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The key differences between ground and roof mounted solar
27th May 2020

When sizing up your business for commercial solar panels, there are several key considerations you’ll have to bear in mind. In fact there’s a long list of questions you should ask yourself before you install solar panels, such as how many solar panels your business needs, and what’s involved in a solar panel installation. It’s also likely that at some point you may well end up asking yourself about the differences between ground mounted and roof mounted solar. To save you a bit of time, we’ve summed up some of the key differences below!

The facts about mounted commercial solar panels

In a nutshell

The main thing about ground mounted solar panels is that obviously, they tend to take up a fair bit of space on the ground. If you’ve got that space to hand (not everyone does!) they can be a fantastic asset for your business. The angle matters when it comes to solar panels, and the useful thing about ground mounted solar panels is that they allow for more control over the exact angle and orientation of the panels in order to maximise their output.

Ground mounted solar panel installations tend to be the most cost-effective option on a smaller scale, or in cases where access to the roof might be costly, or obstructed. It’s also worth noting that they can operate at a slightly lower temperature than roof mounted solar panels, which means they may be more efficient in certain circumstances.

However, even if you’ve got the available space to spare, ground-mounted commercial solar panel installations sometimes require planning permission – which can be problematic or inconvenient to acquire. At ground level they’re also more likely to have their access to the open sky impeded by surrounding buildings or other obstacles, which can limit their productivity. (It’s one of the many reasons that ground mounted installations are most common sights on farms or other areas with wide-open spaces.)

The pros of ground mounted solar panels

  • More freedom to be oriented for maximum efficiency
  • Easy to access and maintain
  • Strong racking and support

Marchwiel farm solar

The cons of ground mounted solar panels

  • Installation can be more costly and time intensive
  • Requires more complex racking and support
  • Takes up valuable outdoor space that not every business may have to spare
  • Can be harder to achieve an unobstructed view of the sky

The facts about roof mounted commercial solar panels

In a nutshell

Roof mounted solar panels are unquestionably a more popular and convenient option, mainly because they’re not competing for space on the ground level. What’s more, solar panels that are mounted on a roof tend to find it easier to have unimpeded access to the sky throughout the day. This can have a big impact on their productivity and efficiency, enabling you to make even more savings.

They’re also a favourite of large commercial businesses chiefly because the larger your roof size, the more space you can dedicate to solar panels. Once again, that maximises their productivity and therefore your savings.

Notably, roof mounted solar panels rely largely on the structural strength of your roof to maintain their position. This means that their racking doesn’t need to be as complex, and can take off some of the cost of the installation compared to ground mounted solar panels. Their height from the ground does complicate some aspects of maintenance and repair, but they need relatively minimal maintenance anyway, so it tends not to be too much of a concern for most businesses.

The pros of roof mounted solar panels

  • Utilises space that would normally go unused
  • Typically more cost effective than ground mounted installations
  • Rarely requires planning permission
  • Requires less complex and expensive racking
  • Larger roofs can maximise energy savings for business owners

The cons of roof mounted solar panels

Harder to access for maintenance and repair
Productivity can be affected by roof pitch, shape and angle

In summary, while ground mounted solar installations have their fair share of benefits to offer, the numerous advantages of roof mounted installations tend to make them the most widely preferred option for most businesses and organisations. Feel free to take a quick look through our own case studies for examples of the sorts of businesses we’ve previously helped with our expertise in solar panels.

Alternatively, if you’ve still got any questions or need any advice, we’re only too happy to help here at Low Carbon Energy. With 30 years of experience behind us and counting, we’re the perfect people to help you save on business costs, and profit from having cleaner energy. Give us a call on 01282 421 489 today!

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