options include pole and wall mounting, but both are less secure and therefore less popular.

Mounting solar panels on the roof and the ground has distinct advantages. Here are some key points to consider when making your decision:

Ease of installation – Solar panels mounted on the roof are typically easier to install than those mounted on the ground. Most roofs are already built with the necessary support beams in place. Ground mounts often require additional supports to be installed, which can add to the overall cost and installation time.

Aesthetics – Solar panels mounted on the ground are often less visible than those mounted on the roof. This can be a benefit if you are concerned about the appearance of your home or business.

Stability – Solar panels mounted on the roof are more likely to be damaged in high winds than those mounted on the ground. This is because the roof provides additional support for the solar panel. Ground mounts are more stable and less likely to be damaged in severe weather conditions.

Cost – Solar panels mounted on the roof are often more expensive than those mounted on the ground. This is because roof-mounted solar panels require additional support and are more costly than ground-mounted options.

Additionally, ground-mounted solar panels are much easier to expand or upgrade should your energy needs increase. Since they are closer to the ground, they are easier to repair.

There is no correct answer to this question. It depends on the design of the house or the layout of the land. Before deciding to mount solar panels on the ground or in your home, it is recommended that you consult a solar expert.

Solar Panels Mounted On The Ground With Stands
Solar Panels Mounted On The Ground With Stands

Can you Install Solar Panels on the ground?

You can absolutely install solar panels on the ground. Ground mounted solar panels are an excellent option for individuals who have additional space on their property to install the solar panels. 

There are a few things to keep in mind when installing solar panels on the ground. First, you will need to ensure that the location you choose receives direct sunlight for most of the day.

Second, you will need to ensure that the location is free from shade from trees or other buildings.

Third, you will need to make sure that the ground is level so that the solar panel can be installed securely. Finally, you will need to ensure enough space for the solar panels.

Are Ground Mounted Solar Panels Safe?

Ground-mounted solar panels are safe for everyone involved. Ground mounted solar panels are mounted on brackets or a metal frame securely anchored to the ground.

The metal frame is designed to withstand high winds and anything else that mother nature can throw at it. You will not have to worry about the solar panels sliding off their brackets in a storm.

Additionally, the power lines running from the solar panels will be deep underground, so you will not have to worry about accidentally getting electrocuted.

Finally, since ground-mounted solar panels are easier to install than roof-mounted solar panels, they are also safer for the workers who are installing them.

Ground mounted solar panels are safe for installation, safe for your family, and are helping you save the environment.

Do Ground Mounted Solar Panels Need Planning Permission?

When adding a new addition or upgrading your property, you are often required to get permission from the local authorities. This is also true when installing ground-mounted solar panels.

However, as solar panels became more popular, this was changed. In 2008, solar panels were given the label “permitted development.” This meant that planning permission was no longer required to install solar panels. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

You need to have planning permission if your house is a listed building or located within a nature conservation area.

Additionally, there are some size limitations. Ground mounted solar panels do not need planning permission if they are less than nine square meters and less than four meters from the ground. There can also be only one ground-mounted system per building.

If your ground-mounted solar panels break any of these conditions, you would need to get planning permission before building.

How Much Space Does a Ground-mounted Solar Panel Need?

The amount of space that a ground-mounted solar panel need depends on the size of the solar panel and how many of them you are installing.

A standard solar panel is about 1.6 meters by 1 meter. This means that a single solar panel needs an area of about 1.6 square meters. This space may increase if there are obstructions.

If you have many trees on your property, you may have to cut down trees that are not near the solar panels to give them more direct sunlight.

If you are installing multiple solar panels, you will need to increase the amount of space accordingly. It is recommended that you have about 7 square meters for every kilowatt of power that you are generating.

This means that a 5-kilowatt system would need an area of about 35 square meters. Solar panels can be installed close together, so you do not need to have a lot of extra space around them.

How Far Apart Should Solar Panels be?

Solar panels can be mounted in large banks close together to save space. However, there are some space considerations that you should keep in mind if installing multiple solar panels.

There should be at least four to seven inches between each solar panel. 

This space accounts for the expansion and contraction of the solar panels during the day. Failure to leave the appropriate amount of space can cause damage to the solar panels.

Additionally, there should be a gap between each row of solar panels. This should also be four to seven inches. This gap is also to account for expansion.

If you have multiple rows of solar panels, there should be at least three feet of space in every third row. This gap will give technicians access to the solar panels if they need to complete repairs.

Why do Solar Panels have Ground Mounts?

