Solar panels are typically ground mounted or roof mounted. Other options include pole mounting and wall mounting but these are less popular and more bespoke.

There is no ‘best’ solar panel mounting option. Much depends on available roof space, the pitch and facing of the roof and any restrictive covenants or planning issues related to roof mounting. Solar panels on the ground can work equally well as roof mounting but will obviously use up ground space which is often a premium over roof space.

Solar Panels on the Ground vs Roof

There is no ‘best’ solar panel mounting option. Much depends on available roof space, the pitch and facing of the roof and any restrictive covenants or planning issues related to roof mounting. Solar panels on the ground can work equally well as roof mounting but will obviously use up ground space which is often a premium over roof space.

Ground Mounted Solar Panels

Ground mounted panels allow you to have control of the angle and orientation of the panels to optimize the output. In the UK an off-grid system has an ideal angle of 45-55 degrees. This provides high performance in the winter months when most needed. On-grid requirements are closer to 30 degrees for all year maximal performance.

A ground mounted solar system allows this to be adjusted more freely to suit the purpose. It can also be cheaper on a small scale or where access to a roof is costly or obstructed. Ground mounted panels also operate at a lower temperature than roof mounted which can mean a difference of up to 25% more efficiency.

Ground mounted systems come in various guises with quick and easy low-cost ballast systems to fully blown ground mounted systems you see used in solar farms.

Some ground mounted solar arrays may need planning permission, which is an extra consideration.

Pros of ground mounted solar panels:

  • Easy to access and maintain
  • Stronger racking and support
  • Can be oriented to the perfect angle
  • Not restricted so the size of the roof

Cons of ground mounted solar panels:

  • Installation can take longer and cost more
  • Requires more complex racking and support
  • Uses valuable outdoor space
  • Unobstructed view of the sky can be harder to achieve

If you have the land with unobstructed views of the sky, a ground mounted solar array is an excellent choice. It can be oriented exactly, be easily maintained and work very efficiently. It would also work well if you plan to expand your solar array at any point in the future. Roof space is limited while land may not be quite so finite.

Roof Mounted Solar Panels

Roof mounted panels are usually the preferred option as they use up free roof space and not valuable ground space. On the roof there is also usually an unobstructed view of the sky which is necessary for generating sufficient power. Roof mounting uses the inherent strength of your roof to provide sufficient structure to maintain position which can work out cheaper than ground mounting.

Clear and unobstructed skies will give you more power. The cost of the mounting kit is also usually cost effective. The cheapest being the commercial metal trapezoidal roof and the costliest being home roof tiles. Access and installation time are also a consideration here.

Pros of roof mounted solar panels:

  • Lower cost than ground mount
  • Requires less racking and less installation
  • Utilises otherwise unused space
  • Doesn’t usually require planning permission

Cons of roof mounted solar panels:

  • Difficult to access for maintenance or repair
  • Roof pitch, angle and shape can interfere with optimum setup
  • Space constraints can limit generation potential
  • Not everyone likes the look of roof mounted panels

If your roof is of a sufficient size, angled in the right direction, has no awkward shapes, pitch or features, roof mounted solar panels work well. They are cheaper and easier to install and use space that is otherwise underutilised. It’s an efficient use of that space, which is why so many properties use roof mounting.

Sunstore has the products and expertise to help you build the most efficient solar power system possible. Contact us to see how we can help!

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