ground mounted solar panels
Should I have roof-mounted or ground-mounted solar panels?
13th July 2023

When you’re in the initial stages of planning an installation of commercial solar panels at your premises, it’s likely that one of the first questions that you’re going to ask will be something like: should I have roof-mounted or ground-mounted solar panels?

To be honest, you’ll probably find roof-mounted solar panels to be the best option, as they’re more economical with space, and rarely require planning permission. In some cases, ground-mounted solar panels may be the better choice, but they can often be subject to stricter restrictions.

That’s it in a nutshell – let’s take a look at the differences in a bit more detail, shall we?

roof mounted solar panel

What you need to know about roof-mounted solar panels

Roof-mounted commercial solar panel installations are the default for many businesses, especially those working in factories and other large commercial or industrial sites, as it allows them to effectively utilise a space that generally would have gone unused otherwise. The size of a roof-mounted installation is dependent on a couple of factors – not just how much available space you have on your roofs, but also your specific energy profile (which we can calculate on your behalf here at Low Carbon Energy, drawing on our own industry-leading expertise).

In case you’re wondering, you’re unlikely to need planning permission for your roof mounted commercial solar panel installation, as the majority of them fall under the category of Permitted Development. This varies slightly if you’re trying to have it installed on (or very close to) a listed building, but if that’s the case, we can always provide you with tailored support and advice as to your available options.

The essentials to know about ground-mounted solar panels

The requirements for ground mounted solar panels are slightly more stringent than they are for roof mounted installations – but only slightly. As you’d expect, ground-mounted installations have the potential to affect their immediate surroundings a bit more than their roof-mounted counterparts, and so most of the planning stipulations are focused on limiting the possibility for any negative aesthetic or practical impacts.

For example, the size of the array should be no more than 9 square metres, or 3m wide by 3m deep. Similarly, they have to be installed at least 5m from the boundary of a property. In the exact words of the government’s planning portal, a ground mounted solar installation “should be sited, so far as is practicable, to minimise its effect on the amenity of the area”. That may make them a trickier option for smaller businesses, but don’t forget our experts are always on hand to lend their expertise here at Low Carbon Energy.

In most cases, the choice will probably be fairly clear at a reasonably early stage. But if you need any specific advice, you can always count on us to help. We have over 30 years of experience, having assisted SMEs and large corporations across a wide variety of sectors transform their business’ energy supply.

Our installations are bespoke and tailored to your specific energy profile, and can help you to save thousands in energy bills. Feel free to look at our case studies for just a few examples of businesses which have reaped huge rewards from solar, such as Boeing and Irish Water. To find out how we can help you, feel free to give us a call today on 01282 421 489!

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