Solar panels are often ground mounted because it gives them a better angle to the sun. This results in more direct sunlight and, therefore, more power generation.

Additionally, solar panels that are ground mounted are not as likely to be damaged by trees or other objects. When solar panels are on the roof, they are more likely to be shaded by nearby objects.

Ground mounting solar panels also make it easier to complete repairs. If a solar panel is on the roof, technicians will need to use a ladder or equipment to reach it.

This can be dangerous and time-consuming. With ground-mounted solar panels, technicians can walk up to them and make the necessary repairs.

How do you Install a Solar Ground Mount?

Ground-mounted solar panels are easier to install and service than roof-mounted solar panels. It is relatively to install a ground mount solar panels on your own. You need to follow five easy steps when installing ground mount solar panels. 

  1. Select a location for your ground mounted solar panels

The location should have direct sunlight and sufficient space for all solar panels. It is also helpful if the site is close to your electrical lines.

  1. Build the structure or frame for the solar panels

You need to dig holes for the posts that will support the solar panels. The depth of these holes will depend on your local building code.

After the holes are dug, install the posts in concrete. Make sure that the posts are level before the concrete sets. The structure or frame must be anchored securely. High winds can rip ground-mounted solar panels out of the ground if anchored improperly.

Furthermore, the frame must be set to the correct angle. The angle of the solar panels can have a tremendous impact on their efficacy.

  1. Mout the solar panels to the structure

The solar panels need to be securely attached to the frame. This is usually done with clamps or rails. This is a relatively easy step, but depending on the size of your solar panels, it can be challenging to get them up on the frame. Solar panels are heavy, and this task is done best with the help of a small crane.

  1. Connect the solar panels to the grid

Once the solar panels are mounted to the frame, you need to connect them to your house and possibly the electrical grid. Hiring an electrician to connect the solar panels to your home’s electrical system is recommended for ease and safety. This step can be dangerous if you are untrained.

  1. Service and maintain your solar panels

After installing the solar panels, it is essential to monitor them to ensure they function correctly. Additionally, you should check on the frame and mountings periodically to ensure they are secure.

Wind, rain, and snow can loosen the mountings over time. Regular maintenance will ensure that your ground mounts solar panels stay in place and produce electricity for years to come.

Installing ground mount solar panels is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and save money on your energy bill. These five easy steps will help you start your solar panel installation.

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  • [ APPLICATION ] Adjustable solar panel mounting brackets designed for off-grid solar systems, like RV, marine, motorhome,...
  • [ EASY INSTALL ] Quick assembly with stainless steel fasteners and precise hole placement.
  • [ EFFICIENCY ] Gain up to 25% more solar panel efficiency by tilting your panels towards the sun instead of laying them flat.

What is the Cost of Ground-mounted Solar Panels? 

The cost of ground-mounted solar panels depends on the amount of electricity your home needs and the location of your home. Larger homes will require a large solar array—additionally, the further from the equator, the less intense the sunlight.

Some homes may receive direct sunlight but still need large arrays based on their location. However, the average household can pay between $24,000 and 51,000 for ground-mounted solar panels. This drops to $18,000-38,000 after federal tax credits.

State and local incentives can further lower the cost of solar arrays. These programs vary by state but most offer some form of rebate or tax credit for installing renewable energy systems.

Solar Panel Setup FAQ

How long do solar panels last?

How long solar panels last depends on their quality and how well looked after. In general, though, most solar panels will last between 25 and 30 years, with the most expensive models having a life expectancy of 40–50 years. That being said, solar panels will still produce energy after this time, although their capability will have declined significantly. 

How do you set up a solar panel system?

The first step in setting up a solar system is determining how much power you need, and planning your solar system accordingly. After this, the setup is fairly straightforward;
1. Gather all the required components together; panels, inverter, batteries, cables, etc. 
2. Find a safe space in your home to house the inverter and batteries
3. Fix the panels to your roof or a stand
4. Connect the panels to your inverter or charge controller
5. Connect your inverter to your batteries

What is required for solar panel installation?

Again, the first crucial step for any solar installation is calculating your power needs. Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to purchase the appropriate components. These include;
1. Solar panels
2. Batteries
3. Inverter
4. Charge controller
5. Suitable cables
These components are typically purchased separately according to your needs, but you can purchase ready-made solar kits that have all the components you need too.

Can I set up solar panels myself?

With a bit of basic DIY and electrical knowledge, you can certainly set up solar panels yourself, especially smaller systems. The setup can become somewhat complicated for large, high-power systems that are grid-tied, though, and you may want to get assistance from a qualified electrician. 

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