With the rise of eco-awareness and the running costs of utility bills, more and more homeowners are going green, especially when it comes to building their homes and organizing their lifestyles. One of the first projects on the home improvement list is often the installation of a solar energy system. Usually, it’s a rooftop mounted one, but what most homeowners don’t realize is that a ground-mounted option is just as cost-effective and easy to install and maintain.
While the cost of purchasing a solar panel system is dropping continually, here are several things to consider as you are making your decision about equipping your home with this sustainable energy source system. For example, with one simple ground-mounted solar panel on eBay, you can get under 40$.
Advantages of ground-mounted solar panels
Although a rooftop solar array is the most frequent choice for homeowners, a ground-mounted system has its obvious advantages.
In the first place, when it comes to the price per watt, both systems amount to the same cost. However, if your property is not ideally constructed for a rooftop system, then installing a ground-mounted array is what will give you a return on investment in the long run.
Rooftop systems are ultimately limited by the building properties of your house. For instance, the rooftop system will be much less productive if your roof is not facing south, if there are obstructions such as shade from the surrounding trees, chimneys, or skylights, and if the roof is not at the right angle. In contrast, the ground-mounted system is not influenced by these characteristics and can be positioned wherever the conditions are the most favorable.
Moreover, if your home is a large electricity consumer, the size of your roof might be insufficient for a system large enough to meet your needs. On the other hand, a ground-mounted system can be customized in size to fulfill all your electricity consumption demands without any space limitations of a roof-mounted array.
Benefits of ground-mounted solar systems for homeowners
The best thing about the ground-mounted solar system is that it’s beneficial for all homeowners. Even if you qualify for a rooftop system, there are many reasons why you should opt for the ground-based array instead.
Firstly, ground-based solar panels are very easy to place and install as their location can be anywhere on the open land. There’s no drilling needed at any stage on your roof and the bracing used in standard ground-mounted systems are lightweight and easily removed. If you have decided on the pole mount, the bracing will be a bit heavier and more securely installed.
Secondly, the productivity and efficiency of a ground-mounted system are much higher than that of a roof array. They are always set at a perfect angle, and therefore, can generate more electricity and save more money in the long run.
Finally, since ground-mounted panels are at a low level, they are easily accessed and maintained. For example, cleaning the snow of these panels is much easier and safer than if they are positioned on your roof.
Types of ground-mounted solar systems
Not all ground-mounted solar systems offer the best features. So, look into the existing types to make the best choice:
A Standard ground-mounted system uses a metal framework that is driven into the ground to firmly hold your solar panel at a fixed angle. Some of these systems can be manually adjusted a few times a year to follow the seasonal shifting of the sun.
A pole-mounted solar system uses a single-pole to support multiple solar panels and is constructed to hold the panels higher off the ground than the standard system. They often include a tracking system, which can automatically tip and lean the panels to maximize the amount of sunshine that is being captured.
Tracking systems are an excellent investment as they increase the production efficiency of your solar panels by 25% or possibly more. If you opt for the tracking system to be included in your solar panel array, you’ll be able to choose between a single-axis and a dual-axis system. The former type will move your system over the course of day following the sun as it moves over the horizon. The latter type of the system has the same ability but is also able to adjust itself according to the seasonal variations and the position of the sun.
Final tips for installing a ground solar panel system
When you’re planning to purchase and install this system, the price is one of the deciding factors. Even though you get the big savings in the long run with your electricity consumption, it doesn’t make the upfront costs seem any smaller.
One favorable option to consider is PACE finance. This is home improvement financing offered to homeowners for all energy-efficiency upgrades and gives excellent conditions. There is no cash upfront or money down, no balloon payments, just one competitive rate locked in the long haul. You can even apply online, and within minutes, select your terms and sign financing documents. Also, all your payments are done through property taxes.
When you get your financing covered, shopping for a solar panel system requires a lot of consideration and research. Make sure you analyze the companies in your area and get as many options and quotes as possible to avoid inflated prices pumped up by large solar companies. It’s strongly recommended you go to smaller solar system installers as they offer lower prices. Even then, compare the bids of several of them so you don’t end up paying too much.
Also, you’ll be able to compare the different equipment packages they offer since not all solar equipment will give you the best savings. The only way to get the best possible deal for your home is to make a detailed evaluation of quotes with both varying equipment and costs.
As with any home improvement project, here too, it’s imperative to do thorough research and preparation in order to get the best deal possible since installing a solar energy system is not just a minor upgrade. After you get the ballpark estimate of the costs and compare quotes from several suppliers, with the aided financing option, your solar system upgrade will run as smoothly as possible.